An error log is a record of all issues within a device, application, operating system, network, or server. These log files may include details about the time and location of the error, the user(s) active when the error occurred, the impacted system components, and the duration of impact.
Sometimes the log is an inherent feature of an operating system like Microsoft Windows, but other settings require a more robust logging software application. These include application development, server management, and network administration.
Error logging is sometimes used interchangeably with error monitoring. However, the former specifically refers to the data that’s collected in the event of a system error, whereas the latter refers to the broader health status of the system as a whole. As such, many monitoring and error logging tools go hand-in-hand under one platform. The level of log file detail, capacity, access controls, and security features can vary significantly from one platform to the next.
Webmasters often use logs to troubleshoot websites. If an error occurs, they’ll use the log to replicate the issue and determine a solution that fixes the problem. Similarly, hardware technicians and engineers use logs to address malfunctioning equipment and prevent future errors.
Security operations professionals use error logs to identify and review system errors related to hacking attempts. Some error logs can also integrate with third-party applications for project management and reporting needs, so professionals in external departments have visibility and information needed to do their jobs.
As referenced above, there are many instances where a business would need an error logging software application. Some of the most prominent vendors in this market include: