While CakePHP core Configure Class settings can really help you see what’s happening under the hood, there are certain times that you’ll need to log data to the disk in order to find out what’s going on. With technologies like SOAP, AJAX, and REST APIs, debugging can be rather difficult.

Logging can also be a way to find out what’s been going on in your application over time. What search terms are being used? What sorts of errors are my users being shown? How often is a particular query being executed?

Logging data in CakePHP is easy - the log() function is provided by the LogTrait, which is the common ancestor for many CakePHP classes. If the context is a CakePHP class (Controller, Component, View,...), you can log your data. You can also use Log::write() directly. See Writing to Logs.

Logging Configuration

Configuring Log should be done during your application’s bootstrap phase. The config/app.php file is intended for just this. You can define as many or as few loggers as your application needs. Loggers should be configured using Cake\Core\Log. An example would be:

use Cake\Log\Log;

// Short classname
Log::config('debug', [
    'className' => 'File',
    'path' => LOGS,
    'levels' => ['notice', 'info', 'debug'],
    'file' => 'debug',

// Fully namespaced name.
Log::config('error', [
    'className' => 'Cake\Log\Engine\FileLog',
    'path' => LOGS,
    'levels' => ['warning', 'error', 'critical', 'alert', 'emergency'],
    'file' => 'error',

The above creates two loggers. One named debug the other named error. Each is configured to handle different levels of messages. They also store their log messages in separate files, so it’s easy to separate debug/notice/info logs from more serious errors. See the section on Using Levels for more information on the different levels and what they mean.

Once a configuration is created you cannot change it. Instead you should drop the configuration and re-create it using Cake\Log\Log::drop() and Cake\Log\Log::config().

It is also possible to create loggers by providing a closure. This is useful when you need full control over how the logger object is built. The closure has to return the constructed logger instance. For example:

Log::config('special', function () {
    return new \Cake\Log\Engine\FileLog(['path' => LOGS, 'file' => 'log']);

Configuration options can also be provided as a DSN string. This is useful when working with environment variables or PaaS providers:

Log::config('error', [
    'url' => 'file:///?levels[]=warning&levels[]=error&file=error',


Loggers are required to implement the Psr\Log\LoggerInterface interface.

Creating Log Adapters

Log adapters can be part of your application, or part of plugins. If for example you had a database logger called DatabaseLog. As part of your application it would be placed in src/Log/Engine/DatabaseLog.php. As part of a plugin it would be placed in plugins/LoggingPack/src/Log/Engine/DatabaseLog.php. To configure log adapters you should use Cake\Log\Log::config(). For example configuring our DatabaseLog would look like:

// For src/Log
Log::config('otherFile', [
    'className' => 'Database',
    'model' => 'LogEntry',
    // ...

// For plugin called LoggingPack
Log::config('otherFile', [
    'className' => 'LoggingPack.Database',
    'model' => 'LogEntry',
    // ...

When configuring a log adapter the className parameter is used to locate and load the log handler. All of the other configuration properties are passed to the log adapter’s constructor as an array.

namespace App\Log\Engine;
use Cake\Log\Engine\BaseLog;

class DatabaseLog extends BaseLog
    public function __construct($options = [])
        // ...

    public function log($level, $message, array $context = [])
        // Write to the database.

CakePHP requires that all logging adapters implement Psr\Log\LoggerInterface. The class CakeLogEngineBaseLog is an easy way to satisfy the interface as it only requires you to implement the log() method.

FileLog engine takes the following options:

  • size Used to implement basic log file rotation. If log file size reaches specified size the existing file is renamed by appending timestamp to filename and new log file is created. Can be integer bytes value or human readable string values like ‘10MB’, ‘100KB’ etc. Defaults to 10MB.
  • rotate Log files are rotated specified times before being removed. If value is 0, old versions are removed rather then rotated. Defaults to 10.
  • mask Set the file permissions for created files. If left empty the default permissions are used.


Engines have the suffix Log. You should avoid class names like SomeLogLog which include the suffix twice at the end.


You should configure loggers during bootstrapping. config/app.php is the conventional place to configure log adapters.

In debug mode missing directories will be automatically created to avoid unnecessary errors thrown when using the FileEngine.

Error and Exception Logging

Errors and Exceptions can also be logged. By configuring the co-responding values in your app.php file. Errors will be displayed when debug > 0 and logged when debug is false. To log uncaught exceptions, set the log option to true. See Configuration for more information.

Interacting with Log Streams

You can introspect the configured streams with Cake\Log\Log::configured(). The return of configured() is an array of all the currently configured streams. You can remove streams using Cake\Log\Log::drop(). Once a log stream has been dropped it will no longer receive messages.

Using the FileLog Adapter

As its name implies FileLog writes log messages to files. The level of log message being written determines the name of the file the message is stored in. If a level is not supplied, LOG_ERR is used which writes to the error log. The default log location is logs/$level.log:

// Executing this inside a CakePHP class
$this->log("Something didn't work!");

// Results in this being appended to logs/error.log
// 2007-11-02 10:22:02 Error: Something didn't work!

The configured directory must be writable by the web server user in order for logging to work correctly.

You can configure additional/alternate FileLog locations when configuring a logger.FileLog accepts a path which allows for custom paths to be used:

Log::config('custom_path', [
    'className' => 'File',
    'path' => '/path/to/custom/place/'


If you do not configure a logging adapter, log messages will not be stored.

Logging to Syslog

In production environments it is highly recommended that you setup your system to use syslog instead of the files logger. This will perform much better as any writes will be done in a (almost) non-blocking fashion and your operating system logger can be configured separately to rotate files, pre-process writes or use a completely different storage for your logs.

