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A Complete Guide to Logging in Vercel

Eric Hu
Updated on November 23, 2023

Vercel is a cloud-based platform that simplifies the process of developing and deploying frontend web applications. With Vercel, you can create high-performance applications without the need for complex server management or infrastructure configuration, and it offers a seamless development experience.

One of the standout features of Vercel is its automatic scaling of web applications based on traffic, ensuring that your websites and applications remain speedy even during times of high traffic. As your application scales, you'll encounter more log data, but Vercel offers a range of monitoring and log analytics tools to help you quickly identify and resolve issues.

In this article, we'll cover the basics of logging with Vercel, including the various types of logs available, how to access them, and how to integrate external log management platforms to bypass Vercel's limitations.


Before you begin reading this article, please ensure that you have already signed up for a Vercel account and have installed Node.js Node.js and npm on your computer.

Setting up a demo app

For demonstration purposes, let's create a new Next.js project and deploy it to Vercel. Use the following command to initialize a new project:

npx create-next-app@latest --typescript

You will be prompted with a few questions where you must specify the project name, whether or not to enable experimental features, and so on.

Initialize Next.js project

Next, initialize this project as a new Git repository, and publish it to GitHub. From there, you can connect the repository to Vercel directly. To do this, you must create a new Vercel project and then import the Git repository you just created:

Import git repo

After that, you can add additional configurations to the project.

Configure project

Click Deploy and wait for the project to build. This could take several minutes to complete. After the build process is over, you should see the following success page.

Deploy success

Types of logs in Vercel

Vercel provides three distinct types of logs: build logs, runtime logs, and activity logs:

  1. Build logs: the logs generated during the application's build time are called build logs. They are created automatically and detail the actions taken during the build process. While each deployment's build logs are stored indefinitely, they will be truncated if the total size exceeds 4MB. Below is an example of what build logs look like:
   [14:04:29.077] Running build in San Francisco, USA (West) – sfo1
   [14:04:29.131] Cloning (Branch: main, Commit: ba81cb8)
   [14:04:29.997] Cloning completed: 866.116ms
   [14:04:30.802] Running "vercel build"
   [14:04:31.238] Vercel CLI 28.16.6
   [14:04:31.484] Installing dependencies...
   . . .
   [14:04:42.558] Serverless regions: Washington, D.C., USA
   [14:04:42.558] Deployed outputs in 2s
   [14:04:42.921] Build completed. Populating build cache...
   [14:04:46.621] Uploading build cache [66.90 MB]...
   [14:04:48.180] Build cache uploaded: 1.559s
  1. Runtime logs: they capture all the activity that occurs while your application is running. This includes HTTP requests,serverless function logs, edge middleware logs, and edge function logs. The logs provide detailed information on the application's performance and any errors or warnings that occur during runtime. Here is an example of what runtime logs would look like:
   2023-03-01T02:12:57.341Z  2023-03-01T02:12:57.362Z      a2f0b874-0e61-42b0-868f-68e2dd8c3c45    INFO    A log message.
   2023-03-01T02:12:57.341Z  Duration: 7.60 ms     Billed Duration: 8 ms   Memory Size: 1024 MB    Max Memory Used: 99 MB

To push runtime logs to Vercel, you can use the default Console module or popular JavaScript logging frameworks such as Pino or Winston. Vercel will automatically collect and store these logs for analysis.

  1. Activity logs track the actions and activities of your team members, including who performed an action and when it occurred. These logs provide detailed information such as the user who performed the action, the type of event, the account role, and the timestamp. Below is an example of an activity log record:
   jack added Development, Preview, Production Environment Variable LOGTAIL_SOURCE_TOKEN to Project vercel-nextjs

How to view Vercel logs

Vercel offers two convenient methods for checking log records. You can either use the Vercel CLI, or the web dashboard interface.

1. Using Vercel CLI

Vercel provides a command-line tool that allows you to retrieve logs and view them locally. To use this tool, you must first install vercel by executing the following command:

npm i -g vercel

Once the installation process is complete, you can check the version of the installed Vercel CLI by running the following command:

vercel --version
Vercel CLI 28.16.15

Next, run the following command to connect to a Vercel project:


If this is your first time using the Vercel CLI, you will be prompted to log in to your account. Once you've logged in, you'll be asked a series of questions. Follow the instructions and be sure to link to an existing project (i.e., the Vercel project you just created).

? Set up and deploy “~/web/<project_name>”? [Y/n] y
? Which scope do you want to deploy to? My Awesome Team
? Link to existing project? [y/N] y
? What’s the name of your existing project? <project_name>
🔗 Linked to <team_name>/<project_name> (created .vercel and added it to .gitignore)

To retrieve log records for a specific deployment, use the following command:

vercel logs <deployment_url>
Vercel CLI 28.16.7
> Fetched deployment "<deployment_url>" in <team_name> [299ms]
2023-02-27T19:04:29.077Z  Running build in San Francisco, USA (West) – sfo1
2023-02-27T19:04:29.131Z  Cloning<branch> (Branch: main, Commit: ba81cb8)
2023-02-27T19:04:29.997Z  Cloning completed: 866.116ms
2023-02-27T19:04:30.802Z  Running "vercel build"
2023-02-27T19:04:31.238Z  Vercel CLI 28.16.6
2023-02-27T19:04:31.484Z  Installing dependencies...
. . .

You will find the deployment URL on the Project page:

Deployment URL

Note that this command will only pull the build logs for the specified deployment. If you wish to view the corresponding runtime logs, you must add a --follow or -f flag so that vercel watches for additional log output.

vercel logs <deployment_url> -f

Our demo project comes with a sample function at https://<deployment_url>/api/hello. In a different terminal, send a few GET requests to this URL so that some runtime logs are generated:

curl 'https://<deployment_url>/api/hello'

Wait for a few minutes, and you should observe the following log record in the Vercel CLI:

2023-03-01T22:13:56.372Z  Duration: 39.85 ms    Billed Duration: 40 ms  Memory Size: 1024 MB    Max Memory Used: 100 MB

Besides the -f flag, there are several other useful options available for the vercel logs command, as shown below:

  • The -n flag is used to specify the number of log lines to output.
  vercel logs <deployment_url> -n 5
  Vercel CLI 28.16.7
  > Fetched deployment "" in eric-betterstack [381ms]
  2023-02-27T19:04:42.558Z  Deployed outputs in 2s
  2023-02-27T19:04:42.921Z  Build completed. Populating build cache...
  2023-02-27T19:04:46.621Z  Uploading build cache [66.90 MB]...
  2023-02-27T19:04:48.180Z  Build cache uploaded: 1.559s
  • The --output or -o flag is used to specify an output format, either short (default) or raw.
  vercel logs <deployment_url> -o raw
  vercel logs <deployment_url> --output=raw
  Vercel CLI 28.16.7
  > Fetched deployment "" in eric-betterstack [309ms]
  Running build in San Francisco, USA (West) – sfo1
  Cloning (Branch: main, Commit: ba81cb8)
  Cloning completed: 866.116ms
  • The --since flag is used to return logs only after a specific date, using the ISO 8601 format.
  vercel logs <deployment_url> --since 2019-09-04T07:05:43+00:00
  • The --until flag is used to return logs only up until a specific date, using the ISO 8601 format.
  vercel logs <deployment_url> --until 2022-10-08T09:12:31+00:00

2. Using the Vercel dashboard

To view logs through the Vercel dashboard, go to the project dashboard and click the View Build Logs button.

Project page

For the Build logs, you can see the timestamp and the log message. And you can also use the filter to show only the error or warning messages, which will be displayed in different colors.

Build logs

To view Runtime logs, you should click the Logs tab. You should observe several log records in the resulting page, and you can click any of them to view more details.

Runtime logs

It's important to note that runtime logs in Vercel are only stored for a maximum of 1 hour. If you need to store logs long-term, you will need to rely on a third-party log management platform, which we will discuss in the next section.

As for the Activity logs, you can find them by navigating to your team's homepage and selecting the Activity tab.

Activity logs

Enable Web Vitals metrics

Web Vitals Metrics is an application monitoring feature provided by Vercel. It collects real user metrics to estimate a score, letting you know how users actually experience your application.

You can enable this feature by going to DashboardAnalytics, and enable Performance Analytics:

enable performance analytics

Then you will be asked to redeploy the project, and after the build process is over, Vercel will start collecting performance performance data next time your application is visited.

web vitals

How to aggregate and centralize Vercel logs

While Vercel stores build logs and activity logs indefinitely, it does not offer long-term storage for runtime logs, which are only stored for a maximum of 1 hour. To store runtime logs long-term, you will need to send them to a different log management platform such as the ones offered on the Vercel marketplace.

We highly recommend using Logtail for managing your Vercel logs. It is a cloud-based solution that enables you to view, search, and analyze all of your logs in one place. Logtail allows you to set up alerts and notifications based on specific log events, so you can quickly identify and resolve issues as they arise. Furthermore, Logtail offers team collaboration features that enable different teams within your organization to collect insights that meet their unique requirements.

Vercel offers easy integration with Logtail. Head over to the Logtail integration page, and click Add Integration button.

Logtail integration

Choose the scope, and click Continue.

Choose scope

Choose which project you wish to add to Logtail.

Choose project

And lastly, add the integration.

Add integration

You will then be redirected to Logtail, where you need to confirm that you want Logtail to connect to Vercel.


Give Logtail a few seconds to set things up, and then you will be redirected to the integrations page. Click Configure to access Logtail.


At this point, new logs will be sent to Logtail for storage, viewing, and further analysis.

live tail

You may also opt to send the Web Vitals metrics to Logtail as well. Go back to the pages/_app.js file, and add the following code:

. . .
export { reportWebVitals } from '@logtail/next';

Redeploy the application, and then visit your app from a browser. You should start receiving Web Vitals metrics in Logtail.

web vitals in Logtail

Setting up configurable log drains

Vercel's configurable log drains enable you to send logs to any endpoint URL via the HTTP protocol, giving you far more options than the limited integrations available in the marketplace. With this feature, you can select log sources, log formats (either JSON or NDJSON), endpoint URLs, and even custom headers.

At the time of writing this article, the configurable log drains feature was still in beta and not yet available to the public. We will update this section as soon as the feature becomes available.


In this article, we covered the fundamentals of logging in Vercel, including the various types of logs available, how to view logs, and how to send logs to third-party platforms for long-term storage and analysis. We also provided a list of best practices for logging in Vercel to help you leverage the platform's full potential. It's worth noting that some of the logging features mentioned in this article are still in development, and we will update this guide as soon as they become available to the public. We hope you found this article useful.

Thank you for reading, and happy logging!

Author's avatar
Article by
Eric Hu
Eric is a technical writer with a passion for writing and coding, mainly in Python and PHP. He loves transforming complex technical concepts into accessible content, solidifying understanding while sharing his own perspective. He wishes his content can be of assistance to as many people as possible.
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