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Website Stats
Getting to know your stats page

You have an excellent website, and you're probably curious as to who has been looking at it. Where did they come from? What were they looking for? What do you have on your site that they are interested in?

Installed on your account is a stats page, accessible by going to http://www.yourdomain.com/stats

Each night, a program running on our servers called Webalizer takes all the information left by visitors to your site, and compiles a nice little page complete with piecharts, graphs, and lists of all the things you might like to know about your viewers.

When you first visit the stats page, you'll be given a chart of the total hits in the past year.

Click on the particular month you'd like to see, to view the detailed logs for that particular month.

But what do they all mean?


Hits

Any request made to the server which is logged, is considered a 'hit'. The requests can be for anything... html pages, graphic images, audio files, CGI scripts, etc... Each valid line in the server log is counted as a hit. This number represents the total number of requests that were made to the server during the 24 hour period.


Files

Some requests made to the server, require that the server then send something back to the requesting client, such as a html page or graphic image. When this happens, it is considered a 'file' and the files total is incremented. The relationship between 'hits' and 'files' can be thought of as 'incoming requests' and 'outgoing responses'.


Pages

Pages are, well, pages! Generally, any HTML document, or anything that generates an HTML document, would be considered a page. This does not include the other stuff that goes into a document, such as graphic images, audio clips, etc... This number represents the number of 'pages' requested only, and does not include the other 'stuff' that is in the page. What actually constitutes a 'page' can vary from server to server. The default action is to treat anything with the extension '.htm', '.html' or '.cgi' as a page. A lot of sites will probably define other extensions, such as '.phtml', '.php3' and '.pl' as pages as well. Some people consider this number as the number of 'pure' hits... I'm not sure if I totally agree with that viewpoint. Some other programs (and people :) refer to this as 'Pageviews'.


Sites

Each request made to the server comes from a unique 'site', which can be referenced by a name or ultimately, an IP address. The 'sites' number shows how many unique IP addresses made requests to the server during the 24 hour period. This DOES NOT mean the number of unique individual users (real people) that visited, which is impossible to determine using just logs and the HTTP protocol (however, this number might be about as close as you will get).


Visits

Whenever a request is made to the server from a given IP address (site), the amount of time since a previous request by the address is calculated (if any). If the time difference is greater than a pre-configured 'visit timeout' value (or has never made a request before), it is considered a 'new visit', and this total is incremented (both for the site, and the IP address). The default timeout value is 30 minutes (can be changed), so if a user visits your site at 1:00 in the afternoon, and then returns at 3:00, two visits would be registered. Note: in the 'Top Sites' table, the visits total should be discounted on 'Grouped' records, and thought of as the "Minimum number of visits" that came from that grouping instead.

Note: Visits only occur on PageType requests, that is, for any request whose URL is one of the 'page' types defined with the PageType option. Due to the limitation of the HTTP protocol, log rotations and other factors, this number should not be taken as absolutely accurate, rather, it should be considered a pretty close "guess".



KBytes


The KBytes (kilobytes) value shows the amount of data, in KB, that was sent out by the server during the previous 24 hours. This value is generated directly from the log file, so it is up to the web server to produce accurate numbers in the logs. In general, this should be a fairly accurate representation of the amount of outgoing traffic the server had, regardless of the web servers reporting quirks.

Note: A kilobyte is 1024 bytes, not 1000 :)


Top Entry and Exit Pages


The Top Entry and Exit tables give a rough estimate of what URL's are used to enter your site, and what the last pages viewed are. Because of limitations in the HTTP protocol, log rotations, etc... this number should be considered a good "rough guess" of the actual numbers, however will give a good indication of the overall trend in where users come into, and exit, your site. Remember, people don't always follow a linear path when viewing websites. A search engine usually takes people directly to the page with the most revelant content, which is not necessarily your opening page.


Top Referrers

This gives you a breakdown of where your users are coming from. If you have friends that have links on their pages to your site, this is where you would look to see if people are actually using those links. If you've bought a banner ad on a site somewhere, this is where you would check to see if it's working. These results are generally surprising, as you'll never guess where your site is sometimes mentioned.


Top Search String

This is another section that want to pay particular attention to if your site advertizes any products or services. You want people to find you, and this will tell you what people are putting into a search engine to come up with your site. This can help you tailor your meta tags, or even add or remove content depending on what they are finding. Say you have a site that sells plastic oranges. In this section, you'd probably see things like "fake orange" or "plastic fruit."



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