Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (aka ELK Stack) are very powerful tools for storing, analyzing, and visualizing log data in a centralized location.  That being said, it can be quite the headache to actually get up and running if it is your first experience with it.  Having spent the time pouring over the documentation provided by Elastic, which I must say is quite impressive, and struggling through getting the ELK stack up and running I figured I would make a step-by-step.  Some things to note before we get started:

  • This will be for the current most recent version 6.3.2 released on July 24, 2018.
  • I will set up an nginx reverse proxy to access Kibana.
  • will not be including SSL setup.
  • I will be installing all components of the stack with DEB packages.
  • Java 8 is required prior to ELK setup.  See my post Install Java JDK/JRE on Ubuntu Server without APT.
    • Java 10 is not compatible with the Logstash 6.3.2.  I learned this the hard way, take my word for it.
  • I will be showing BEATS configurations in a separate post.  This will be only the ELK stack setup.

I am not using APT repositories for anything because I have been burned by the upgrade process in the past with ELK, so I just manually upgrade as necessary.  Now, let’s get this thing started.

Install & Configure Elasticsearch

1.  Start by navigating to the Elastic downloads page and select Elasticsearch.

2.  Login to your Ubuntu box and download the DEB package.  I put it in tmp for easy cleanup.

3.  Now download the checksum and compare against your downloaded package.  It should return OK.

4.  Install Elasticsearch.

5.  Open the Elasticsearch config file found at /etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml and uncomment/edit the following settings.

This will configure your cluster name as my-cluster-name, your node (or server) as my-node-name, your data storage location as /var/lib/elasticsearch, your log location as /var/log/elasticsearch, and your host as localhost (  These are pretty default settings and I don’t see many reasons to change them, but do so if you wish.

6.  Restart/Reload the service, daemon, and enable the service.

7.  Test Elasticsearch.

Which should return:


Install & Configure Kibana

1.  Download Kibana DEB package from Elastic downloads page.

2.  Install Kibana.

3.  Open the Kibana config file found at /etc/kibana/kibana.yml and uncomment the following:

4.  Restart/Reload daemon, enable and start the service.


Install & Configure Nginx (Source)

1.  Install nginx.

2.  Setup user for basic authentication.

Enter a password for the user when prompted.

3.  Configure nginx by clearing /etc/nginx/sites-available/default and inputting the following:

This will configure nginx as a reverse-proxy for Kibana, while also requiring the username and password set up in step two.

4.  Test nginx configuration and restart service.


Install & Configure Logstash

1.  Download the Logstash DEB package from the Elastic downloads page.

2.  Install Logstash.

3.  Create the file /etc/logstash/conf.d/10-beats.conf and input the following:

This will configure logstash to listen for beats applications on port 5044 without requiring SSL.

4.  Create the file /etc/logstash/conf.d/50-output.conf and input the following:

This will configure logstash to output beats data to elasticsearch on this host to index which named is determined by specified variables.  In this case, the beats application name – date.  Ex. winlogbeat-2018.08.23.

5.  Test your Logstash configuration.

6.  Restart and enable Logstash service.


At this point you should now have a functional ELK server that will accept input from BEATS!