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traffic-accounting: Monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic metrics in realtime for NGINX


You can install this module in any RHEL-based distribution, including, but not limited to:

  • RedHat Enterprise Linux 7, 8, 9
  • CentOS 7, 8, 9
  • AlmaLinux 8, 9
  • Rocky Linux 8, 9
  • Amazon Linux 2 and Amazon Linux 2023
yum -y install
yum -y install nginx-module-traffic-accounting

Enable the module by adding the following at the top of /etc/nginx/nginx.conf:

load_module modules/;

This document describes nginx-module-traffic-accounting v2.0.4 released on May 16 2022.

Monitor the incoming and outgoing traffic metrics in realtime for NGINX.

A realtime traffic and status code monitor solution for NGINX, which needs less memory and cpu than other realtime log analyzing solutions. Useful for traffic accounting based on NGINX config logic (by location / server / user-defined-variables).

FOSSA Status Financial Contributors on Open Collective


Realtime log analysis solutions, which requires multiple machines for storage and analysis, are too heavy for application monitoring.

An cost-effective solution is in need to monitor the traffic metrics/status of application requests. This solution should be accurate, sensitive, robust, light weight enough, and not affected by traffic peaks.

How it works?

This module keeps a list of metrics identified by accounting_id in its context.

When a new request hits the server, the module will try to find its accounting_id, calculate statistics, and aggregate them into the corresponding metrics by accounting_id.

For each time period (defined by interval), a timer event is triggered, those metrics are rotated and exported to log files or sent to remote log servers.


Dashboard - Visualize with Grafana Accounting Dashboard


Edit your nginx.conf.


http {
    # turn on accounting function
    accounting  on;
    accounting_log  logs/http-accounting.log;
    server {

        accounting_id  $http_host;  # set accounting_id string by variable

        location / {
            accounting_id  accounting_id_str;  # set accounting_id string by location


        location /api {
            accounting_id  API_PC;   # for pc

            if ($http_user_agent ~* '(Android|webOS|iPhone|iPod|BlackBerry)') {
                accounting_id  API_MOBILE;   # for mobile





syntax: accounting on | off

default: accounting off

context: http


syntax: accounting_log \ [level]

default: -

context: http

Configures logging.

Support both local file path, or stderr, or syslog:. The second parameter is the log level. For more details of supported params, refer to this page from

If not specified, accounting log will be written to /dev/log.


syntax: accounting_id \

default: accounting_id default

context: http, server, location, if in location

Sets the accounting_id string by user defined variable.

This string is used to determine which metrics a request/session should be aggregated to.


syntax: accounting_interval \

default: accounting_interval 60

context: http

Specifies the reporting interval. Defaults to 60 seconds.


syntax: accounting_perturb on | off

default: accounting_perturb off

context: http

Randomly staggers the reporting interval by 20% from the usual time.


This module can be configured to writes metrics to local file, remote log server or local syslog device.

Open-source log-aggregation software such as logstash also support syslog input, which will help you establish a central log server. See samples/logstash/ for examples. [Recommended]

To collect logs with local syslog, refer Lax/ngx_http_accounting_module-utils to for sample configuration / utils.

docker / docker-compose

To demonstrate with docker-compose, run

docker-compose build
docker-compose up -d

Open Grafana (address: http://localhost:3000) in your browser.

Create and configurate elasticsearch datasource with options:

Type: elasticsearch
URL: http://elasticsearch:9200
Version: 5.6+
Min time interval: 1m

Then import accounting dashboard from samples/accounting-dashboard-grafana.json.

Metrics log format

2018/05/14 14:18:18 [notice] 5#0: pid:5|from:1526278638|to:1526278659|accounting_id:HTTP_ECHO_HELLO|requests:4872|bytes_in:438480|bytes_out:730800|latency_ms:0|upstream_latency_ms:0|200:4872
2018/05/14 14:18:18 [notice] 5#0: pid:5|from:1526278638|to:1526278659|accounting_id:INDEX|requests:4849|bytes_in:421863|bytes_out:1857167|latency_ms:0|upstream_latency_ms:0|301:4849

## Stream
2018/05/14 14:18:22 [notice] 5#0: pid:5|from:1526278642|to:1526278659|accounting_id:TCP_PROXY_ECHO|sessions:9723|bytes_in:860343|bytes_out:2587967|latency_ms:4133|upstream_latency_ms:3810|200:9723

Each line of the log output contains metrics for a particular accounting_id, which contains a list of key-values.

key name meanings of values
pid pid of nginx worker process
from / to metric was collected from the period between these timestamps
accounting_id identify for the accounting unit, set by accounting_id directive
requests count of total requests processed in current period (HTTP module only)
sessions count of total sessions processed in current period (Stream module only)
bytes_in total bytes received by the server
bytes_out total bytes send out by the server
latency_ms sum of all requests/sessions' $session_time, in millisecond
upstream_latency_ms sum of $upstream_response_time, in millisecond
200 / 302 / 400 / 404 / 500 ... count of requests/sessions with status code 200/302/400/404/500, etc. Notice the differences between http codes and stream codes

Configuration example

http {
  accounting        on;
  accounting_log    logs/http-accounting.log;
  accounting_id     $hostname;


stream {
  accounting        on;
  accounting_log    logs/stream-accounting.log;
  accounting_id     $hostname;



Visualization with Kibana or Grafana is easy. See samples/ for examples.


  • master : main development branch.
  • tag v0.1 or v2-freeze-20110526 : legacy release. works with nginx version(0.7.xx, 0.8.xx), nginx 0.9 is not tested. didn't work with nginx above 1.0.x.



FOSSA Status


You may find additional configuration tips and documentation for this module in the GitHub repository for nginx-module-traffic-accounting.