Structured Logging

Structured logging

Structured logging is a practive of using a machine-readable format to write log messages. Backends like Uptrace automatically parse such messages and saves the extracted data as attributes.


In logfmt a log message consists of key/value pairs separated with a space. Therefore you must quote values containing spaces.

request failed http.method=GET http.route=/users/:id foo="hello world"

JSON format

You can also use JSON to include structured data in your log messages:

request failed {"http.method": "GET", "http.route": "/users/:id", "": 123, "foo": "hello world"}

Free format

If your library does not support structured logging, you can still improve your situation by quoting params:

# good
can't parse string: "the original string"

# bad
can't parse string: the original string

Application logs

To record application logs, use span events. You must set the event name to log and use semantic attributes to record the context:

  • log.severity to record the log severity. Must be one of TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, FATAL, and PANIC.
  • log.message to record the message.
  • code.function to record the function name.
  • code.filepath to record the file path.
  • code.lineno to record the line number.

For example:

span := trace.SpanFromContext(ctx)

span.AddEvent(ctx, "log",
    // Log severity and message.
    label.String("log.severity", "ERROR"),
    label.String("log.message", "request failed"),

    // Optional.
    label.String("code.function", "org.FetchUser"),
    label.String("code.filepath", "org/user.go"),
    label.Int("code.lineno", 123),

    // Additional details.
    label.String("foo", "hello world"),

Uptrace also provides instrumentations for popular logging libraries which allow recording logs using more conventional API, for example, Zapopen in new window and logrusopen in new window.

Third-party logs

To collect existing third-party logs, for example, syslog or nginx logs, you can use Vector integration.


Vectoropen in new window collects, transforms, and sends your logs to multiple destinations including Uptrace. It is blazingly fast and memory efficient.

To configure Vector to send logs to Uptrace, use the HTTP sink and pass your project DSN via HTTP headers. For example, to collect syslog messages, you can create the following Vector config:

type = "file"
include = ["/var/log/syslog"]

type = "http"
inputs = ["in"]
encoding.codec = "json"
framing.method = "newline_delimited"
compression = "gzip"
uri = ""
headers.uptrace-dsn = "https://<token><project_id>"

Copy the config above to vector.toml and then start Vector:

vector --config=vector.toml

See vector-logsopen in new window example for details.

Propagating trace context

When using third-party logs, trace context is not automatically propagated and logs are not linked with any spans.

To propagate context and associate a log entry with a span, use the following attribute keys in the log message:

  • trace_id for TraceId, hex-encoded.
  • span_id for SpanId, hex-encoded.
  • trace_flags for trace flags, formatted according to W3C traceflags format.

For example:

request failed trace_id=958180131ddde684c1dbda1aeacf51d3 span_id=0cf859e4f7510204
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