On ubuntu this file exists: /var/log/syslog.

However the same file does not appear on CentOS Distributions. What is the equivalent file on CentOS?

4 Answers 4


Red Hat family distributions (including CentOS and Fedora) use /var/log/messages and /var/log/secure where Debian-family distributions use /var/log/syslog and /var/log/auth.log.

Note that in newer Fedora (or RHEL/CentOS 7 if someone has gone out of their way to configure it this way), you may have no traditional syslog daemon running. In that case, the same data can be shown with journalctl (which defaults to producing text output in the syslog format).


This is the contents of a file called README inside /var/log/ on Fedora 28

You are looking for the traditional text log files in /var/log, and they are gone?

Here's an explanation on what's going on:

You are running a systemd-based OS where traditional syslog has been replaced with the Journal. The journal stores the same (and more) information as classic syslog. To make use of the journal and access the collected log data simply invoke "journalctl", which will output the logs in the identical text-based format the syslog files in /var/log used to be. For further details, please refer to journalctl(1).

Alternatively, consider installing one of the traditional syslog implementations available for your distribution, which will generate the classic log files for you. Syslog implementations such as syslog-ng or rsyslog may be installed side-by-side with the journal and will continue to function the way they always did.

Thank you!

Further reading: man:journalctl(1) man:systemd-journald.service(8) man:journald.conf(5) http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/the-journal.html

  • 1
    journalctl -e worked for me, thanks!
    – redolent
    Apr 12, 2021 at 15:16
  • There is no README in my CentOS 7 /var/log directory, by the way.
    – Javier
    Jan 14 at 15:44

I suggest search for Rsyslog

And fortunately, by default, Rsyslog service is automatically installed and should be running in CentOS/RHEL 7.

You can run this command about its status:

systemctl status rsyslog.service

There are useful information about files locations,its status and reference docs addresses.


In Red Hat Family distributions like CentOS and Fedora... instead of /etc/syslog.conf... it uses /etc/rsyslog.conf

  • 4
    Huh? Is this in addition to the accepted answer above, or are these now in lieu of the directories and files listed above. It's not exactly clear on what this answer means. Hint: Its okay to tell us EXACTLY what you mean.
    – zipzit
    Apr 16, 2019 at 20:29

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