I want to filter the log written in the last 10 minutes in the access.log file of Nginx on Ubuntu 16.04. I tried using the below line but only the log for that minute is filtered.

awk -v d1="$(date --date="-10 min" "+%d/%b/%Y:%H:%M")" -v d2="$(date "+%d/%b/%Y:%H:%M")" '$0 > d1 && $0 < d2 || $0 ~ d2' /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log

This is the date format for the logs that are written:
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The problem is that nginx logs don't have the date at the beginning of the file: thinking of this you get to this (mine was the 5th element on the line, notice the $4 )

sudo awk -v d1="$(date --date '-10 min' '+%d/%b/%Y:%T')" '$4 > d1' /var/log/nginx/access.log

then again the issue is having the unrelated square bracket at the beginning:

So removing the square bracket gives you something functioning:

sudo awk -v d1="$(date --date '-10 min' '+%d/%b/%Y:%T')" '{gsub(/^[\[\t]+/, "", $4);}; $4 > d1' /var/log/nginx/access.log

I have simplified the example a bit to demonstrate the issue but you can always add back the upper boundaries checks if you wish to.

  • works perfectly! thank you for the answer.
    – Nitesh B.
    Jun 16, 2021 at 5:47
  • This does not work on the 1st of each new month, when reading logs from the end of the previous month. It will simply list all the log entries.
    – Tony
    Oct 1, 2021 at 6:22

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