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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977


Stat Tracking for Web Projects

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not always using the best software for monitoring stats for web sites (and by stats I mean anything from hits to referrers to user patterns, and everything in between and on each side), including personal projects such as this site, and commercial projects for clients. I’ve tried built-in log-analysis offerings from various hosts (e.g. Webalizer), as well as free scripts such as Shaun Inman’s ShortStat and Dean Allen’s Refer (usually combinations of more than one such application and/or script), some of which provide useful information, but I’m not entirely convinced that I’ve found the correct collection of tools to evaluate and monitor (and allow clients to do likewise) web site statistics.

So my question is this:

What scripts/applications/solutions do you or your company use to monitor and evaluate statistics for your own web projects and for your clients?

I’ll compile and post my thoughts after I finish evaluating any and all suggestions, but the comments for this post will remain open for as long as I can put up with the comment-spam, so keep your suggestions coming, thanks!

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Monday, January 10th, 2005.


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45 comments on “Stat Tracking for Web Projects”

  1. Posted by Ryan Prins on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    I’ve used bbclone on my site for some basic stats and I’ve been pleased. It is pretty simple, so it might not be what you are looking for, but it is worth a look.

  2. Posted by Jeremy Flint on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    I use Refer and Shortstat, but with the recent increase in refer spam, I don’t really count on those to be as reliable as they once were. I have 2 or 3 stat programs available from my host, and usually end up going with the reports that AWStats spits out just because I like the organization of it.

    For our clients, we usually download their raw log files and run them through a local installation of Webalizer here at the office. That way we can filter out stuff if we need to, such as the clients IP range for more accurate external stats.

  3. Posted by Mark on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    I use Urchin and it’s more than capable of the more detailed reports you seem to be looking for.

  4. Posted by Seb on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    I’ve recently found awstats and have been very impressed by it…

  5. Posted by Byron McCollum on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    We use Urchin, but it is a commercial package…

    And it is Shaun Inman…

  6. Posted by Dan Bowling on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    I use AWStats, and I highly recomend it. It is easy to use, shows graphs where they are needed (and not where they are not). The only problem I notice is that it counts hits to include files just like a regular page, and that querey driven pages are not trackable (as it only deals with static info).

  7. Posted by Jeff Minard on Monday, January 10th, 2005.

    If you are in to Webalizer, you will definately wan’t to check out WebDruid. It is based on Webalizer, but also returns some super sweet user path charts that just blew me away.

    Oh yeah, it’s written in C and so it took about 13 seconds to parse what AWStats went though in 45 minutes. ;-)

  8. Posted by Dan Rubin on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    #5 – Thanks for the spellcheck Byron, I was writing a contract today for someone named “Shawn” and must have typed it 20 times throughout the day, and my fingers were on their own :) I’ve corrected his name in the post.

  9. Posted by Piet on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    pphlogger is a nice one and very extensive..

  10. Posted by Joerg Petermann on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    ProNet: Nick O´Neill is working on a visitor statistics plugin for Movable Type (MTStats). [Beta-Testing]

  11. Posted by Emilio on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    For my site stats, and on other small projects I use the simple AXS.

    On bigger commercial projects I worked with Redsheriff, but it’s another, costly, universe ;-)

  12. Posted by Byron McCollum on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    @Dan Rubin: No problem. Even though I have known Shaun since college, I too am guilty of flubbing his name, mainly due to my boss’s name being Sean…

  13. Posted by Gilbert Lee on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    StatCounter . It’s free and sufficient for smaller sites.

  14. Posted by Gilbert Lee on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    Strange…that link doesn’t work for some reason. Try this: How StatCounter Works.

  15. Posted by Stephanie on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    Urchin. Wouldn’t give it up for the world.

  16. Posted by Ratzo on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    For my site I use Php-stats. It’s simple to install and offers very detailed information.

  17. Posted by Sharaf Atakhanov on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    I use http://webstat.com/. It is inexpensive, only $9.95/month and has amazing detailed reports that you can export to PDF, Excel and even send as an attachment.

    Also, you can track GoogAd Words or other campaigns separately which is great.

    You can try it for free for 14 days.

    No need to buy expensive license or install any software on the server.

    Good luck.


