Webalizer is a fast, free web server log analysis program. Webalizer will turn your complicated server logs into easy-to-read analytics.
What are analytics? Have you ever wondered what all those web stats actually mean?
Understanding your Webalizer site statistics is important because they provide a picture of how well your website is performing and will help you understand where you can improve by focusing more attention!
Keep reading to find out what you need to know:
Hits are not a very trustworthy statistic and should be ignored at all times because they’re not reflective of traffic to your website.
Hits are the number of individual requests for all file types that are received by the server. Think about this for a second… If your page only contains text, then a visitor will generate one hit when visiting the page. If you add an image to the page, a visitor loading the page will now generate two hits because they will be requesting the page and the image.
Your logs can even have hits showing up in your web stats that are generated from other websites!
For example, if you use an image saved on your server as a signature in a forum, then each time someone visiting the forum loads a page containing your signature, they will load your image and therefore generate a hit that will show up in your web stats! If the forum you visit has tons of traffic, you may start thinking your website is very popular when in fact all the hits showing up in your web stats are coming from another website!
Since single pages on your website can generate multiple hits each time they are loaded and because crawlers like GoogleBot as well as off-site images can all generate hits, it’s important to ignore this stat unless you are starting to worry about reaching your bandwidth limit or want to crack down on hot-linking of your content.
Files are related to hits. Files are the number of hits that resulted in something actually being sent back to the user such as text or an image. Therefore, if a user requests a page that does not exist, the server will receive the request and count this as a hit, however a 404-page not found error will occur and this will therefore not count as a file.
Another time where a hit will be generated but not a file is when a user is visiting a page for the second time. In such a case, the page might be ‘cached’ meaning it is saved locally in order to speed up the page-load time. While the page text will likely be requested again, things like images will be loaded from the local copy in order to reduce the load on the server. You can test this if you want by overwriting an image on your website then loading the page. You will likely see the old image until your force a reload by hitting the refresh button or wait a certain amount of time.
This web stat is also not very useful if you’re trying to figure out how to generate traffic to your website or which content is popular.
Pages is your first useful web stat because it provides lots of valuable information when it comes to analyzing your traffic!
Pages represents the number of individual pages that were viewed! This web stat tells you how much of your content is actually being viewed. You will notice that this number is much smaller than your hits and files! Don’t be depressed, I was sad too when I found out this number was meaningful and hits was not!
Visits are another one of the important web stats. This stat shows how many actual visits there have been to your website. This number will be smaller than your pages statistic because if your site has good content, a single visitor will usually load more than one page!
Looking at the difference between pages and visitors can give you a good idea of how much people are enjoying your website. If your content is not very good, the difference between pages and visitors will be smaller! In fact, if you divide the number of pages by the number of visits, you will get another important web analytic – pageviews. The higher your value for pageviews, the healthier your website.
The name of this statistic is a bit confusing so most people generally have no idea what it means. The “sites” stat actually tries to take your “visitors” stat and then determine how many of those visitors were unique. This of course is not 100% accurate because of proxy servers and dynamic IP addresses, but still often provides a god estimate.
To better help you understand this, imagine you have created a private blog and are the only visitor. You then visit the site once a day for one month. Your site statistics will therefore report that you had 30 visitors from a total of 1 site. Of course, if one day you visited your blog from work, the stat would say you had 30 visitors from a total of 2 sites!
This information is very useful because it helps you determine if you have a lot of repeat visitors, or if you’re getting mostly first time visitors. It’s important to improve your site quality to try and reduce your bounce rate. You want to convince first time visitors to come back, otherwise your site will not be sustainable in the long-term.
This statistic represents the volume of data transferred from your server. Usually you can ignore this unless you are worried that you receive enough traffic that you could possibly reach your bandwidth limits!
It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on this from time to time to make sure nobody is abusing your website! Sometimes people will use images from your website on their own site by linking to them. This could be putting an extra load on your server that provide no benefit to you or your users. If it slows your site down, it’s bad!
Let’s examine a recent set of Webalizer web stats for this website:
Files: 53, 671
What do these Webalizer web stats mean?
I know that 45,273 pages were viewed on my site by approximately 2,420 different people.
If I divide these numbers, I feel confident that my website is providing quality content because I’m averaging 18 pageviews per user which is fairly high! That must mean some folks are following my free courses!
The actual visits count is 8,935 which means that on average each of the 2,420 sites (unique visitors) came back about 3 or 4 times throughout the month. Of course, these are just averages. In reality, some people likely visited once and never came back and others visited nearly everyday because they were following one of the courses.
What about the hits, the files and the KBytes? Well, I don’t really care anymore. I’ve figure out everything I wanted to know about my traffic already without these statistics. This is why you should ignore these stats. They likely do not tell you anything you actually want to know. They are just big numbers and distracting your attention away from the important information you need to know.
How to Use Webalizer with HostGator
Awstats and Webalizer are server log analysis systems that help you track your web traffic as explained above. Both Awstats and Webalizer come free with HostGator web hosting.
Using these tools are extremely easy. Both Awstats and Webalizer are installed in your cpanel account by default. Login to your HostGator account and scroll down to the “Logs” section. From there, simply click on Webalizer or Awstats to open up your web traffic information.