26. Logging

Spring Boot uses Commons Logging for all internal logging, but leaves the underlying log implementation open. Default configurations are provided for Java Util Logging, Log4J2 and Logback. In each case loggers are pre-configured to use console output with optional file output also available.

By default, If you use the ‘Starters’, Logback will be used for logging. Appropriate Logback routing is also included to ensure that dependent libraries that use Java Util Logging, Commons Logging, Log4J or SLF4J will all work correctly.


There are a lot of logging frameworks available for Java. Don’t worry if the above list seems confusing. Generally you won’t need to change your logging dependencies and the Spring Boot defaults will work just fine.

26.1 Log format

The default log output from Spring Boot looks like this:

2014-03-05 10:57:51.112  INFO 45469 --- [           main] org.apache.catalina.core.StandardEngine  : Starting Servlet Engine: Apache Tomcat/7.0.52
2014-03-05 10:57:51.253  INFO 45469 --- [ost-startStop-1] o.a.c.c.C.[Tomcat].[localhost].[/]       : Initializing Spring embedded WebApplicationContext
2014-03-05 10:57:51.253  INFO 45469 --- [ost-startStop-1] o.s.web.context.ContextLoader            : Root WebApplicationContext: initialization completed in 1358 ms
2014-03-05 10:57:51.698  INFO 45469 --- [ost-startStop-1] o.s.b.c.e.ServletRegistrationBean        : Mapping servlet: 'dispatcherServlet' to [/]
2014-03-05 10:57:51.702  INFO 45469 --- [ost-startStop-1] o.s.b.c.embedded.FilterRegistrationBean  : Mapping filter: 'hiddenHttpMethodFilter' to: [/*]

The following items are output:

  • Date and Time — Millisecond precision and easily sortable.
  • Log Level — ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG or TRACE.
  • Process ID.
  • A --- separator to distinguish the start of actual log messages.
  • Thread name — Enclosed in square brackets (may be truncated for console output).
  • Logger name — This is usually the source class name (often abbreviated).
  • The log message.

Logback does not have a FATAL level (it is mapped to ERROR)

26.2 Console output

The default log configuration will echo messages to the console as they are written. By default ERROR, WARN and INFO level messages are logged. You can also enable a “debug” mode by starting your application with a --debug flag.

$ java -jar myapp.jar --debug

you can also specify debug=true in your application.properties.

When the debug mode is enabled, a selection of core loggers (embedded container, Hibernate and Spring Boot) are configured to output more information. Enabling the debug mode does not configure your application to log all messages with DEBUG level.

Alternatively, you can enable a “trace” mode by starting your application with a --trace flag (or trace=true in your application.properties). This will enable trace logging for a selection of core loggers (embedded container, Hibernate schema generation and the whole Spring portfolio).

26.2.1 Color-coded output

If your terminal supports ANSI, color output will be used to aid readability. You can set spring.output.ansi.enabled to a supported value to override the auto detection.

Color coding is configured using the %clr conversion word. In its simplest form the converter will color the output according to the log level, for example:


The mapping of log level to a color is as follows:














Alternatively, you can specify the color or style that should be used by providing it as an option to the conversion. For example, to make the text yellow:

%clr(%d{yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss.SSS}){yellow}

The following colors and styles are supported:

  • blue
  • cyan
  • faint
  • green
  • magenta
  • red
  • yellow

26.3 File output

By default, Spring Boot will only log to the console and will not write log files. If you want to write log files in addition to the console output you need to set a logging.file or logging.path property (for example in your application.properties).

The following table shows how the logging.* properties can be used together:

Table 26.1. Logging properties





Console only logging.

Specific file



Writes to the specified log file. Names can be an exact location or relative to the current directory.


Specific directory


Writes spring.log to the specified directory. Names can be an exact location or relative to the current directory.

Log files will rotate when they reach 10 MB and as with console output, ERROR, WARN and INFO level messages are logged by default.


The logging system is initialized early in the application lifecycle and as such logging properties will not be found in property files loaded via @PropertySource annotations.


Logging properties are independent of the actual logging infrastructure. As a result, specific configuration keys (such as logback.configurationFile for Logback) are not managed by spring Boot.

26.4 Log Levels

All the supported logging systems can have the logger levels set in the Spring Environment (so for example in application.properties) using ‘logging.level.*=LEVEL’ where ‘LEVEL’ is one of TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, FATAL, OFF. The root logger can be configured using logging.level.root. Example application.properties:


By default Spring Boot remaps Thymeleaf INFO messages so that they are logged at DEBUG level. This helps to reduce noise in the standard log output. See LevelRemappingAppender for details of how you can apply remapping in your own configuration.

