Logflare CloudFlare App – Review
Date Published: 12th March 2019
Edge Logs for everyone
Logflare immediately caught my attention when I first saw it on Reddit and I knew I wanted to take it for a spin as soon as I had a bit of downtime.
A month later and one Saturday spent indoors I’ve had enough time to play around with Logflare the Cloudflare app and write this little review.
Like all of my “reviews”, it’s not really a “review” per se, simply just me taking [SEO THING] for a quick spin.
I used to actually really enjoy writing back in the day and for now at least, it’s helping me learn a bit about some aspects of Technical SEO.
Anyway, enough about me…on to Logflare, the Cloudflare app.
Logflare was developed by AuthorityLabs founder Chase Granberry, a guy I wasn’t previously familiar with but one who seems to be very respected in the SEO Community (at least based on 34 of his followers that I “know”).
Cloudflare has always been popular amongst SEOs for it’s free service, however there’s no such thing as a free lunch… or some idiom which explains why some featured cost money.
Currently logfiles are only available to those in the Enterprise plan which is at least $201 dollars per month if the Business plan is anything to go by. You need to get in touch for the actual Enterprise pricing which tells you all you need to know.
Yeah, so there was Chase’s problem to solve: can an average SEOer extract server logs on Cloudflare without breaking the bank?
Spoiler: The answer is yes, sort of.
As taken from the official Logflare website, logflare allows you to do the following:
- Stream logs to your browser
- Send custom logs via API request
- Watch log files with the agent (you can filter using regex e.g Googlebot)
- 1,000 log entries per source
- Up to 100 sources per account
- Logs older than 30 days are deleted
- Log routing
- Local time & UTC
There appears to be a few different flavours of Logflare available however this “review” concerns the implementation via the official Cloudflare app.
From my understanding of how this works the Logflare app is basically a user friendly way of deploying a worker script which collects the logs (and sends back to the logflare dashboard).
This is not to downplay anything the app does whatsoever, but just to help clarify in my mind and perhaps for one or two readers how workers work on CloudFlare in relation to this app (and in this instance)
Note: As a result please be aware that you will have to enable workers in order to use this app, although they are really affordable.
It costs $5 a month for the first 10 million worker powered requests and after that an additional $0.50 per million.
It’s not always an exact science due to caching and depending on the actual script itself but in most cases think of it as 1 page view = 1 worker powered request.
What I Like
Obvious question deserves an obvious answer but I really like the way it er, extracts logs and displays them in an easy to digest format.
I love a good dark colour scheme (like this website), and it sounds a bit sad but green is actually my favourite colour.
I find it ridiculously zen just leaving this on my secondary monitor whilst I went about my mundane internet business.
It constantly updates as well so it really has that “entering the matrix” feel to it, despite all that’s happening is that up to 1000 server logs are being tailed!
In terms of practical application I actually used Logflare to help troubleshoot some issues I was having with new Google Search Console and getting my site indexed.
I set up a new Search Console Property after verifying the property using the new-ish DNS method and to cut a long story short, my robots.txt was cached for some inexplicable reason.
I had set it to disallow all as a quick and dirty method to keep Google off the site whilst I worked on launching it, but even after I removed this, Google refused to crawl ANY PAGE on my site due to the directive.
Using Logflare I could keep a constant eye on Googlebot as I did everything I could within GSC to coax it into recrawling my robots, sitemap and any page possible!
I even added a timestamp to my robots file, and used data from Logflare to confirm that Google MUST HAVE RECRAWLED IT BY NOW.
Don’t get me wrong, the issue probably would have resolved itself after a few days, however by having the server logs from Logflare I felt like I had the slight upper hand in solving this very minor technical issue.
At my previous agency most of our clients were on CloudFlare so I could totally see myself using Logflare to help troubleshoot crawling/indexation issues on an ad-hoc basis.
Knowdedge/data = power.
What I don’t like
As implied by the above use of the phrase “ad-hoc”, Logflare in its current format won’t help you proactively analysis or with historical log file collection.
By design it only gives you the most recent 1,000 logs and data is deleted after 30 days.
Plus there isn’t a clear way to export this data into something like Screaming Frog Log Analyser besides copying and pasting (and bodging) into excel.
I’m sure anyone who has dealt with server logs before could come up with quite a few feature suggestions, however I think it would be naive to think that Chase isn’t aware of how Logflare could be improved.
At the end of the day you have to remember that this was built as a learning experience, so any OMG WHY CAN’T WE HAVE ALL THE LOGZ sort of questions would likely be completely misplaced.
If you want to scour server logs 24/7 then obviously a free CloudFlare app isn’t going to satisfy your data collection fetish..
Logflare is a fantastic little utility which is completely free to use for those on CloudFlare (providing you pay $5 for workers) and strangely fun to use.
With it’s 1,000 logs per source limit it’s never going to be an all encompassing log file extraction tool or management dashboard but that’s not really the point.
For me Logflare explores the potential for log file extraction using “Edge SEO” and it mostly serves to get you thinking.
I can also see it being used on an ad-hoc, log by log basis when you perhaps wish to monitor something in real time like my above example with new website indexation.
Overall, Chase Granberry has built something super cool here and I’m glad that I took the time to play around with it!