Error log viewer in cPanel

Feb 13, 2009

We’ve disabled the error log viewer in the web site control panel (cPanel), because a configuration change we had to make rendered it pretty much useless due to the rather quirky way cPanel handles error logs.

For some reason, by default cPanel logs all errors from all accounts into one big file, then then the error log viewer just looks for the lines containing the path to your home directory (i.e. the location of your account’s files). The problem with this is that not all errors relating to your account actually contain this path — this is especially true of Django applications, for example — so it was impossible for customers to see some of the errors their sites were generating.

To remedy this, we’ve reconfigured the web server to log errors to a file called “tmp/error.log” in each user’s home directory. This makes cPanel’s error log viewer useless because it doesn’t know to look at that file for errors, but since the error log can be viewed/downloaded in SSH and FTP we feel this trade-off is worth it so that customers can actually see all of their errors.