26.5 Custom log configuration

The various logging systems can be activated by including the appropriate libraries on the classpath, and further customized by providing a suitable configuration file in the root of the classpath, or in a location specified by the Spring Environment property logging.config.

You can force Spring Boot to use a particular logging system using the org.springframework.boot.logging.LoggingSystem system property. The value should be the fully-qualified class name of a LoggingSystem implementation. You can also disable Spring Boot’s logging configuration entirely by using a value of none.


Since logging is initialized before the ApplicationContext is created, it isn’t possible to control logging from @PropertySources in Spring @Configuration files. System properties and the conventional Spring Boot external configuration files work just fine.)

Depending on your logging system, the following files will be loaded:

Logging SystemCustomization


logback-spring.xml, logback-spring.groovy, logback.xml or logback.groovy


log4j2-spring.xml or log4j2.xml

JDK (Java Util Logging)



When possible we recommend that you use the -spring variants for your logging configuration (for example logback-spring.xml rather than logback.xml). If you use standard configuration locations, Spring cannot completely control log initialization.


There are known classloading issues with Java Util Logging that cause problems when running from an ‘executable jar’. We recommend that you avoid it if at all possible.

To help with the customization some other properties are transferred from the Spring Environment to System properties:

Spring EnvironmentSystem PropertyComments



The conversion word that’s used when logging exceptions.



Used in default log configuration if defined.



Used in default log configuration if defined.



The log pattern to use on the console (stdout). (Only supported with the default logback setup.)



The log pattern to use in a file (if LOG_FILE enabled). (Only supported with the default logback setup.)



The format to use to render the log level (default %5p). (Only supported with the default logback setup.)



The current process ID (discovered if possible and when not already defined as an OS environment variable).

All the logging systems supported can consult System properties when parsing their configuration files. See the default configurations in spring-boot.jar for examples.


If you want to use a placeholder in a logging property, you should use Spring Boot’s syntax and not the syntax of the underlying framework. Notably, if you’re using Logback, you should use : as the delimiter between a property name and its default value and not :-.


You can add MDC and other ad-hoc content to log lines by overriding only the LOG_LEVEL_PATTERN (or logging.pattern.level with Logback). For example, if you use logging.pattern.level=user:%X{user} %5p then the default log format will contain an MDC entry for "user" if it exists, e.g.

2015-09-30 12:30:04.031 user:juergen INFO 22174 --- [  nio-8080-exec-0] demo.Controller
Handling authenticated request

26.6 Logback extensions

Spring Boot includes a number of extensions to Logback which can help with advanced configuration. You can use these extensions in your logback-spring.xml configuration file.


You cannot use extensions in the standard logback.xml configuration file since it’s loaded too early. You need to either use logback-spring.xml or define a logging.config property.


The extensions cannot be used with Logback’s configuration scanning. If you attempt to do so, making changes to the configuration file will result in an error similar to one of the following being logged:

ERROR in [email protected]:71 - no applicable action for [springProperty], current ElementPath is [[configuration][springProperty]]
ERROR in [email protected]:71 - no applicable action for [springProfile], current ElementPath is [[configuration][springProfile]]

26.6.1 Profile-specific configuration

The <springProfile> tag allows you to optionally include or exclude sections of configuration based on the active Spring profiles. Profile sections are supported anywhere within the <configuration> element. Use the name attribute to specify which profile accepts the configuration. Multiple profiles can be specified using a comma-separated list.

<springProfile name="staging">
    <!-- configuration to be enabled when the "staging" profile is active -->

<springProfile name="dev, staging">
    <!-- configuration to be enabled when the "dev" or "staging" profiles are active -->

<springProfile name="!production">
    <!-- configuration to be enabled when the "production" profile is not active -->

26.6.2 Environment properties

The <springProperty> tag allows you to surface properties from the Spring Environment for use within Logback. This can be useful if you want to access values from your application.properties file in your logback configuration. The tag works in a similar way to Logback’s standard <property> tag, but rather than specifying a direct value you specify the source of the property (from the Environment). You can use the scope attribute if you need to store the property somewhere other than in local scope. If you need a fallback value in case the property is not set in the Environment, you can use the defaultValue attribute.

<springProperty scope="context" name="fluentHost" source="myapp.fluentd.host"
<appender name="FLUENT" class="ch.qos.logback.more.appenders.DataFluentAppender">

The RelaxedPropertyResolver is used to access Environment properties. If specify the source in dashed notation (my-property-name) all the relaxed variations will be tried (myPropertyName, MY_PROPERTY_NAME etc).