Upgrading Loki


Every attempt is made to keep Loki backwards compatible, such that upgrades should be low risk and low friction.

Unfortunately Loki is software and software is hard and sometimes things are not as easy as we want them to be.

On this page we will document any upgrade issues/gotchas/considerations we are aware of.

Master / Unreleased

IMPORTANT: results_cache.max_freshness removed from YAML config

The max_freshness config from results_cache has been removed in favour of another flag called max_cache_freshness_per_query in limits_config which has the same effect. If you happen to have results_cache.max_freshness set please use limits_config.max_cache_freshness_per_query YAML config instead.

Important: Roll out ingesters before queriers when using BoltDB-Shipper

Ingesters now expose a new RPC method that queriers use when the index type is boltdb-shipper. Queriers generally roll out faster than ingesters, so if new queriers query older ingesters using the new RPC, the queries would fail. To avoid any query downtime during the upgrade, rollout ingesters before queriers.


Important: Ksonnet port changed and removed NET_BIND_SERVICE capability from Docker image

In 1.5.0 we changed the Loki user to not run as root which created problems binding to port 80. To address this we updated the docker image to add the NET_BIND_SERVICE capability to the loki process which allowed Loki to bind to port 80 as a non root user, so long as the underlying system allowed that linux capability.

This has proved to be a problem for many reasons and in PR 2294 the capability was removed.

It is now no longer possible for the Loki to be started with a port less than 1024 with the published docker image.

The default for Helm has always been port 3100, and Helm users should be unaffect unless they changed the default.

Ksonnet users however should closely check their configuration, in PR 2294 the loki port was changed from 80 to 3100

IMPORTANT: If you run Loki in microservices mode, special rollout instructions

A new ingester GRPC API has been added allowing to speed up metric queries, to ensure a rollout without query errors make sure you upgrade all ingesters first. Once this is done you can then proceed with the rest of the deployment, this is to ensure that queriers won’t look for an API not yet available.

If you roll out everything at once, queriers with this new code will attempt to query ingesters which may not have the new method on the API and queries will fail.

This will only affect reads(queries) and not writes and only for the duration of the rollout.

IMPORTANT: Scrape config changes to both Helm and Ksonnet will affect labels created by Promtail

PR 2091 Makes several changes to the promtail scrape config:

This is triggered by https://github.com/grafana/jsonnet-libs/pull/261

The above PR changes the instance label to be actually unique within
a scrape config. It also adds a pod and a container target label
so that metrics can easily be joined with metrics from cAdvisor, KSM,
and the Kubelet.

This commit adds the same to the Loki scrape config. It also removes
the container_name label. It is the same as the container label
and was already added to Loki previously. However, the
container_name label is deprecated and has disappeared in K8s 1.16,
so that it will soon become useless for direct joining.


The following label have been changed in both the Helm and Ksonnet Promtail scrape configs:

instance -> pod
container_name -> container

Experimental boltdb-shipper changes

PR 2166 now forces the index to have a period of exactly 24h:

Loki will fail to start with an error if the active schema or upcoming schema are not set to a period of 24h

You can add a new schema config like this:

    - from: 2020-01-01      <----- This is your current entry, date will be different
      store: boltdb-shipper
      object_store: aws
      schema: v11
        prefix: index_
        period: 168h
    - from: [INSERT FUTURE DATE HERE]   <----- Add another entry, set a future date
      store: boltdb-shipper
      object_store: aws
      schema: v11
        prefix: index_
        period: 24h   <--- This must be 24h

If you are not on schema: v11 this would be a good oportunity to make that change in the new schema config also.

NOTE If the current time in your timezone is after midnight UTC already, set the date one additional day forward.

There was also a significant overhaul to how boltdb-shipper internals, this should not be visible to a user but as this feature is experimental and under development bug are possible!

The most noticeable change if you look in the storage, Loki no longer updates an existing file and instead creates a new index file every 15mins, this is an important move to make sure objects in the object store are immutable and will simplify future operations like compaction and deletion.

