How to View Application Logs in Kubernetes

In a Kubernetes cluster, effectively managing and troubleshooting applications is crucial for maintaining their performance and stability. One essential aspect of application monitoring is viewing the logs generated by your application running within Kubernetes.

In this article, we will explore different methods to view application logs in Kubernetes, allowing you to gain insights into your application’s behavior and diagnose any issues that may arise.

1. Using kubectl Logs Command:

The simplest way to view application logs in Kubernetes is by using the kubectl logs command. This command allows you to retrieve the logs generated by a specific container within a pod. Follow these steps to view the logs:

Step 1: List the pods in the current namespace:

kubectl get pods

Step 2: Identify the pod containing your application:

kubectl logs <pod-name>

Replace <pod-name> with the name of the pod running your application. Running the above command will display the logs generated by the application container within the selected pod. You can further refine the logs by specifying the container name if there are multiple containers within the pod.

2. Using kubectl Describe Command:

The kubectl describe command provides more detailed information about a Kubernetes resource, including events and logs. While it doesn’t provide a complete log stream like the kubectl logs command, it can be useful in certain scenarios.

To view logs using kubectl describe, follow these steps:

Step 1: List the pods in the current namespace:

kubectl get pods

Step 2: Identify the pod containing your application:

kubectl describe pod <pod-name>

Replace <pod-name> with the name of the pod running your application. The command will display various details about the pod, including recent events and logs.

3. Using Logging Aggregators:

In more complex environments, using dedicated logging aggregators can provide a centralized and comprehensive view of your application logs. These aggregators collect logs from multiple sources, including Kubernetes pods, and provide advanced features such as log search, filtering, and visualization.

Popular logging aggregators commonly used with Kubernetes include Elasticsearch, Fluentd, and Logstash (ELK stack), as well as cloud-native solutions like Google Cloud Logging, Amazon CloudWatch Logs, and Azure Monitor. These tools allow you to configure log collection from Kubernetes pods and provide a unified interface to explore and analyze your application logs.

To utilize logging aggregators, you typically need to deploy their agents or integrations within your Kubernetes cluster and configure them to collect logs from the desired pods or containers.

4. Using Application-Level Logging Frameworks:

Many applications generate logs through their own logging frameworks or libraries. These frameworks often provide additional features like log levels, structured logging, and custom log outputs. By integrating an application-level logging framework into your application, you can have more control over the log format and content.

Some popular logging frameworks for Kubernetes applications include Logback, Log4j, and Winston. These frameworks allow you to define log configuration files, specify log levels, and direct log output to different targets, including files or external logging services.


Viewing application logs is essential for monitoring and troubleshooting applications running in Kubernetes. By using the kubectl logs and kubectl describe commands, you can quickly access the logs generated by your application containers within pods. For more advanced log management and analysis, consider leveraging logging aggregators or application-level logging frameworks. Regularly reviewing application logs helps you gain insights into your application’s behavior, diagnose issues, and ensure optimal performance and reliability within your Kubernetes cluster.