Bound Loggers#

The centerpiece of structlog that you will interact with most is called a bound logger.

It’s what you get back from structlog.get_logger() and it’s called a bound logger because you can bind key-value pairs to it.

As far as structlog is concerned, it consists of three parts:

  1. A context dictionary that you can bind key-value pairs to. This dictionary is merged into each log entry that is logged from this logger specifically.

    You can inspect a context of a bound logger by calling structlog.get_context() on it.

  2. A list of processors that are called on every log entry. Each processor receives the return value of its predecessor passed as an argument.

    This list is usually set using Configuration.

  3. And finally a logger that it’s wrapping. This wrapped logger is responsible for the output of the log entry that has been returned by the last processor. This can be standard library’s logging.Logger like in the image above, but absolutely doesn’t have to: By default it’s structlog’s PrintLogger.

    This wrapped logger also is usually set using Configuration.


Bound loggers themselves do not do any I/O themselves.

All they do is manage the context and proxy log calls to a wrapped logger.


To manipulate the context dictionary, a bound logger can:

In any case, the original bound logger or its context are never mutated. They always return a copy of the bound logger with a new context that reflects your changes.

This part of the API is defined in the typing.Protocol called structlog.typing.BindableLogger. The protocol is marked typing.runtime_checkable() which means that you can check an object for being a bound logger using isinstance(obj, structlog.typing.BindableLogger).


Finally, a bound logger also indirectly exposes the logging methods of the wrapped logger. By default, that’s a FilteringBoundLogger that is wrapping a PrintLogger. They both share the set of log methods that’s present in the standard library: debug(), info(), warning(), error(), and critical().

Whenever you call one of those methods on the bound logger, it will:

  1. Make a copy of its context – now it becomes the event dictionary,

  2. Add the keyword arguments of the method call to the event dict.

  3. Add a new key event with the value of the first positional argument of the method call to the event dict.

  4. Run the processors successively on the event dict. Each processor receives the result of its predecessor.

  5. Finally, it takes the result of the final processor and calls the method with the same name – that got called on the bound logger – on the wrapped logger.

    For flexibility, the final processor can return either a string[1] that is passed directly as a positional parameter, or a tuple (args, kwargs) that are passed as wrapped_logger.log_method(*args, **kwargs).

Step-by-Step Example#

Assuming you’ve left the default configuration and have:

import structlog

logger = structlog.get_logger()

log = logger.bind(foo="bar")

Now log is a bound logger of type FilteringBoundLogger (but in the default config there’s no filtering). log’s context is {"foo": "bar"} and its wrapped logger is a structlog.PrintLogger.

Now if you call"Hello, %s!", "world", number=42) the following happens:

  1. "world" gets interpolated into "Hello, %s!", making the event “Hello, world!”[2].

  2. The bound logger’s context gets copied and the key-value pairs from the info call are added to it. It becomes an event dict and is {"foo": "bar", "number": 42} now.

  3. The event from step 1 is added too. The event dict is {"foo": "bar", "number": 42, "event": "Hello, world!"} now.

  4. The event dict is fed into the processor chain. In this case the processors add a timestamp and the log level name to the event dict.

    Before it hits the last processor, the event dict looks something like {"foo": "bar", "number": 42, "event": "Hello, world!", "level": "info", "timestamp": "2022-10-13 16:29:27"} now.

    The last processor is and renders the event dict into a colorful string[3].

  5. Finally, the wrapped logger’s (a PrintLogger) info() method is called with that string.

Filtering by Log Levels#

Filtering based on log levels can be done in a processor very easily[4], however that means unnecessary performance overhead through function calls. We care a lot about performance and that’s why structlog’s default bound logger class implements level-filtering as close to the users as possible: in the bound logger’s logging methods before even creating an event dict and starting the processor chain.

structlog.make_filtering_bound_logger() allows you to create a bound logger whose log methods with a log level beneath the configured one consist of a plain return None.

Here’s an example:

>>> import structlog
>>> logger = structlog.get_logger()
>>> logger.debug("hi!")
2022-10-15 11:39:03 [debug    ] hi!
>>> import logging
>>> structlog.configure(wrapper_class=structlog.make_filtering_bound_logger(logging.INFO))
>>> logger.debug("hi!")
# no output!

In this example, we first log out using the default logger that doesn’t filter at all. Then we change the configuration to filtering at the info level and try again: no log output!

Let’s have a look at the debug method:

>>> import inspect
>>> print(inspect.getsource(logger.debug))
def _nop(self: Any, event: str, **kw: Any) -> Any:
    return None

This is as effective as it gets and usually as flexible as the vast majority of users need.


structlog uses the constants from logging, but does not share any code. Passing 20 instead of logging.INFO would have worked too.

Wrapping Loggers Manually#

In practice, you won’t be instantiating bound loggers yourself. You will configure structlog as explained in the next chapter and then just call structlog.get_logger().

However, in some rare cases you may not want to do that. For example because you don’t control how you get the logger that you would like to wrap (famous example: Celery). For that times there is the structlog.wrap_logger() function that can be used to wrap a logger – optionally without any global state (i.e. configuration):

>>> import structlog
>>> class CustomPrintLogger:
...     def msg(self, message):
...         print(message)
>>> def proc(logger, method_name, event_dict):
...     print("I got called with", event_dict)
...     return repr(event_dict)
>>> log = structlog.wrap_logger(
...     CustomPrintLogger(),
...     wrapper_class=structlog.BoundLogger,
...     processors=[proc],
... )
>>> log2 = log.bind(x=42)
>>> log == log2
>>> log.msg("hello world")
I got called with {'event': 'hello world'}
{'event': 'hello world'}
>>> log2.msg("hello world")
I got called with {'x': 42, 'event': 'hello world'}
{'x': 42, 'event': 'hello world'}
>>> log3 = log2.unbind("x")
>>> log == log3
>>> log3.msg("nothing bound anymore", foo="but you can structure the event too")
I got called with {'foo': 'but you can structure the event too', 'event': 'nothing bound anymore'}
{'foo': 'but you can structure the event too', 'event': 'nothing bound anymore'}