I sometimes monitor apache and php error logs using tail under FreeBSD. Is there any way to get colorized output, either using tail or some other command line app?

Alternatively, what is your favorite way to monitor the various web-related logs in realtime?

8 Answers 8


Generic Colouriser (grc):

enter image description here

Works with many different file formats.


grc tail -f /var/log/apache/access.log /var/log/apache/error.log


alt text

Works with even more file formats :) And is more of a full blown "tail" with multi windows, diff outputs etc.. Very useful.


Merge 2 logfiles in one window:

multitail /var/log/apache/access.log -I /var/log/apache/error.log

In one window show all new TCP connections and their state changes using netstat while in the other window displaying the merged access and error logfiles of apache

multitail -R 2 -l "netstat -t" /var/log/apache/access.log -I /var/log/apache/error.log
  • Could you separate out grc and multitail into two separate answers so that they can be voted on separately?
    – Flimm
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 16:48
  • Both grc and multitail are available in Debian and Ubuntu repositories.
    – Flimm
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 16:48

Check out CCZE, it does the job for me. You have a choice of curses, ansi and html output.

  • Where is the download link? It's broken at that site. Screenshot looks good, but, without a link....
    – mpbloch
    Commented Aug 13, 2009 at 18:31
  • Ok, I found it under Lenny packages, but I am missing some files I guess. I'll get ncurses.
    – mpbloch
    Commented Aug 13, 2009 at 18:42
  • 2
    It's working for me in ubuntu 16.04LTS, just apt-get install ccze. To use it, "tail -f /var/log/apache2/error.log | ccze" It's really useful you can export the output to html too! Commented May 10, 2016 at 13:39
  • [Host@root:~]# yum install ccze -y Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 16:37

Monitor '/applications' highlighted;

tail -f /var/log/system.log | grep /Applications --color
  • 3
    that grep will also filter the results
    – nbv4
    Commented Nov 12, 2012 at 21:36

Check out glTail (http://www.fudgie.org/). Does way more than you're asking, but maybe that's OK


Colorize is very good tool for simply piping your text through another filter to get fancy ANSI colors. In fact, it's one simple 4kB perl script (almost half of it is just documentation) and it's based on regular expressions.

You can highlight whole line containing given patern (good for hiding unwanted debug logs or highlighting Exceptions) or just highlight pattern in uncolored line (highlighting http response codes).

I have several presets for various file types in separate runnable files. Then I just run mvn clear install | colorbuild, tail -f *.log* | colorlog or svn diff | colordif to have really fancy output.


You might want to try histring, lets you color most of the outputs with simple ANSI codes http://www.freebsdsoftware.org/misc/histring.html

  • 2
    abandonware (master site no longer exists) Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 0:33

On FreeBSD use colorize. and add in .tailrc:

/usr/bin/tail "$@" | /usr/local/bin/colorize

I wrote TxtStyle, a small utility for colorising logs. You define regular expressions to highlight in ~/.txts.conf file:

!red: regex("error")
green: regex("\d{4}-\d\d-\d\d")
# ...

And then apply the styles:

txts -n example example.log

or you can also pipe the output

tail -f example.log | txts -n example

enter image description here

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .