Troubleshoot the Logging agent

This page provides instructions for troubleshooting common issues found with installing or interacting with the Logging agent.


If you are having trouble installing or using the Logging agent, here are some things to check:

  • If Linux installation commands result in errors, then make sure that you prefix the installation commands with sudo.

  • Verify that the agent service is running on your VM instance:

    • For a Windows VM, use the following PowerShell command:

      Get-Service -Name StackdriverLogging

      Search for a service called Stackdriver Logging. If the agent is not running, you might need to restart it.

    • For a Linux VM, use the following command:

      sudo service google-fluentd status

      If the agent is not running, you might need to restart it using the following command:

      sudo service google-fluentd restart

      If the restart fails, and the log output shows "Disabled via metadata", you are likely running an image from Google Cloud Marketplace, where the Logging agent is disabled by default. The google-logging-enable instance metadata key controls the Logging agent enablement status, where a value of 0 disables the agent. To re-enable the agent, either remove the google-logging-enable key or set its value to 1. For more information, see Create an instance with the logging agent disabled).

      If the agent is not disabled via metadata, reinstall the agent. See the following section, Reinstalling the Logging agent.

  • See if the agent has written error messages to the logs.

    • On Windows, as of version v1-9, the Logging agent saves its logs in C:\Program Files (x86)\Stackdriver\LoggingAgent\fluentd.log.

      There is no way to get the logs for prior versions of the agent.

    • On Linux, the Logging agent is a fluentd package and logs messages to /var/log/google-fluentd/google-fluentd.log:

      • If you see HTTP 429 errors, you might have exceeded your Logging API quotas. You can see your available quota by selecting APIs & services > Dashboard in the Google Cloud console. Choose the Logging API.

      • If you see API access or authorization problems, go to Verifying Compute Engine credentials.

  • If the agent seems to be running normally, but you are not getting data, then you should check that the agent is sending data to the correct project. See the following section, Verifying Compute Engine credentials.

  • If the agent fails to authorize, check whether the credentials for your private key are missing or invalid.

Verify the agent installation

To check that the installation was successful, look for the agent's test log entry in the Logs Explorer.

Go to the Logs Explorer

  1. At the top of the page, choose the project containing your VM instance:

    • For Compute Engine VM instances, choose the Google Cloud project that contains the VM instance.
    • For Amazon EC2 VM instances, choose the AWS connector project that links your AWS account to Google Cloud services.
  2. In the windows tabs, choose the resource for your VM instance:

    • For Compute Engine, choose GCE VM Instance.
    • For Amazon EC2, choose AWS EC2 Instance.
    • Select syslog (Linux), (Windows), or All logs.

If you see a log entry, "Successfully sent gRPC to Logging API," then the agent installation is complete. This message generated once when the agent is installed and also each the agent is restarted.

For more information about the Logs Explorer, see Using the Logs Explorer.

Test the agent

If you suspect that the agent is not working, check that it is running and try to send a test message to Logging:

Linux instance

The following procedure works on both Compute Engine and Amazon EC2 VM instances running Linux:

  1. Verify that the Logging agent is running by executing the following commands on your VM instance:

    ps ax | grep fluentd

    You should see output similar to the following:

     2284 ?        Sl     0:00 /opt/google-fluentd/embedded/bin/ruby /usr/sbin/google-fluentd [...]
     2287 ?        Sl    42:44 /opt/google-fluentd/embedded/bin/ruby /usr/sbin/google-fluentd [...]
  2. Send a test log message by running the following command on your VM instance:

    logger "Some test message"

Windows instance

The Logging agent has two Windows service names:

  • StackdriverLogging for versions v1-5 and later
  • fluentdwinsvc for earlier versions

You should be running one agent service. Run the following commands on your VM instance using PowerShell:

  1. Ask for the status of both services. If you know which service should be running, you can use just that service name:

    Get-Service StackdriverLogging,fluentdwinsvc
  2. If a service is not running, you see an error message. If it is running, you see output like the following:

    Status    Name                DisplayName
    ------    ----                -----------
    Running  StackdriverLogging   Cloud Logging
  3. If you query both services, you should see one error message and one Running status:

    • If you do not see any Running status, then the Logging agent is not running.
    • If you see that StackdriverLogging is running, then you are running a recent agent version. To determine the specific version, see Getting the version.
    • If you see that fluentdwinsvc is running, then you should upgrade your agent to the latest version.
  4. Requires Administrator privileges: If any agent version is running, then send a test log message by running the following PowerShell commands:

    New-EventLog   -LogName Application -Source "Test Source"
    Write-EventLog -LogName Application -Source "Test Source" -EntryType Information -EventID 1 -Message "Testing 123 Testing."

Find your test message

After sending a test message, look for it in the Logs Explorer:

Go to the Logs Explorer

  1. At the top of the page, choose the project containing your VM instance:

    • For Compute Engine VM instances, choose the Google Cloud project that contains the VM instance.
    • For Amazon EC2 VM instances, choose the AWS connector project that links your AWS account to Google Cloud services.
  2. In the windows tabs, choose the resource for your VM instance:

    • For Compute Engine, choose GCE VM Instance.
    • For Amazon EC2, choose AWS EC2 Instance.
    • Select syslog (Linux), (Windows), or All logs.
  3. You should see a log entry with your test message. If so, then the Logging agent is operating correctly.

Verify Compute Engine credentials

For a Compute Engine VM instance to run the agent without private-key credentials, the instance must have suitable access scopes and the service account identity being used by the instance must have suitable IAM permissions.

When you create a VM instance, the default scope and service account settings are sufficient to run the agents. Very old instances, or instances for which you have changed the default settings, might not have suitable credentials.

Failure to load default credentials

In case there are Could not load the default credentials failures in the Logging log file, this implies the agent may be failing to connect to the Compute Engine Metadata Server.

The error log looks like the following:

Starting google-fluentd 1.8.4: /opt/google-fluentd/embedded/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/googleauth-0.9.0/lib/googleauth/application_default.rb:74:in `get_application_default': Could not load the default credentials. Browse to (RuntimeError) for more information.

One potential cause to this is if the VM has custom proxy setup. To fix this, refer to the Proxy setup instruction to exclude the Compute Engine Metadata Server (, or from going through the proxy. If the error persists, then remove the default Compute Engine service account from the VM and re-add it.

Verify access scopes

To verify the access scopes, do the following:

  1. Open the Compute Engine > VM Instances page:

    Open the instances page

  2. Click the name of your VM instance. The detail page for your instance appears.

  3. In the Cloud API access scopes section, click Details to see the list of APIs. Look for the following entries:

    1. If you see "This instance has full API access to all Google Cloud Services," then your access scopes are adequate.
    2. If you see next to Stackdriver Logging API, an older name for the Cloud Logging API, that you have Write Only or Full permission, then your instance's access scopes are adequate for the Cloud Logging agent.
    3. If you see next to Stackdriver Monitoring API, an older name for the Cloud Monitoring API, that you have Write Only or Full permission, then your instance's access scopes are adequate for the Cloud Monitoring agent.

Correct the problem

If you do not have suitable access scopes in your Compute Engine instance, add the needed access scopes to your instance.

The following table shows the scopes relevant to the Logging and Monitoring agents:

Access scope Agent permissions Adequate for the Logging agent Adequate for the Monitoring agent

Verify default service account permission

Even if your Compute Engine VM instance's access scopes are adequate, your instance's default service account might not provide the right IAM permissions for the agent.

To verify the default service account permission, start by locating the default service account:

  1. Open the Compute Engine dashboard for your project:

    Open the Compute Engine Instances page

  2. Click the name of your VM instance. The detail page for your instance appears.

  3. Look for the Service account heading on the page. The default service account for the instance is listed. It might look like the following:

  4. Open the IAM & admin > IAM page for your project. The page heading is Permissions for project [PROJECT_NAME]:

    Open the IAM page

  5. Select View By: Principals. You should see a list of people, groups, and service accounts. In the Role column are the roles each principal has in your project.

  6. In the row for your instance's default service account, you should see one or more roles:

    • If you see Editor, that role is adequate for all the agents. Editor is the default role assigned to service accounts for Compute Engine.
    • If you see Logs Writer, that role is sufficient for the Logging agent. For other Logging roles that include the write permission, see Access Control for Cloud Logging.
    • If you see Monitoring Metric Writer, that role is sufficient for the Monitoring Agent. For other Monitoring roles that include the write permission, see Access Control for Cloud Monitoring.

Correct the problem

If your default service account does not have adequate roles, try editing the roles for your service account in the IAM & admin > IAM page. Add the proper Logging or Monitoring roles to authorize the agent(s): Logging > Logs Writer or Monitoring > Monitoring Metric Writer.

Verify private-key credentials

On Compute Engine VM instances, you can configure the agent to use a non-default service account that has the proper authorization. On AWS EC2 VM Instances, you must configure the agent to use such a service account.

To configure the agent this way, you must create private-key credentials for the designated service account and give those credentials to the agent.

  1. The agent looks for an environment variable, GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS, which holds the name of a file which contains the private-key credentials.
  2. If the environment variable is not present, then the agent will look for credentials in a default location:




  1. If the default location doesn't contain the credentials, the agent uses the application default credentials from metadata server.

The following information helps you diagnose private-key credentials problems:

  1. Is the private key in place?
  2. Is the private key still valid for the service account?
  3. Does the service account have the roles needed for the agent?

To verify that valid private-key credentials are installed on your VM instance, first verify that the credentials file exists in its expected location, and then verify that the information in the credentials file is valid.

Are the credentials present?

To see if private-key service account credentials are on your instance, run the following Linux commands on your instance:

sudo cat /etc/google/auth/application_default_credentials.json

If either command displays a file like the one shown below, then your instance might have valid private-key credentials. If both commands display a file, then the file denoted by GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS is used.

  "type": "service_account",
  "project_id": "[YOUR-PROJECT-ID]",
  "private_key_id": "[YOUR-PRIVATE-KEY-ID]",
  "private_key": "[YOUR-PRIVATE-KEY]",
  "client_id": "[YOUR-CLIENT-ID]",
  "auth_uri": "",
  "token_uri": "",
  "auth_provider_x509_cert_url": "{x509-cert-url}",
  "client_x509_cert_url": "{client-x509-cert-url}"

Discrepancies between credential configurations may cause the agent to use credentials different from what your service requires. For example, if you set a custom credential location in GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS in the login shell, but do not set that variable in the agent's service configuration, the service will look in the default location rather than your custom location.

To review or change your credentials environment variable, access or set GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS in /etc/default/google-fluentd.

If there are no credential files present, then see Adding credentials.

Are the credentials valid?

In the credentials file, project_id is your Google Cloud project, client_email identifies the service account in the project, and private_key_id identifies the private key in the service account. Match this information with what is shown in the IAM & Admin > Service accounts section of the Google Cloud console.

The credentials file is not valid if any of the following are true:

  • You are checking a Compute Engine instance, but the Google Cloud project in the credentials file is not the project that contains your instance.
  • You are checking an Amazon EC2 instance, but the Google Cloud project in the credentials file is not the connector project (named AWS Link...) for your AWS account.
  • The listed service account doesn't exist. It could have been deleted.
  • The listed service account doesn't have the right roles enabled: Logs Writer for the Cloud Logging agent and Monitoring Metric Writer for the Cloud Monitoring agent.
  • The private key doesn't exist. It could have been revoked.

Credentials can be revoked using the IAM & Admin > Service accounts section of the Google Cloud console. If valid credentials aren't present, see Adding credentials to replace the existing credentials or to add new ones.

If the service account is the correct one but the private key has been revoked, then you can create a new private key and copy it to your instance. See Creating service account keys.

Otherwise, you must create a new service account as described in the section Adding credentials.

Verify Log Exclusion queries

View your current exclusion queries to ensure that the logs you are looking for are not accidentally excluded.

Verify Firewall

To see if your instance has access to, run the following Linux command on your instance:

curl -sSL '$discovery/rest?version=v2' | head

The command can take some time to finish when the firewall blocks egress traffic. Sample output that indicates a firewall issue:

curl: (7) Failed to connect to 2607:f8b0:4001:c03::5f: Network is unreachable

Visit Firewall Rules for information on how to set up egress traffic.

Reinstall the agent

Installing the most recent version of the agent can solve many problems:

Other common issues

The following table lists some common problems that you may encounter with the Cloud Logging agent and tells you how to fix them.

On Linux, the Logging agent records errors in /var/log/google-fluentd/google-fluentd.log. On Windows, the Logging agent records errors in C:\Program Files (x86)\Stackdriver\LoggingAgent\fluentd.log (starting at version v1-9). The error class Google::APIClient::ClientError indicates there is a problem with permissions or API access.

You may start seeing errors after the agent has been running successfully. For example, someone might have revoked the required permissions from your project or your VM instance.

Error Cause Solution
The agent's installer on Windows fails to run You might have downloaded the installer to a system directory. Move the installer to a non-system directory, such as C:\Users\[USERID]\.
Project has not enabled the API You have not enabled the Cloud Logging API in your project. Go to the APIs console and change the status of the Cloud Logging API to ON.
Request had invalid credentials
Unable to fetch access token (no scopes configured?)
Your VM instance does not have suitable credentials. If you are using Amazon EC2, then you must install credentials on your VM instances before installing the agent. See Authorize the Logging agent to install credentials.
Authorization failed Your private-key authorization credentials for the Logging agent are not configured correctly. See Verifying private key credentials.
The caller does not have permission The service account used for authorization in your project has insufficient permissions. It might be the default service account used within Compute Engine or App Engine, or it might be a user-defined service account used for private key authorization. The account must have the role of Editor. Change the permission of the service account in your project's IAM page. If necessary, you can modify the access scope for an existing VM using the Changing the service account and access scopes for an instance procedures.
Cannot obtain project ID The Cloud Logging agent failed to get the project ID from a service account's private key credentials file. To add or override a project ID for the agent, edit the agent's configuration file, /etc/google-fluentd/google-fluentd.conf, on your VM instance. In the <match **> section, add the following line:
project_id [YOUR_PROJECT_ID]
Otherwise, see Authorize the Logging agent to fix or replace the credentials.
Window Logging agent stops ingesting event logs from some channels The Logging agent might silently fail in ingesting event logs from certain channels, even though it is still running and ingesting agent logs and event logs from other channels. The reason is that windows_eventlog plugin has some issues as mentioned in this presentation. Using windows_eventlog2 resolves this issue. Note: The data format of the windows_eventlog2 plugin is not backward-compatible with the windows_eventlog plugin. If there are any BigQuery or Google Cloud Storage exports pipelines that are set up for these logs, they need to be adjusted accordingly. See this log entries comparison provided by windows_eventlog and windows_eventlog2. To use windows_eventlog2, you must first stop the Logging agent and then replace the configuration file with one similar to this sample config file. Finally, start the Logging agent.
Logging agent stops ingesting logs in the presence of logrotate The Logging agent may lose track of where it is in the input files when logrotate is set up with the copytruncate setting. It's best to use the nocopytruncate setting to ensure that logrotate moves the files instead of truncating them. If you want to keep the copytruncate setting, the workaround is to restart the agent periodically. Or, you could use the postrotate setting to restart the agent.
error_class=Errno::EADDRINUSE error="Address already in use - bind(2) for" There are multiple Logging agent instances running on the VM. Using ps -aux | grep "/usr/sbin/google-fluentd" to show running agent processes (there should be only two: one supervisor and one worker), and sudo netstat -nltp | grep :24231 to show running processes that occupies the port. Kill older instances as seen fit.
Logging agent fails to start due to errors from lib/fluent/config/types.rb The Logging agent config uses a regex parser section that has malformed regex, resulting in an invalid subexp call and errors like Starting google-fluentd 1.8.6: /opt/google-fluentd/embedded/lib/ruby/gems/2.6.0/gems/fluentd-1.11.2/lib/fluent/config/types.rb:92: warning: invalid subexp call. Locate and fix the malformed regex in the agent configuration file. Tip: search for regex or parse.