Breaking CLI flags changes

The following CLI flags where changed to improve consistency, they are not expected to be widely used

- querier.query_timeout
+ querier.query-timeout

- distributor.extra-query-delay
+ querier.extra-query-delay

- max-chunk-batch-size
+ store.max-chunk-batch-size

- ingester.concurrent-flushed
+ ingester.concurrent-flushes

Loki Canary metric name changes

When adding some new features to the canary we realized the existing metrics were not compliant with standards for counter names, the following metrics have been renamed:

loki_canary_total_entries               ->      loki_canary_entries_total
loki_canary_out_of_order_entries        ->      loki_canary_out_of_order_entries_total
loki_canary_websocket_missing_entries   ->      loki_canary_websocket_missing_entries_total
loki_canary_missing_entries             ->      loki_canary_missing_entries_total
loki_canary_unexpected_entries          ->      loki_canary_unexpected_entries_total
loki_canary_duplicate_entries           ->      loki_canary_duplicate_entries_total
loki_canary_ws_reconnects               ->      loki_canary_ws_reconnects_total
loki_canary_response_latency            ->      loki_canary_response_latency_seconds

Ksonnet Changes

In production/ksonnet/loki/config.libsonnet the variable storage_backend used to have a default value of 'bigtable,gcs'. This has been changed to providing no default and will error if not supplied in your environment jsonnet, here is an example of what you should add to have the same behavior as the default (namespace and cluster should already be defined):

_config+:: {
    namespace: 'loki-dev',
    cluster: 'us-central1',
    storage_backend: 'gcs,bigtable',

Defaulting to gcs,bigtable was confusing for anyone using ksonnet with other storage backends as it would manifest itself with obscure bigtable errors.


Note: The required upgrade path outlined for version 1.4.0 below is still true for moving to 1.5.0 from any release older than 1.4.0 (e.g. 1.3.0->1.5.0 needs to also look at the 1.4.0 upgrade requirements).

Breaking config changes!

Loki 1.5.0 vendors Cortex v1.0.0 (congratulations!), which has a massive list of changes.

While changes in the command line flags affect Loki as well, we usually recommend people to use configuration file instead.

Cortex has done lot of cleanup in the configuration files, and you are strongly urged to take a look at the annotated diff for config file before upgrading to Loki 1.5.0.

Following fields were removed from YAML configuration completely: claim_on_rollout (always true), normalise_tokens (always true).

Test Your Config

To see if your config needs to change, one way to quickly test is to download a 1.5.0 (or newer) binary from the release page

Then run the binary providing your config file ./loki-linux-amd64 -config.file=myconfig.yaml

If there are configs which are no longer valid you will see errors immediately:

./loki-linux-amd64 -config.file=loki-local-config.yaml
failed parsing config: loki-local-config.yaml: yaml: unmarshal errors:
  line 35: field dynamodbconfig not found in type aws.StorageConfig

Referencing the list of diffs I can see this config changed:

-  dynamodbconfig:
+  dynamodb:

Also several other AWS related configs changed and would need to udpate those as well.

Loki Docker Image User and File Location Changes

To improve security concerns, in 1.5.0 the Docker container no longer runs the loki process as root and instead the process runs as user loki with UID 10001 and GID 10001

This may affect people in a couple ways:

Loki Port

If you are running Loki with a config that opens a port number above 1024 (which is the default, 3100 for HTTP and 9095 for GRPC) everything should work fine in regards to ports.

If you are running Loki with a config that opens a port number less than 1024 Linux normally requires root permissions to do this, HOWEVER in the Docker container we run setcap cap_net_bind_service=+ep /usr/bin/loki

This capability lets the loki process bind to a port less than 1024 when run as a non root user.

Not every environment will allow this capability however, it’s possible to restrict this capability in linux. If this restriction is in place, you will be forced to run Loki with a config that has HTTP and GRPC ports above 1024.


Please note the location Loki is looking for files with the provided config in the docker image has changed

In 1.4.0 and earlier the included config file in the docker container was using directories:


In 1.5.0 this has changed:


This will mostly affect anyone using docker-compose or docker to run Loki and are specifying a volume to persist storage.

There are two concerns to track here, one is the correct ownership of the files and the other is making sure your mounts updated to the new location.

