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Sematext Rsyslog Integration


Although the latest version of rsyslog is 8.x., the most popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, CentOS, etc. come with older versions of rsyslog (e.g. 5.x and 7.x). To avoid issues with old versions of rsyslog, we strongly recommend that you upgrade it to 8.x. Maintainers of rsyslog provide packages and install instructions at


rsyslog is a modern syslog daemon focused on performance. Sematext gives you lots of ways to forward your logs with rsyslog:

  • UDP
  • TCP (you can also encrypt logs with TLS)
  • RELP (uses application-level acknowledgement for increased reliability over plain TCP)
  • HTTP / HTTPS over the Elasticsearch API

You can also send JSON over syslog if you need support for structured data.

There are 3 steps for configuring your rsyslog for Sematext:

  1. Configure one or more inputs. For example, configure rsyslog to send local logs, remote logs over TCP and so on
  2. Choose a protocol and an authentication method. For UDP, TCP, TLS and RELP you can authorize your public IP. However, we strongly recommend using the Sematext Logs App's token, which works with all supported protocols
  3. Configure the output. Based on the chosen protocol and authentication method, you'll have to configure the appropriate output plugin to send logs in the desired format

Configuring Inputs

First, configure rsyslog to receive logs that you'd like to send to Sematext. The most common input module is imuxsock, which will take logs from your local /dev/log socket. To start listening on local logs, add this line at the beginning of your /etc/rsyslog.conf:

$ModLoad imuxsock

Tailing Files

You can also have rsyslog tail files, listen for syslog messages over TCP, UDP, RELP, pick up messages from the journal and more.

To tail a file, load the file input module and optionally decide how often to pool for changes. Then, for every file, specify its path and related parameters, like this:

Tailing Files by Polling; Old Config Format

# add once
$ModLoad imfile                     # load the file input module
$InputFilePollInterval 1            # how often to check files for changes

# for every file you want to monitor
$InputFileName /var/log/jetty.log   # the file to monitor
$InputFileTag jetty:                # syslog tag attributed to those events. Yes, the trailing ":" should be there.
$InputFileStateFile jetty           # state file to remember where it left between restarts. This should not be the full path to a file, just a name.
$InputFileReadMode 2                # support indented multiline logs (requires rsyslog 5.7.5+). For single-line logs use 0. For multiline logs without indent support use 1.
$InputRunFileMonitor                # start monitoring this file

If you have issues with logrotate or other utilities that truncate or organize the files you monitor, upgrade rsyslog to version 8.1.5 or later and the problems should go away. The file input module gets inotifysupport and you also have a new configuration formatat your disposal, which is easier to maintain:

Tailing Files via Inotify; New Config Format

# add once

# for every file
  File="/var/log/jetty.log"         # the file to monitor
  Tag="jetty:"                       # syslog tag attributed to those events
  ReadMode="2"                      # support indented multiline logs (requires rsyslog 5.7.5+). For single-line logs use 0. For multiline logs without indent support use 1.

Protocol and Authentication

To forward logs, you can use HTTP/HTTPS and authenticate by using your Logs App token (recommended!). Alternatively, you can use UDP, TCP/TLS or RELP and authenticate either by using the Logs App token, or by authorizing your public IP in the Logs App settings.

HTTP/HTTPS via the Elasticsearch API

The recommended method is to use the Elasticsearch API to send logs over HTTP or HTTPS. This will give you maximum flexibility, reliability and encryption, if you need it. Thisrequires rsyslog 6.4.0 or later, and the installation of the Elasticsearch output module. HTTPS is supported in rsyslog 8.2.0 or later (see info about rsyslog update above). To enable the Elasticsearch output module, install the rsyslog-elasticsearch package or use --enable-elasticsearch when compiling from sources.


Before forwarding logs via the Elasticsearch API, define a template in /etc/rsyslog.conf that gives structure to your messages by formatting them as JSON:

Configuring Log Template

# define a template to specify which fields we send
template(name="LogseneFormat" type="list" option.json="on") {
  property(name="timereported" dateFormat="rfc3339")


You can send RFC-3164 and RFC-5424 compatible syslog to Sematet via any of the following protocols:

  • UDP: fire-and-forget protocol that doesn't guarantee any reliability but is also the fastest and simplest implementation
  • TCP: provides better reliability than TCP, though messages might still be lost from the system buffers if the connection breaks and rsyslog is restarted
  • TLS: RFC-5425 syslog over TLS is supported
  • RELP: this is a reliable protocol, because it supports application-level acknowledgments

Again, with all these protocols, you can either authenticate with your Logs App token, or by registering your public IP.


UDP and TCP support is built into rsyslog. For TLS, you need to install the gtls driver, typically provided by the rsyslog-gnutls package (or by adding --enable-gnutls when compiling rsyslog from source).For RELP, you'll need the RELP output module, usually provided by the rsyslog-relp package (or by adding --enable-relp when compiling from source).