Limitation on log throughput

The maximum log throughput that the Logging agent can process is CPU bounded. CPU usage tends to grow when the log throughput grows. But the agent, with the default configuration, can use up to only one CPU core. So when the log throughput spikes, the agent might hit a CPU usage limit. If these spikes are just temporary, the Logging agent buffers the logs and later catches up to eventually process them. If the log throughput consistently stays high, the logs might overflow the buffer and eventually are lost.

Typically, when each log entry is 1000 byte raw text and contains no additional format processing, the Logging agent hits the one core CPU limit at about 5,500 log entries per second. If the log entries require advanced processing, for example JSON or Regex parsing, the maximum log entries per second might be lower.

If you need higher log throughput, you could consider using the Ops Agent. On Linux, for log entries that are 1000 byte raw text and involve no additional processing, the Ops Agent can processes about 160,000 log entries per second.

Maximum log size exceeded

If one or more log entries exceeded the maximum size limit, then you might find entries in the fluentd logs similar to the following:

Dropping 1 log message(s) error_class="Google::Apis::ClientError" error="Invalid request"


Dropping 1 log message(s) error="3:Log entry with size 1000515 bytes exceeds maximum size of 112640 bytes" error_code="3"

To resolve this error, trim your log entries so that they don't exceed the maximum size limit. For example, the following sample code trims logs with tag mytag, with the data in the field message:

# Cloud Logging only supports log entries that are up to 256 KiB in size.
# Trim the entries to just under that size to avoid dropping them.
<filter [MY_TAG]>
  @type record_transformer
  enable_ruby true
    message ${record['message'].length > 256000 ? "[Trimmed]#{record['message'][0..256000]}..." : record['message']}

Logs are duplicated

LogEntry.insertID is added in the processing pipeline within the agent. If insertID is different among the duplicate logs, this indicates the logs are tailed from the log files multiple times. This could happen in the presence of log rotation, or when the pos file is missing or corrupted. To reduce the chance of this issue, ensure the position files for any in_tail input are not configured to be in the /var/log folder or any other folders that may have log rotation enabled.

The logging pipeline also relies on the LogEntry.timestamp field to de-duplicate logs. Make sure the actual timestamp of the log entry is parsed properly. If Fluentd is not set up to parse the original timestamp from the log entry, then Fluentd uses the time when it processes the log entry. So if the input is read multiple times, even though the timestamp in the log line is the same, Fluentd may treat them as different log entries with different timestamps.

Repeated Audit log errors: Data points cannot be written more than 24h in the past

There is a known issue affecting versions 1.8.5 through 1.9.3 (inclusive) which causes logs like the following to appear repeatedly in Data Access audit logs, when the agent has been running for over 24 hours:

Field timeSeries[0].points[0].interval.end_time had an invalid value of "2021-10-20T20:16:34.010866-07:00": Data points cannot be written more than 24h in the past.

The solution is to upgrade your agent to 1.9.4 or later.

Unicode characters in logs get replaced by spaces or '�'

By default, the in_tail input expects the input files to be ASCII encoded, so it replaces any non-ASCII character by a space. To actually ingest UTF-8 encoded files, you need to supply two options in the in_tail configuration:

  @type tail

  encoding UTF-8
  from_encoding UTF-8

Both options are necessary. If only the encoding option is supplied, non-ASCII characters in the ingested logs will be replaced by '�'.

Removed agent reported by Google Cloud console as installed

After you uninstall the agent, the Google Cloud console might take up to one hour to report this change.

Logging agent doesn't appear in Windows Uninstall a program list

To uninstall the Logging agent when it isn't listed in the Windows Control Panel's Uninstall a program list, run uninstall.exe from the directory where you installed it.