One possible upgrade path would look like this:

If I were running Loki with this command docker run -d --name=loki --mount source=loki-data,target=/tmp/loki -p 3100:3100 grafana/loki:1.4.0

This would mount a docker volume named loki-data to the /temp/loki folder which is where Loki will persist the index and chunks folder in 1.4.0

To move to 1.5.0 I can do the following (please note that your container names and paths and volumes etc may be different):

docker stop loki
docker rm loki
docker run --rm --name="loki-perm" -it --mount source=loki-data,target=/mnt ubuntu /bin/bash
cd /mnt
chown -R 10001:10001 ./*
docker run -d --name=loki --mount source=loki-data,target=/loki -p 3100:3100 grafana/loki:1.5.0

Notice the change in the target=/loki for 1.5.0 to the new data directory location specified in the included Loki config file.

The intermediate step of using an ubuntu image to change the ownership of the Loki files to the new user might not be necessary if you can easily access these files to run the chown command directly. That is if you have access to /var/lib/docker/volumes or if you mounted to a different local filesystem directory, you can change the ownership directly without using a container.

Loki Duration Configs

If you get an error like:

 ./loki-linux-amd64-1.5.0 -log.level=debug -config.file=/etc/loki/config.yml
failed parsing config: /etc/loki/config.yml: not a valid duration string: "0"

This is because of some underlying changes that no longer allow durations without a unit.

Unfortunately the yaml parser doesn’t give a line number but it’s likely to be one of these two:


  retention_deletes_enabled: false

Promtail Config Changes

The underlying backoff library used in promtail had a config change which wasn’t originally noted in the release notes:

If you get this error:

Unable to parse config: /etc/promtail/promtail.yaml: yaml: unmarshal errors:
  line 3: field maxbackoff not found in type util.BackoffConfig
  line 4: field maxretries not found in type util.BackoffConfig
  line 5: field minbackoff not found in type util.BackoffConfig

The new values are:



Loki 1.4.0 vendors Cortex v0.7.0-rc.0 which contains several breaking config changes.

One such config change which will affect Loki users:

In the cache_config:

defaul_validity has changed to default_validity

Also in the unlikely case you were configuring your schema via arguments and not a config file, this is no longer supported. This is not something we had ever provided as an option via docs and is unlikely anyone is doing, but worth mentioning.

The other config changes should not be relevant to Loki.

Required Upgrade Path

The newly vendored version of Cortex removes code related to de-normalized tokens in the ring. What you need to know is this:

Note: A “shared ring” as mentioned below refers to using consul or etcd for values in the following config:

  # The backend storage to use for the ring. Supported values are
  # consul, etcd, inmemory
  store: <string>
  • Running without using a shared ring (inmemory): No action required
  • Running with a shared ring and upgrading from v1.3.0 -> v1.4.0: No action required
  • Running with a shared ring and upgrading from any version less than v1.3.0 (e.g. v1.2.0) -> v1.4.0: ACTION REQUIRED

There are two options for upgrade if you are not on version 1.3.0 and are using a shared ring:

  • Upgrade first to v1.3.0 BEFORE upgrading to v1.4.0


Note: If you are running a single binary you only need to add this flag to your single binary command.

  1. Add the following configuration to your ingesters command: -ingester.normalise-tokens=true
  2. Restart your ingesters with this config
  3. Proceed with upgrading to v1.4.0
  4. Remove the config option (only do this after everything is running v1.4.0)

Note: It’s also possible to enable this flag via config file, see the docs

If using the Helm Loki chart:

  ingester.normalise-tokens: true

If using the Helm Loki-Stack chart:

    ingester.normalise-tokens: true

What will go wrong

If you attempt to add a v1.4.0 ingester to a ring created by Loki v1.2.0 or older which does not have the commandline argument -ingester.normalise-tokens=true (or configured via config file), the v1.4.0 ingester will remove all the entries in the ring for all the other ingesters as it cannot “see” them.

This will result in distributors failing to write and a general ingestion failure for the system.

If this happens to you, you will want to rollback your deployment immediately. You need to remove the v1.4.0 ingester from the ring ASAP, this should allow the existing ingesters to re-insert their tokens. You will also want to remove any v1.4.0 distributors as they will not understand the old ring either and will fail to send traffic.