Browse log files using multitail

Multitail is a powerful tool for monitoring multiple log files at once including a bunch of other features.

By Kostas Koutsogiannopoulos

In this example we are using multitail in order to browse at the same time the nginx access.log and uwsgi log file of a django application.

The package exists in the ubuntu repositories so we just run...

sudo apt-get install multitail install it.

After installation:

multitail /var/log/nginx/access.log /var/log/uwsgi/epilis.log

Multitail opens the two files in monitor mode in two separate parts of the screen:


To open the file you want to browse press b:


Then choose the specific file you want to browse with enter:


Now you can use Page Up, Page Down and the Up, Down arrow keys το browse the file.

Press gg to go to the head and G to go to the bottom.

Press Y in order to deactivate and activate linewrap.

If you want to apply a color scheme to a log file there are two ways:

  1. With the following command we apply apache color scheme to the file /var/log/nginx/access.log
    multitail -cS apache /var/log/nginx/access.log /var/log/uwsgi/epilis.log
  2. We can apply the color scheme after the log file opening with the command...
    multitail /var/log/nginx/access.log /var/log/uwsgi/epilis.log
    and after press c, choose the /var/log/nginx/access.log, press S and choose the apache scheme with space.

You can see the list of available color schemes in /etc/multitail.conf or add your own in ~/.multitailrc (create the file if is not exists)

You can set a mark to a log file using the keys 0..9 (0 for the first file, 1 for the second etc):


Lets say that you are browsing a nginx access.log file but you do not interested in records containing your own ip address (

You can exclude those records using the following:

multitail -Ev "" /var/log/nginx/access.log /var/log/uwsgi/epilis.log

A huge number of other options are available in multitail. At anytime you can press Ctrl-h to get an overlaid help window.


Pressing q, you can close the overlaid windows and eventualy quit the program.

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