  18. Posted by jc on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    I’ve used a http://www.reinvigorate.net/system/ as a pretty, open source, alternative. No heavy lifting here.

  19. Posted by Brian Behrend on Tuesday, January 11th, 2005.

    I’ve been very satisfied with AWStats as well. Simple and clean. The charts make it real easy to get overview just at a glance.

  20. Posted by Jeff Croft on Wednesday, January 12th, 2005.

    Shaun is working on a new version of ShortStat that is absolutely brilliant. I’ve been beta testing it for him, and I can tell you that it blows the socks off the old version. I’ve not used a lot of other apps, but I sure love this one!

  21. Posted by Sean Scott on Wednesday, January 12th, 2005.

    Well it depends on the type of client. If it is anything serious (i.e. enterprise level) then i suggest getting webtrends from netIQ.

    It will put those other pakcages to shame, but it comes with a pricetag. as they say you pay for what you get…

  22. Posted by Cody Lindley on Wednesday, January 12th, 2005.

    In Order…

    Big Bucks To Spend:
    Webside Story
    Web Trends
    Click Tracks

    Price matters:
    Web Stat
    Stat Counter

  23. Posted by Valentin Agachi on Thursday, January 13th, 2005.

    Personally, I use on many web sites my own traffic logger built in my customized CMS.

    On comercial sites or bigger clients, I use a local stats logger provider service (Trafic.ro).

    I think for any site you wish to have some realistic stats data and choose to use the services of some company, it is better to use a provider either from your country, or at least one that will have a very low-response time to the majority of your web site visitors. What I mean is you shouldn’t use a company’s services, if it is located on another continent then user target.

  24. Posted by Goran Aničić on Thursday, January 13th, 2005.

    I suggest free “Funnel Web Analyser” > http://www.quest.com

  25. Posted by jtharnthong on Thursday, January 13th, 2005.

    I use TFStats. Works well for me, fast and simple with good analysis. http://www.oplossing.net/

  26. Posted by Ireney Berezniak on Saturday, January 15th, 2005.

    I use WebLog Expert for personal stat generation. I love it. Provides standard reports — hits and visitor counts, referrers, hosts, browsers, enter/exit pages etc. — plus various filter capabilities allowing to include or exclude specified filtering criteria, or tracking particular files. Also, some nice extras include the ability to schedule report generation, and to e-mail and/or ftp the generated result to desired destination, for instance. Not only that, the tool can also download logs via http or ftp.

    One may generate reports encompassing all logged activity, or various subsets. Furthermore, it is possible to specify a time range of the activity to be analyzed. Quite nice … a snap too install, simple to use, and relatively fast. Frequently updated as well … latest beta contains export functionality(CSV and PDF).

    WebLog Expert supports IIS and Apache logs, though this is a Windows client only. Comes in two flavours: freeware Lite version, and full 30-day free trial pay version.

    While much of the functionality this tool provides is overkill for my personal needs, it is certainly a great option for corporate use.


  27. Posted by Bryan on Sunday, January 16th, 2005.

    The company I work for uses Web Analytics with http://247media.com/ for user and behavior tracking. Costs quite a bit, but it helps us analyize web users and their movements quite effectively.

  28. Posted by Scott Kidder on Monday, January 17th, 2005.

    I really like ClickTracks (http://www.clicktracks.com). It’s stat software made for marketers.

    For $500, you can run as many log files as you want. It’s great value-added for your clients.


  29. Posted by Amit Karmakar on Friday, January 21st, 2005.

    I have tried refer for a while and i didnt find it very handy. Left a few emails with the author regarding refer spamming, not once did I get a reply. Later I tried Shortstats ( a lot better) and awstats too.

    Having moved my hosting with Segpub I got urchin as a part of the hosting package. Urchin is a really good product and does webstats to a great depth. The only downside is its a commercial product and too expensive investing for personal use. If i didnt have urchin i would rely more on shortstats more than anything else. Although, I would recommend password protecting stats, It helps cut down a lot of unwanted spammers and bandwidth crawlers.

  30. Posted by Jennifer Grucza on Friday, January 28th, 2005.

    For my personal site, I just use awstats, which comes with the hosting.

    My company uses NetTracker, which I don’t think anyone else mentioned. I don’t know how much it costs, but it’s very powerful – you can do all sorts of custom reports. The UI could be a little better, but it’s usable.

