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Logging on Node.js with log4js-node


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console.log has been a prevalent anti-pattern inherited by Node.js developers from years of printing to the console on a browser. While this is useful for quick debugging, it doesn't sit well with server-side design; it's hard to turn it off selectively, add log levels to it or redirect the logs to a file or database. Some good alternatives to the console.log are winston and log4js-node.

In this post, we'll explore the uses of log4js-node to print the logs on the console as well as a file.


You can pick the Node.js application created in the post Request logging with morgan to follow this post.

Install dependencies for log4js-node

Add the required dependencies with the following command.

yarn add log4js

Add configurations for the logs

Add the following environment variables (through dotenv or environment variables of your system); they configure the default logging level of log4js-node and the name of the log file.


Read these configurations in src/configuration/environment.ts.

// src/configuration/environment.ts

export const environment = {
  nodeEnv: process.env.ENV || process.env.NODE_ENV,
  logDir: process.env.LOG_DIR || 'logs',
  logLevel: process.env.LOG_LEVEL || 'info',
  logFile: process.env.LOG_FILE || 'app.log',

  // Other environment variables

Define appenders for log4js-node

Create a file src/helper/default.logger.ts and add the following code.

// src/helper/default.logger.ts

import { configure, getLogger } from 'log4js';
import { environment } from '../configuration/environment';

// appenders
  appenders: {
    console: { type: 'stdout', layout: { type: 'colored' } },
    dateFile: {
      type: 'dateFile',
      filename: `${environment.logDir}/${environment.logFile}`,
      layout: { type: 'basic' },
      compress: true,
      daysToKeep: 14,
      keepFileExt: true
  categories: {
    default: { appenders: ['console', 'dateFile'], level: environment.logLevel }

// fetch logger and export
export const logger = getLogger();

Here, we've created a console appender, and a rotating file appender that rotates the file logs/app.log in a zip archive everyday.

Use this logger as follows.

// import the logger
import { logger } from './helper/default.logger';

// other configurations and initializations 

// server
app.listen(port, () => logger.info(`Server started at http://localhost:${port}`));

Start the application; you should see app.log in logs directory and the same logs printed on the console.


Source codelogging-with-log4js-node