I have a lot of little sites and servers on the web that do a variety of things. I often find that I want to tail -f the logs across N number of servers/applications at any time. Typically you just set up a central log server with rsyslog or syslog-ng, SSH in and tail -f your logs. I wanted something even simpler than that. Introducing Sinklog.com.

The setup is pretty simple. Go to Sinklog.com, create a log, and log to it using the associated log key. Suppose we create a log called foolog. We get a log key xTBg8Ie7IY.

$ logger -t xTBg8Ie7IY -n sinklog.com "Hello foo log"

and in a separate console:

$ curl -ns https://sinklog.com/s/foolog
Hello foo log

(note: Mac OS doesn’t include the version of logger that can log to remote servers. Check out python-sinklog for an alternative.)

Look at the example integrations for other ways to log from common apps/servers.

How it’s built

The server setup is just nginx, syslog-ng, redis, and a tiny bit of lua.


nginx is compiled with nginx-push-stream-module for the HTTP streaming/websocket support, and OpenResty’s set-misc and lua modules.

nginx configuration

server {

    location ~ ^/pub/(.+)$ {
        push_stream_publisher admin;
        push_stream_channels_path $1;
        push_stream_store_messages on;

    location ~ ^/sub/(.+)$ {
        push_stream_channels_path $1;
        push_stream_message_template ~text~\n;
        more_set_headers "Content-Type: text/plain";

    location ~ ^/ws/(.+)$ {
        push_stream_subscriber websocket;
        push_stream_websocket_allow_publish off;
        push_stream_ping_message_interval 10s;
        push_stream_channels_path $1;
        push_stream_message_template ~text~\n;

    location ~ ^/s/(.+)$ {
        set_escape_uri $logname $1;
        rewrite_by_lua_block {

and rewrites.lua:

_M = {}

local redis = require("redis")

local function iswebsocket()
    if ngx.var.http_upgrade then
        return string.match(ngx.var.http_upgrade:lower(), "websocket")
    return false

local function isget()
    return ngx.var.request_method == "GET"

local function ispost()
    return ngx.var.request_method == "POST"

local function getlogkey(name)
    local r = redis:new()
    r:connect("", 6379)
    local res, err = r:get(name)
    return res

local function geturi(name)

    if iswebsocket() or isget() then
        local key = getlogkey(name)
        if not key then
            return nil
        elseif iswebsocket() then
            return "/ws/" .. key
        elseif isget() then
            return "/sub/" .. key

    elseif ispost() then
        return "/pub/" .. name


_M.rewrite = function()
    local uri = geturi(ngx.var.logname)

    if not uri then
        ngx.req.set_uri(uri, true)


return _M

This script just does the internal rewrites of log key <-> log name.

syslog-ng configuration

source s_external {
    udp(ip( port(514));
    tcp(ip( port(514));

template t_http {
    template("POST /s/${PROGRAM} HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: sinklog.com\r\nContent-Length: $(length ${MESSAGE})\r\nContent-Type: text/plain\r\nConnection: keep-alive\r\n\r\n${MESSAGE}");

destination d_http {
    tcp("" port(80) template(t_http) keep-alive(yes));

log {

Now when syslog-ng receives messages it does an HTTP POST to nginx-push-stream, which then delivers the message to any subscribers on that “channel”. The lua rewrite script ensures that the log key is properly translated to the correct log name.

And that’s basically it! Now you can log anything you want via syslog and tail the stream using any HTTP/Websocket client.