interpretting webalizer stats ("hits", etc)

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Eugene, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. Eugene

    Eugene Guest

    Hi,

    I'm new to web design, and I manage a site that uses the "Webalizer" for
    tracking visitors to the site.

    Can anyone explain, in simple language, what these parameters mean: HITS,
    FILES, PAGES, VISITS, SITES.

    "Kbytes" is fairly self-evident as the total byte sum of data transferred
    for a particular day/month etc.

    I always thought "visitors" were the actual number of discreet visitors to
    your site, and "hits" were how many times a visitor clicked a mouse on your
    site.

    Please let me know if I'm in the right ballpark...

    Eugene
     
    Eugene, Jan 20, 2004
    #1
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  2. Eugene

    Richard Guest

    Eugene wrote:

    > Hi,


    > I'm new to web design, and I manage a site that uses the "Webalizer" for
    > tracking visitors to the site.


    > Can anyone explain, in simple language, what these parameters mean:
    > HITS, FILES, PAGES, VISITS, SITES.


    > "Kbytes" is fairly self-evident as the total byte sum of data transferred
    > for a particular day/month etc.


    > I always thought "visitors" were the actual number of discreet visitors
    > to your site, and "hits" were how many times a visitor clicked a mouse on
    > your site.


    > Please let me know if I'm in the right ballpark...


    > Eugene


    "hits" and "visitors" could mean the actual number of times the page was
    viewed. Including the number of reloads by any one visitor. You should see a
    listing for "unique visitors" which will be substantially less than
    "visitors". This is your true "hits" per page/site.
    Webalizer doesn't really show "true" counts anyway. It's more of a general
    range.
    What you need is a counter system that ignores the same visitor returning to
    a certain page within a certain time period.
    They are out there.
     
    Richard, Jan 20, 2004
    #2
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  3. Eugene

    Nico Schuyt Guest

    Eugene wrote:
    > I'm new to web design, and I manage a site that uses the "Webalizer"
    > for tracking visitors to the site.
    > Can anyone explain, in simple language, what these parameters mean:
    > HITS, FILES, PAGES, VISITS, SITES.


    http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/webalizer_help.html
    Nico
     
    Nico Schuyt, Jan 20, 2004
    #3
  4. Eugene

    Eugene Guest

    Sorry, but this is still very confusing.

    Even reading the Webalizer Help page (thanks Nico) has made it muddier than
    ever.

    Perhaps if you are well-educated in server technology or server-side
    programming, it all makes sense. But for the scores of people who take on
    website management without a programmer's background, it's all "gibberish".

    NUMBER ONE, it would help if there were "standards" among Stats generators
    as to exactly what, "hits, visits, pages, files, sites, etc" really mean.
    Do these standards actually exist? If not, is it something that WW3 would
    consider standardizing if they have that power?

    So, all I want to know is this: what figure will reflect the number of
    unique visitors I get in a day?

    Thanks for any clarification.

    Eugene
     
    Eugene, Jan 20, 2004
    #4
  5. Eugene

    brucie Guest

    in post: <news:kk1Pb.2530$312.2391@edtnps89>
    "Eugene" <> said:

    > I'm new to web design, and I manage a site that uses the "Webalizer" for
    > tracking visitors to the site.


    Analog 5.32: How the web works
    4. What you can't know.
    You can't tell the identity of your readers.
    You can't tell how many visitors you've had.
    You can't tell how many visits you've had.
    Cookies don't solve these problems.
    You can't follow a person's path through your site.
    You often can't tell where they entered your site, or where they found
    out about you from.
    You can't tell how they left your site, or where they went next.
    You can't tell how long people spent reading each page.
    You can't tell how long people spent on your site.
    http://www.analog.cx/docs/webworks.html


    --
    brucie - i usenet nude
     
    brucie, Jan 20, 2004
    #5
  6. Eugene

    Steve Pugh Guest

    "Eugene" <> wrote:

    >Sorry, but this is still very confusing.
    >
    >Even reading the Webalizer Help page (thanks Nico) has made it muddier than
    >ever.


    (http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/webalizer_help.html)

    >So, all I want to know is this: what figure will reflect the number of
    >unique visitors I get in a day?


    None of them. That is impossible to tell from the server log files.

    Hits is the number of requests made, for a single web page there will
    usually be several hits (html file, stylesheet, images, etc.) and form
    submissions, etc. are also requests and thus hits. This is not the
    number of visitors.

    Very important - not all requests actually reach your server and
    therefore not all requests appear in a log file. A request may reach a
    cache at the user's ISP or wherever and be served the file from there
    instead of from your server.

    So the hits count is an underestimate and all the following (which are
    just different ways of sorting the hits) are also underestimates.

    Files is fully explained in the help file. It's those requests that
    actually lead to a file being sent back to the browser. So errors or
    requests to check whether the file in the browser's cache is up to
    date are not counted. This is not the number of visitors.

    Pages is a filtered set of hits, as the help page said these are by
    default requests for .html, .htm and .cgi. If your site uses some
    other extension for its 'pages', e.g. .php, .asp, etc. then you will
    need to reconfigure Webalizer to count them as pages. This is not the
    number of visitors.

    Sites is the number of unique IP addresses making requests. However
    many people inside a large office may be connecting via a firewall
    which sends its IP address instead of that of the users' indivdual
    machines. Or a user on dial-up may get assigned a different IP address
    every time he connects. This is not the number of visitors but may be
    a very rough estimate thereof.

    Visits is a an attempt to guess which requests should be packaged
    together as a single visit to the site and is based on IP address (see
    above for the uncertainty involved) and the time between requests.
    This is not the number of visitors.

    cheers,
    Steve

    --
    "My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
    I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

    Steve Pugh <> <http://steve.pugh.net/>
     
    Steve Pugh, Jan 20, 2004
    #6
  7. Eugene

    Eugene Guest

    So... from what I gather ... it seems that there is no standardization and
    no bullet-proof way of actually logging traffic to a site that gives any
    accurate presentation of actual "visitors".

    Therefore, all the hype about "hits" and "visits" per day that a busy site
    may advertise, is all "inflated hopeful dreaming"...?

    How about these installable server-side apps (like Sawmill) that proclaim to
    accurately log your site stats? More mumbo jumbo?

    Eugene
     
    Eugene, Jan 21, 2004
    #7
  8. Eugene wrote:

    > How about these installable server-side apps (like Sawmill) that proclaim to
    > accurately log your site stats? More mumbo jumbo?


    One logger/analyser is as bad as another for what you're trying to do.

    Your web server's logs are for logging what your web server does -- not
    for logging what visitors do.

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me - http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/?page=132
     
    Toby A Inkster, Jan 21, 2004
    #8
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