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How to use the PHP error log function

Educative Answers Team
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The error_log function is widely used in PHP to send error messages to the web server.

The syntax is:

error_log(message, type, destination, headers)

  • message is the user-defined error message.
  • type specifies where the error should go.
    0 - By default, the message is sent to the PHP system logger.
    1- Email is sent to the destination specified. This parameter also makes use of headers to add additional information.
    3- The message is attached to the file specified in the destination.
    4- The message id directly sent to the SAPIAn API provided by the webserver to help extend server capabilities. logging handler.
  • destination specifies the addressee or the file name depending on the type.
  • headers specify the from, cc, bcc if the type is set to 11.

Only message is required, the rest are optional fields.

The function returns true or false depending upon the success or failure of the log.

Remember: It is not binary safe and; therefore, a null character will truncate the message.


The following code gives an example of how failed login attempts can be logged in a file:

// Notify the system of multiple invalid login attempts
error_log("Multiple failed attempts for user", 3, "/var/tmp/system_errors.log");

This function can be used to send emails to other users, use default settings, or send the error logs to the SAPI logging handler depending upon the type selected by the user.


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