Setup Goaccess

Editing Nginx Configuration

Configure Nginx to format logs and set up a server block.

  1. Open the Nginx configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.confΒ 
  1. Add the following log format into your http group in nginx:

http {  
    log_format combined_log '$remote_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] '
                   '"$request" $status $body_bytes_sent '
                   '"$http_referer" "$http_user_agent"';
    # ... (rest of the configuration)

Warning: This logs the users IP address directly. It's not recommended to do it in this fashion, if possible anonymize the address as seen below.

  1. (optional) Instead anonymize IP addresses in logs:

http {
    map $remote_addr $anonymized_addr {
                ~(?P<ip>\d+\.\d+)\.\d+\.    $ip.0.0;
                ~(?P<ip>[^:]+:[^:]+):       $ip::;
                # IP addresses to not anonymize (such as your server)
                ::1                         $remote_addr;
                #w.x.y.z                    $remote_addr;
                #a::c:d::e:f                $remote_addr;
                default           ;
    log_format combined_log '$anonymized_addr - $remote_user [$time_local] '
                       '"$request" $status $body_bytes_sent '
                       '"$http_referer" "$http_user_agent"';
    access_log  /var/log/nginx/access.log  combined_log;
    # ... (rest of the configuration)
  1. Configure a server block:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name;  # Replace with your domain

    root /var/www/html;
    index report.html;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

Testing and Reloading Nginx Configuration

  1. Test the new configuration:

sudo nginx -t
  1. Reload Nginx to apply changes:

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Configuring Log Rotation

Log rotation in Nginx is a process for managing log files to prevent them from becoming excessively large and consuming too much disk space. As Nginx continuously logs web requests, these files can grow rapidly. Without rotation, they can lead to performance issues and make log analysis more difficult. The default setting is for log rotation is daily, which means that the logs that goaccess can use for its reporting are also only daily. To increase that timeframe, do the following:

  1. Edit log rotation configuration:

sudo nano /etc/logrotate.d/nginx
  1. Add the configuration, please change the monthly to daily or weekly if you need daily or weekly rotation of the logs.

/var/log/nginx/*.log {
        rotate 1
        create 0640 www-data adm
                if [ -d /etc/logrotate.d/httpd-prerotate ]; then \
                        run-parts /etc/logrotate.d/httpd-prerotate; \
                fi \
                invoke-rc.d nginx rotate >/dev/null 2>&1
  1. Apply the new rotation configuration:

sudo logrotate -f /etc/logrotate.d/nginx

Setting Up GoAccess for Web Traffic Monitoring

  1. Generate a HTML report:

sudo goaccess /var/log/nginx/access.log -o /var/www/html/report.html --log-format=COMBINED

If you wish to automate this, use crontab to generate recurring reports:

  1. Open crontab for editing (use sudo, otherwise crontab will not access to the log file):

sudo crontab -e
  1. Add the line to automate hourly report generation:

0 * * * * goaccess /var/log/nginx/access.log -o /var/www/html/report.html --log-format=COMBINED

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