Stat tracking

If you maintain a website, there are so many different ways to keep track of who’s seeing your site and where they’re coming from that it’s difficult to count them all. Many hosts have some stat tracking built-in through server log files. [ICDSoft](http://www.icdsoft.com) used [Webalizer](http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/) and [AWStats](http://awstats.sourceforge.net/) (You could use either or both, which was nice). [Dreamhost](http://www.dreamhost.com) has a minimally configured [Analog](http://www.analog.cx/) install which is so 1990s. 😉 It’s understandable that shared space hosts are going to install free and open source programs. The volume makes anything else cost-prohibitive unless they pass that cost on to webmasters. I’d rather pay a little to my host and use something I can suit to my liking even if I have to pay a little extra for it, thankyouverymuch.

I tried Shaun Inman’s [ShortStat](http://www.shauninman.com/mentary/past/shortstat_maintenance.php) for a while, and while that was nice it creates a pretty big MySQL database unless you clear it out from time to time and referrer spam ruins the party.

A friend of mine who makes some serious income off his website turned me on to [OpenTracker](http://www.opentracker.net). I’m trying the 4 week demo now. Wow. Now **this** is serious tracking. You can see exactly where your site visitors entered and exactly the path they took through your site. The level of detail and clarity is like nothing else I’ve tried. It may be a keeper. I don’t change my content to suit keywords. I’d be richer if I did, but then I’d be writing about Weight Watchers all day and that’s no fun. I’m doing it (on a few sites) in part to gauge browser share to see just how much effort I should be putting into IE 5 compatibility in my style sheets. Should be interesting.

4 Comments

  1. So that’s where that cookie came from. 🙂

    How does it handle proxies? How can it tell that I’m me and not someone else behind my firewall?

  2. Judi Sohn says:

    Hmmm… good question. I haven’t dug that far yet. I’ll probably have to study how it’s tracking repeat visitors after a few days. I’m sure it’s the FAQ somewhere.

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  4. George Smith says:

    Have you tried NetTracker Lite?

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