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When searching the occurrence of the chain /var/log in default configuration files of apache this cannot be found anywhere.

But log files are defined as such

# part of httpd.conf
ErrorLog logs/error_log

I cannot understand how does apache decide where to placed its error log file.

Why does not apache define exactly where the log files will be sent? Or, if you prefer, where is defined the root directory for log files in apache?

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If you don't use absolute path, apache assume that it's relative path to ServerRoot directive.

According to apache doc:

The ErrorLog directive sets the name of the file to which the server will log any errors it encounters. If the file-path is not absolute then it is assumed to be relative to the ServerRoot.

In almost apache version, ServerRoot default set to /usr/local/apache.

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