  31. Posted by Roland on Monday, January 31st, 2005.

    I used http://www.xiti.com for some time.
    It’s a commercial service.

  32. Posted by Nick on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005.

    I work for a large university, and while we wait for our institutional log analysis software to be implemented on our web server, we’ve been running 123 Log Analyzer on local machines. It’s not the greatest software availalbe, but offers good functionality with a decent interface for a reasonable price.

    I’ve also used Urchin on several servers, which is a pretty slick package.

  33. Posted by Sascha on Monday, February 7th, 2005.

    Maybe you should check out HotTracker. Its also available in a free ASP version (but a commercial service – pricing depends on number of page impressions). Using pixel (aka webbug) technology has many advantages over logfile analysis (proxies, tracking over multiple websites
    and many more…). You can visit a demo and sign up for a free and unlimited (time) test-drive.

  34. Posted by Miles on Wednesday, February 16th, 2005.

    My site has not yet opened, but Globat provides awstats for me. However, it is kind of a bunch of raw data just piled together in a totally unorganized manner.

    I like all the data that it gives me, but I wish it would organize it more.

    I will probably end up implementing my own logging system. However, I don’t really need it for a while, and it’s kind of going to be something I’ll be working on over an extended period of time.

    Hopefully, it will feature nice little things such as search engine crawling activity, search engine ranking, user paths, user referrers, most used image, etc..

  35. Posted by Ryan Heneise on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005.

    Has anyone tried Web CEO? I’m wondering specifically about their HitLens feature. How does it stack up against ClickTracks, Urchin, et al.?

  36. Posted by jaffry on Sunday, February 27th, 2005.

    i’ve used the Perl-based AXS for a while and it’s been pretty useful. but i haven’t really figured out how to track more than one page with AXS.

    reinvigorate is open-source & it’s great but it’s down now.

  37. Posted by battlemouth on Monday, March 7th, 2005.

    i would reccomend http://www.statcounter.com
    its what i use for all my statistical needs

  38. Posted by Netlash Webdesign on Monday, March 7th, 2005.

    For basis stats, I’m using AWStats.

    But recently, I’ve discovered MyBlogLog (http://www.mybloglog.com/), which tracks your outgoing links. It’s an amazing tool.

  39. Posted by Justin Perkins on Monday, March 7th, 2005.

    At my place of work, we use a highly grainular, amazingly powerful website analysis tool by the folks at Omniture ( http://www.omniture.com/ ). IMO, this is the best reporting/analysis I have ever seen/used. There is nothing you cannot due using the website analysis tool Site Catalyst. The high cost limits their usage to professional, e-commerice driven websites, but if that is what you have, I wouldn’t recommend anything else.

    For personal websites and websites I produce for personal clients, I just go with the quite limited AW Stats which is free and quite lacking in grainular analysis of any kind.

  40. Posted by Mike on Friday, March 11th, 2005.

    I’ve been using TrackPro on most of my recent projects (http://www.curve2.com/trackpro2.php). Its got tons of different statistics summaries, and its free.

  41. Posted by David Mead on Wednesday, March 16th, 2005.

    I’ve always found Sawmill to be very good and flexible.

    They also offer a free license if you keep track of how you used it.

  42. Posted by Rafi B. on Saturday, March 19th, 2005.

    For all you ASP’ers out there:
    I’ve been using the awesome StatCounteX for 3 years, an open-source ASP real-time statistics server. However, I totally re-wrote the code and added awesome new features, like implementing flash charts using fusionCharts.

    open-source project homepage:
    an example of many of available plugins:
    example in action:
    the awesome fusionCharts LITE (free!) (their not really b/w btw):

  43. Posted by harold goldstein on Friday, April 1st, 2005.

    openwebscope is $99, we run it locally, can run unlimited log files … see nycsoftware.com.

    we find it very felxible and provides all the basic stuff filtered any which way.

  44. Posted by George Smith on Monday, April 4th, 2005.

    I use NetTracker Lite, its free.

  45. Posted by Jenni on Friday, April 22nd, 2005.

    my vote is for http://www.statcounter.com too, it gives me all the information I need, and I can even download it in a cvs or excel file! It’s free, but I think if you pay ($25 a year…?) you can get a few more things.