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OnCrawl ELK is a preconfigured ELK stack to analyze GoogleBot activity on your website. It is built with standard pillars such as ELK and docker.

Getting started


  1. Install Docker with Docker Compose
  2. Locate your server logs copy them to the machine where you are going to run OnCrawl ELK. 30 days is generally fine. If you have very large log file, start with 1 or 2 days.


  1. Clone this repository and checkout the 1.1 tag or simply download 1.1 zip
  2. Starts the OnCrawl ELK containers using Docker Compose: docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml up -d
  3. Visit http://localhost:9000 or http://docker-host-ip:9000. You should see the OnCrawl-ELK dashboard, but there is no data yet. Let's bring some data to analyze.

Import log files

Importing data is as easy as copying log access files to the right folder. Logstash start indexing any file found at logs/apache/*.log , logs/nginx/*.log , logs/iis/*.log automatically.

Apache/Nginx logs

If your webserver is powered by Apache or NGinx, make sure the format is combined log format. They should look like: - - [28/Aug/2015:06:45:41 +0200] "GET /apache_pb.gif HTTP/1.0" 200 2326 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

Drop your .log files into the logs/apache or logs/nginx directory accordingly.

IIS logs

If your webserver is powered by IIS, you must select the right fields to export in the access log files. The header of the log files should look like:

#Fields: date time s-ip cs-method cs-uri-stem cs-uri-query s-port cs-username c-ip cs(User-Agent) cs(Referer)? cs-host? sc-status sc-substatus sc-win32-status time-taken

? denotes optionnal fields.

Then copy your .log files into the logs/iis directory to have logstash analyze them.

other formats

If your logs have a different format and you cannot edit the output format to match one supported by the default configuration, have a look at the Custom logformat section.


Go back to http://localhost:9000 or http://docker-host-ip:9000. You should have figures and graphs, congrats !

Going further

Exploring the logstash.conf file

The logstash configuration file is comprised of 3 sections: input, filter, output.


In OnCrawl ELK, the input section contains file directive for the 3 supported formats: apache, nginx and iis. All events read from a file under the /logs/apache/directory will be tagged with type: apache, and so on for nginx and iis. This tag is later used for filtering.


The filter section does 3 things mainly:

  1. Split the event line into meaningful fields, using the grok filter. Based on the value of type, hence the event file source, different patterns are applied, namely %{COMBINEDAPACHELOG}, %{NGINXACCESS} or %{IISLOG}.
  2. Based on the user agent, identify what Googlebot from the Googlebot list crawled the page. If no Googlebot is identified, drop the event since we monitor only Googlebot activity here.
  3. Using grok again, apply regex patterns on the url to set the appropriate category field.

At the end of filtering the event contains well structured fields, and enriched information.


In the ELK stack, the output of choice is elasticsearch.

Notice the document_id field that allows to push an event twice while still having only one entry in elasticsearch. Duplicated events are automaticcaly deduplicated for better consistency.

Modifying the logstash.conf file

In order to modify logstash configuration, edit the files located at recipes/logstash. Then use the compose file:

docker-compose -f build
docker-compose -f up -d
Custom logformat

If you need to parse a log format that is not supported out of box by oncrawl elk, then you will need to edit the logstash.conf file in order to tell logstash and more specifically grok how to extract the relevant information for each line.

The minimum required fields are:

  • timestamp. The date and time of the event, as long as it can be parsed by the date filter.
  • url
  • user agent
  • status code

Parsing a new format involves a few steps:

  1. Add an input entry, and modify the type tag.
   file {
               'path' => '/logs/cutstom/*.log'
               'type' => 'custom'
               'start_position' => 'beginning'
  1. Build a grok pattern that extract relevanr fields for your event lines. Remember, at least timestamp, url, user agent and status code are required. Grok constructor is a great help for this. Once you have built your pattern, add it to a file in logstash/conf/patterns

  2. Add a filter entry, like this one:

	if [type] == "custom" {
		grok {
		   match => { "message" => "%{MY_CUSTOM_PATTERN}" }

		date {
	      # Try to pull the timestamp from the 'timestamp' field (parsed above with
	      # grok). The apache time format looks like: "18/Aug/2011:05:44:34 -0700"
	      match => [ "timestamp", "dd/MMM/yyyy:HH:mm:ss Z" ]
	      locale => 'en'

Don't forget to adapt the date match if necessary. Check date filter help for this.

Custom page categories

By default the category of a page is the first element of its path. e.g => /guide/

If you want to change this rule for your site, then edit this block of lines:

	grok {
		   patterns_dir => "/etc/logstash/patterns"
		   match => { "request" => "/%{PATH_COMPONENT:category}/" }

and replace it with one or several grok patterns that fill the category tag.

This is a possible example:

	grok {
       match => { "request" => "/article/[0-9]{9}.html" }
       add_field => { "category" => "article" }
	grok {
       match => { "request" => "/news/" }
       add_field => { "category" => "news" }

	if ![category] {
		mutate {
			add_field => { "category" => "other" }

will produce this result:


Check that the logstash web-client is started properly with kitematic, or with the command:

docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml ps

If docker is running in a VM, which is the case on OS X and Windows, make sure to replace localhost with the ip of the VM running docker.

  • The web-client loads but frames are empty Make sure kibana is started using kitematic or this command:

docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml ps

You can issue a full restart with:

docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml stop
docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml up -d

If required, delete the docker containers once stopped with:

docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml rm
  • The web-client loads all frames say no result
    1. Make sure to select a date windows that match your log files
    2. Analyze logstash log files with kitematic, or this command: docker-compose -p oncrawlelk -f docker-compose.yml ps


If you need to purge old logs, you can use Elastic curator

For instance to keep the most recent 100GB of logs:

docker run --rm --link oncrawlelk_elasticsearch_1:elasticsearch digitalwonderland/elasticsearch-curator --host elasticsearch -n delete --disk-space 100


OnCrawl ELK is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE file for full license text.


ELK stack in docker images configured to analyze GoogleBot activity on your website




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