Website Statistics 4 of 5
External Web Site Statistics Solutions Server Log files must be secured just as web site code must be. They reside behind a username and password and generally are not published. So most statistics programs must either be installed on the server, OR the log files must be downloaded and run on a separate system through the statistics program. There is another method for generating reasonably accurate statistics, and that is to generate logs from something other than the server itself. Cookies and installed software both connect the end user?s computer activity to the stats log itself.

Utilizing those little hit counters that show up in the corner of your webpage are not the answer. First they slow down your page, second they broadcast your private usage data, third and most importantly, when they do not work properly, they leave your site with a red x or not working at all. Great for blogs, and some other things, but not an acceptable answer for watching a website traffic pattern.

That said let us discuss cookies statistics. These range from simple to complex, but are installed in the header of the webpage you build and installed via FTP. Each time the page is downloaded the cookie is run on the end users computer, this in turn adds one to the counters for all applicable hits. This allows for some useful setup solutions:
  1. tracking to be done live time just as logs
  2. Systems can be set up geographically apart
  3. avoids many of the caching issues that plague the webserver log file statistics
  4. 3rd party perspective to compare to server logs
  5. relative accuracy


  6. Relative accuracy, WHY? Well, it is not perfect. These things may or may not block the cookies unwittingly.
    1. User?s Browser Selection (Firefox, IE, WebTV)
    2. User?s Browser Settings (Cookies off, corporate settings, etc.)
    3. Browser Plug-ins (Cookie Blockers, Privacy Guards, etc.)
    4. ISP issues (Routing Issues - Rarest)
    5. Misses some video and audio download requests and file downloads

    Or Folks can block them outright on purpose.

    Simply stated these statistics are fairly accurate, but still only part of the puzzle.

    Big Picture Solutions

    Finally, there are 3rd party Statistics Programs such as www.alexa.com and www.ranking.com which rely on a slice of the market to explain their view of how popular your website really is. There is a real grain of salt to be taken with these numbers as they fluctuate dramatically. They are usually based on a number of users web surfing habits. Problem is that none of the services have installed enough of their software to have a monopoly. Therefore, they are only looking at a portion of the internet when they calculate their numbers.

    Click here for conclusion and software links
    2007-02-04 19:33:52
    Back to Frequently Asked Questions Main


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