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Featured Article

Free tool for web traffic analysis

To optimize your web site, to see what is happening e.g. where visitors are coming from (refering web site, queries from search engines), how they navigate through your site (entry page, exit page) etc..
..
you need to analyze your site's traffic.

The traditional way is to take your web server's log file (For apache typically in /usr/local/apache/logs/access_log) and have it process once a week by a tool like the free wusage or commercial WebPosition Gold.

If you do not have this possibility e.g. you do not have access to this access_log file, or your web server does not log referrer urls, then you may look into installing one of the free counters on the web.

These counters typically require you to insert some javascript in each of your pages - at least into the start page. Every time a person visits one of your pages, the counter's javascript makes a request to the counting company's web server. They use their logs then to keep track of your data - most likely, they log directly into a database, because most of these services offer real-time statistics now.

I personally used to work with sitemeter.com for 5 years but recently discovered http://www.statcounter.com/ . The beauty of their service is that they offer many features that sitemeter would only offer to paying customers e.g. search engine query term analysis. Also they allow your 'counter' to be invisible. Every other company that I know of requires you to advertise them on your site (by having the counter visible and when visitors click on the counter, they are taken to the company's web site).

My overall conclusion is:

  • for small to medium size projects (I consider a few thousand pages still medium) I recommend a free service like www.statcounter.com. On the right side you'll see ads for such counters - just take a look at some of them.
  • if you cannot have the data going out of your control then wusage will do fine. In that situation you probably have your own web server with full control over it anyways.


Generated 16:02:26 on Aug 28, 2016