Using syslog is pretty much like using the default FileLog engine, you just need to specify Syslog as the engine to be used for logging. The following configuration snippet will replace the default logger with syslog, this should be done in the bootstrap.php file:

Log::config('default', [
    'engine' => 'Syslog'

The configuration array accepted for the Syslog logging engine understands the following keys:

  • format: An sprintf template strings with two placeholders, the first one for the error level, and the second for the message itself. This key is useful to add additional information about the server or process in the logged message. For example: %s - Web Server 1 - %s will look like error - Web Server 1 - An error occurred in this request after replacing the placeholders.
  • prefix: An string that will be prefixed to every logged message.
  • flag: An integer flag to be used for opening the connection to the logger, by default LOG_ODELAY will be used. See openlog documentation for more options
  • facility: The logging slot to use in syslog. By default LOG_USER is used. See syslog documentation for more options

Writing to Logs

Writing to the log files can be done in 2 different ways. The first is to use the static Cake\Log\Log::write() method:

Log::write('debug', 'Something did not work');

The second is to use the log() shortcut function available on any using the LogTrait Calling log() will internally call Log::write():

// Executing this inside a class using LogTrait
$this->log("Something did not work!", 'debug');

All configured log streams are written to sequentially each time Cake\Log\Log::write() is called. If you have not configured any logging adapters log() will return false and no log messages will be written.

Using Levels

CakePHP supports the standard POSIX set of logging levels. Each level represents an increasing level of severity:

  • Emergency: system is unusable
  • Alert: action must be taken immediately
  • Critical: critical conditions
  • Error: error conditions
  • Warning: warning conditions
  • Notice: normal but significant condition
  • Info: informational messages
  • Debug: debug-level messages

You can refer to these levels by name when configuring loggers, and when writing log messages. Alternatively, you can use convenience methods like Cake\Log\Log::error() to clearly indicate the logging level. Using a level that is not in the above levels will result in an exception.


When levels is set to an empty value in a logger’s configuration, it will take messages of any level.

Logging Scopes

Often times you’ll want to configure different logging behavior for different subsystems or parts of your application. Take for example an e-commerce shop. You’ll probably want to handle logging for orders and payments differently than you do other less critical logs.

CakePHP exposes this concept as logging scopes. When log messages are written you can include a scope name. If there is a configured logger for that scope, the log messages will be directed to those loggers. For example:

// Configure logs/shops.log to receive all levels, but only
// those with `orders` and `payments` scope.
Log::config('shops', [
    'className' => 'File',
    'path' => LOGS,
    'levels' => [],
    'scopes' => ['orders', 'payments'],
    'file' => 'shops.log',

// Configure logs/payments.log to receive all levels, but only
// those with `payments` scope.
Log::config('payments', [
    'className' => 'File',
    'path' => LOGS,
    'levels' => [],
    'scopes' => ['payments'],
    'file' => 'payments.log',

Log::warning('this gets written only to shops.log', ['scope' => ['orders']]);
Log::warning('this gets written to both shops.log and payments.log', ['scope' => ['payments']]);

Scopes can also be passed as a single string or a numerically indexed array. Note that using this form will limit the ability to pass more data as context:

Log::warning('This is a warning', ['orders']);
Log::warning('This is a warning', 'payments');


When scopes is set to an empty array or null in a logger’s configuration, it will take messages of any scope. Setting it to false will only match messages without scope.


class Cake\Log\Log

A simple class for writing to logs.

static Cake\Log\Log::config($key, $config)
  • $name (string) – Name for the logger being connected, used to drop a logger later on.
  • $config (array) – Array of configuration information and constructor arguments for the logger.

Get or set the configuration for a Logger. See Logging Configuration for more information.

static Cake\Log\Log::configured
Returns:An array of configured loggers.

Get the names of the configured loggers.

static Cake\Log\Log::drop($name)
  • $name (string) – Name of the logger you wish to no longer receive messages.
static Cake\Log\Log::write($level, $message, $scope = [])

Write a message into all the configured loggers. $level indicates the level of log message being created. $message is the message of the log entry being written to. $scope is the scope(s) a log message is being created in.

static Cake\Log\Log::levels

Call this method without arguments, eg: Log::levels() to obtain current level configuration.

Convenience Methods

The following convenience methods were added to log $message with the appropriate log level.

static Cake\Log\Log::emergency($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::alert($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::critical($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::error($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::warning($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::notice($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::debug($message, $scope = [])
static Cake\Log\Log::info($message, $scope = [])

Logging Trait

trait Cake\Log\LogTrait

A trait that provides shortcut methods for logging

Cake\Log\LogTrait::log($msg, $level = LOG_ERR)

Log a message to the logs. By default messages are logged as ERROR messages. If $msg isn’t a string it will be converted with print_r before being logged.

Using Monolog

Monolog is a popular logger for PHP. Since it implements the same interfaces as the CakePHP loggers, it is easy to use in your application as the default logger.

After installing Monolog using composer, configure the logger using the Log::config() method:

// config/bootstrap.php

use Monolog\Logger;
use Monolog\Handler\StreamHandler;

Log::config('default', function () {
    $log = new Logger('app');
    $log->pushHandler(new StreamHandler('path/to/your/combined.log'));
    return $log;

// Optionally stop using the now redundant default loggers

Use similar methods if you want to configure a different logger for your console:

// config/bootstrap_cli.php

use Monolog\Logger;
use Monolog\Handler\StreamHandler;

Log::config('default', function () {
    $log = new Logger('cli');
    $log->pushHandler(new StreamHandler('path/to/your/combined-cli.log'));
    return $log;

// Optionally stop using the now redundant default CLI loggers


When using a console specific logger, make sure to conditionally configure your application logger. This will prevent duplicate log entries.