I check service status with systemctl status service-name.

By default, I see few rows only, so I add -n50 to see more.

Sometimes, I want to see full log, from start. It could have 1000s of rows.
Now, I check it with -n10000 but that doesn't look like neat solution.

Is there an option to check full systemd service log similar to less command?

  • 2
    While the accepted answer wasn't useful for me, I was not aware of the -n flag. Adding -n99999 seems to be an acceptable workaround for me. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction :-) – tobixen Jun 26 '19 at 5:00

Just use the journalctl command, as in:

journalctl -u service-name.service

Or, to see only log messages for the current boot:

journalctl -u service-name.service -b

For things named <something>.service, you can actually just use <something>, as in:

journalctl -u service-name

But for other sorts of units (sockets, targets, timers, etc), you need to be explicit.

In the above commands, the -u flag is short for --unit, and specifies the name of the unit in which you're interested. -b is short for --boot, and restricts the output to only the current boot so that you don't see lots of older messages. See the journalctl man page for more information.

  • 67
    appending --no-pager will print full log, so you wont have to scroll – Dushyant Bangal May 29 '17 at 11:41
  • 78
    appending -e will start the log at the end removing the need to scroll, but without printing the entire log beforehand. – timlyo Jul 28 '17 at 14:45
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    appending -f will follow (print) updates to the log – Joe J Sep 6 '17 at 17:10
  • 54
    appending --help will let you see all available options – Tzafrir Mar 26 '18 at 20:14
  • 5
    Actually, this was not helpful for me - I want only the output since the unit was (re)started. sudo systemctl -n 99999 status gives me that, but apparently journalctl can only filter "from boot", not "from service start". – tobixen Jun 26 '19 at 4:57

systemctl can include the complete output of its status listing, without truncation., by adding the -l flag:

systemctl -l status service-name

-l: don't truncate entries with ellipses (...)

--no-pager can be added to avoid invoking a pager when the output is an interactive terminal.

  • 7
    Could you explicit your answer somehow? Adding some explanation about the options, and don't hesitate to format your answer! – joH1 Jan 24 '18 at 10:20
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    This answer is wrong. The output stays truncated. – phil294 Oct 30 '18 at 14:21

Use journalctl to View Your System's Logs

View journalctl without PagingPermalink To send your logs to standard output and avoid paging them, use the --no-pager option:

journalctl --no-pager

It’s not recommended that you do this without first filtering down the number of logs shown.

journalctl -u service-name.service

Show Logs within a Time RangePermalink Use the --since option to show logs after a specified date and time:

journalctl --since "2018-08-30 14:10:10"

Use the --until option to show logs up to a specified date and time:

journalctl --until "2018-09-02 12:05:50"

Combine these to show logs between the two times:

journalctl --since "2018-08-30 14:10:10" --until "2018-09-02 12:05:50"

More info


using journalctl

write logs to a text file

and read it bottom up

journalctl -u service-name.service > file_name.txt

tail file_name.txt
  • Which tail command supports option -r, and what does it do? – RalfFriedl Nov 19 '19 at 6:29
  • I like this answer the best. Was able to quickly get real-time log output to a file that I could then winscp to snag it from a Windows box. – Source Matters Sep 9 '20 at 15:58

Most of the time, it is convenient and easy to use the following bash command:

journalctl -xefu service-name.service


journalctl -xefu service-name

It works as if the process is executed via shell and the output is changing dynamically (similar to tail -f).

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