Web Host - Statistics, Know Your Website Visitors

Knowing the who, what, where, and how about your visitors is extremely useful for getting an idea of your user base. More specifically:

  • Who - By using someone's IP address it is possible to know where a web surfer is geographically located.

  • What - What pages did the surfer view on your web site?

  • Where - Was the surfer referred from another site, search engine? Do they have your site bookmarked?

  • How - How long was the surfer on your site?

All this information and more can be provided to you without troubling your visitor, i.e. no cookies need to be placed onto the visitor's computer to gather this data. With a decent statistics program you will be able to find out how many people have bookmarked your site, how long the average visit is, what are your site's most popular pages.

Server Statistics
If you have ever had shared hosting, which I am sure that most of you have, then you will probably know how these hosts pack your account with loads of server statistics tools. This is all well and good but have you ever wanted to make one for yourself? If you do then this tutorial is probably for you.

Now with Index Tools you can quickly and affordably analyze and optimize your web site and your marketing efforts. In-depth web traffic, visitor, e-commerce and marketing analysis are delivered directly to business and technical users through a web browser anytime, anywhere. With no software, hardware or staffing required, Index Tools Live Statistics can be implemented in a matter of hours.

Displaying Dist Usage Statistics
Use the df command to show the amount of free disk space on each mounted disk. The usable disk space reported by df reflects only 90% of full capacity, as the reporting statistics leave a 10% head room above the total available space. This head room normally stays empty for better performance.

The percentage of disk space actually reported by df is used space divided by usable space.

If the file system is above 90% capacity, transfer files to a disk that is not as full by using cp, or to a tape by using tar or cpio; or remove the files.

FTP Statistics

The objectives of FTP are :
1)to promote sharing of files (computer programs and/or data),
2)to encourage indirect or implicit (via programs) use of remote computers,
3)to shield a user from variations in file storage systems among hosts, and
4) to transfer data reliably and efficiently.

FTP, though usable directly by a user at a terminal, is designed mainly for use by programs.

The FTP service commands define the file transfer or the file system function requested by the user. The argument of an FTP service command will normally be a pathname. The syntax of pathnames must conform to server site conventions (with standard defaults applicable), and the language conventions of the control connection. The suggested default handling is to use the last specified device, directory or file name, or the standard default defined for local users. The commands may be in any order except that a "rename from" command must be followed by a "rename to" command and the restart command must be followed by the interrupted service command (e.g., STOR or RETR). The data, when transferred in response to FTP service commands, shall always be sent over the data connection, except for certain informative replies. The following commands specify FTP service requests.

Stastistic Terminology
There is not much use to a detailed traffic analysis report if the terms mentioned are not understood by the reader. Below we have a glossary of web statistic vocabulary to make your web analysis reports more informative:
  • Uniques/Unique Visits - The number of unique visitors you had for the given time period. Example: if there was only a single person who visited your web site, and visited 1,000 seperate times in a day, the unique visits would just be one. The uniqueness is dependent on the IP address of the visitor.

  • Visits - The total visits, ignoring uniqueness, that a web site recieves in a given time period. Using the same example as above, the total visits would be 1,000 for the day.

  • Page Views - Each time a web page is loaded it is referred to as a page view.

  • Hits - Every server request is counted as a hit, so if you have a web page with 15 images, then there will be multiple(15+) hits per page view.

  • Direct Address & Bookmarks - This amount refers to the people who accessed your web site through their bookmarks or typed in your URL manually.

  • Referrer & Referral URL - The web address where the visitor followed a link to reach your web site. This is a great way to find web sites that have linked to your content!

Popular Statistics Programs

There are many reliable statistics programs available, ranging from the most basic to a complete suite geared towards businesses. Below is a list of popular statistic programs that meet various needs.

Webalizer is one of the most basic of the statistic programs available, yet it is fully functional. Graphical and numerical data is displayed for monthly, daily, and hourly time spans. Additionally, you can keep track of your top referrers and the popular search terms that lead people to your site.

AWStats is an open source web analytics reporting tool, suitable for analyzing data from internet services such as web, streaming media, mail and FTP servers. Awstats parses and analyzes server log files, producing HTML reports. Data is visually presented within reports by tables and bar graphs. Static reports can be created through a command line interface, and on-demand reporting is supported through a web browser CGI program.

AWStats supports most major web server log file formats including Apache (NCSA combined/XLF/ELF log format or common/CLF log format), WebStar, IIS (W3C log format) and many other common web server log formats. Developers can contribute to the AWStats project through Sourceforge.net.

Urchin proves a comprehensive web analytic suite for those who need the most detailed information about web site traffic and visitor behavior. Such detailed information comes at a steep price (a license approaches the $1,000 mark) that makes this product aimed at companies and individuals with a substantial budget.
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