23. 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, Log4J and Logback. In each case there is console output and file output (rotating, 10 Mb file size).

By default, If you use the “Starter POMs”, 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.

23.1 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 — Millesecond precision and easily sortable.
  • Log Level — ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG or TRACE.
  • Process ID.
  • A --- separator to distinguish the start of actual log messages.
  • Logger name — This is usually the source class name (often abbreviated).
  • The log message.

23.2 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. To also log DEBUG level messages to the console you can start your application with a --debug flag.

$ java -jar myapp.jar --debug

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.

23.3 File output

By default, log files are written to spring.log in your temp directory and rotate at 10 Mb. You can easily customize the output folder by setting the logging.path property (for example in your application.properties). It is also possible to change the filename using a logging.file property. Note that if logging.file is used, then setting logging.path has no effect.

As with console output, ERROR, WARN and INFO level messages are logged by default.

23.4 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. Example application.properties:

logging.level.org.springframework.web: DEBUG
logging.level.org.hibernate: ERROR

23.5 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. (Note however that 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




log4j.properties or log4j.xml

JDK (Java Util Logging)


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

Spring EnvironmentSystem PropertyComments



Used in default log configuration if defined.



Used in default log configuration if defined.



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.


There are know 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.