If you chose to authorize using static IP address, instead of authenticating using Logs App token (which is the recommended option), you don't need to make any configuration changes in this step. Instead, go to the Sematext and authorize the public IP(or multiple IPs) of the server(s) from where you send your logs.

To use the Logs App token, you'll first have to obtain it from your list of LogsApps. Then, in /etc/rsyslog.conf, define a templatethat forwards your messages in CEE-formatted JSON over syslog, where you should put your token in the logsene-app-token field:

$template LogseneFormat,"<%PRI%>%TIMEREPORTED:::date-rfc3339% %HOSTNAME% %syslogtag%@cee: {\"logsene-app-token\": \"LOGSENE_APP_TOKEN_GOES_HERE\", \"message\": \"%msg:::json%\"}\n"

If you are using rsyslog version 7 or later, you can use the new configuration format to define the template. It's more verbose, but easier to maintain (e.g. add new fields, reformat messages):

Configuring Log Template

) {
  # standard syslog fields
  property(name="timereported" dateFormat="rfc3339")
  constant(value=" ")
  constant(value=" ")
  # CEE-formatted JSON message over syslog
  constant(value="@cee: {\"logsene-app-token\": \"LOGSENE_APP_TOKEN_GOES_HERE\", \"message\": \"")
  property(name="msg" format="json")                        # original syslog message goes in the "message" field

Configuring Outputs

The last step is to configure an output module for sending your logs to Sematext. This depends on your chosen protocol.

HTTP / HTTPS via Omelasticsearch

To send your logs over HTTP, load the Elasticsearch output moduleand point it to (or is using Sematext Cloud Europe) on port 80. Make sure you replace LOGSENE_APP_TOKEN_GOES_HERE with your actual token:

Configuring Elasticsearch Output

    template="LogseneFormat"          # the template that you defined earlier
    queue.dequeuebatchsize="100"      # how many messages to send at once
    action.resumeretrycount="-1")     # buffer messages if connection fails

If you want to encrypt logs, by sending them over HTTPS, you'll have to change serverport to "443" and add usehttps="on".


If you're using Logs App token for authentication, specify the LogseneFormat template in your action line. The host you'll connect to is or (if using Sematext Cloud Europe):


If you've authorized your public IPs, the RFC-5424 predefined template will do:



With TCP, the action line looks similar to UDP, except you'll have two @ signs.

If you're authorizing using Logs App token:


If you use IP address for authorization:



To set up syslog over TLS, you need to configure the TLS driver like this:

Configure TLS; Old Config Format

$DefaultNetstreamDriver gtls
$DefaultNetstreamDriverCAFile /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

$ActionSendStreamDriverAuthMode x509/name
$ActionSendStreamDriverPermittedPeer *
$ActionSendStreamDriverMode 1

Finally, add the rsyslogaction, which is the same as the TCP one, except you'll use port 10514.

Again, there are two options, for authorizing with the Logsene application token:


And for authorizing using the IP address(es):


If you prefer the new configuration format, you can find the complete TLS configuration below:

Configure TLS; New Config Format

global (

  template="LogseneFormat"               # use "RSYSLOG_SyslogProtocol23Format" for IP authorization


To forward via RELP, load the RELP output module and then point it to (or if using Sematext Cloud Europe) on port 20514.

As with TCP or UDP, specify the LogseneFormat template for authorizing with your Logs App token:

$ModLoad omrelp

And the RFC-5424 template for IP-based authorization:

$ModLoad omrelp

Tag Your Logs

From your syslog messages, Sematext will populate a number of special fields, such as the source and host. You can also configure rsyslog to add one or more tags to logs matching certain criteria. This is useful when you want to quickly identify a special kind of logs. For example, you could tag events that come to the "kernel" facility with a severity/level of "error" as both "kernel errors" and "urgent issues". Tagging information will be visible in the Logsene web application, which you can then use for filtering, sorting, ...

To achieve this, define a template similar to the ones described above, where you'd add a tags field. Then, you'd use a conditional to match those messages and send them to Sematext using the newly defined template:

$template kernelErrors,"<%PRI%>%TIMEREPORTED:::date-rfc3339% %HOSTNAME% %syslogtag%@cee: {\"logsene-app-token\": \"LOGSENE-APP-TOKEN-GOES-HERE\", \"message\": \"%msg:::json%\", \"tags\":[\"kernel errors\", \"urgent issues\"]}\n"

if $syslogfacility-text == 'kernel' and $syslogseverity-text == 'error' then @@(o);kernelErrors

Notice the &~ statement - this prevents rsyslog from sending matched events twice (once with tags and once without). Make sure you place these conditionals before your main Logsene action (the one starting with *.* ).