Web Analytics Reviews

I wrote this piece after going through several analytics packages in search of the best fit for my sites and needs. Here’s what I came up with…

What I’m looking for in an analytics tool:

Ability to track:

  • Page views / Visits and visitor counts (the usual)
  • Referrers / Searched terms from search engines
  • IP addresses (for access spam control)
  • Logged in user names (What my users are looking at)
  • Near-realtime stats (as close to realtime as possible, not having to wait until the next day)
  • Integration with Drupal/WordPress as a maintained module (less important)

The tools:


Google Analytics

What it does

  • Tracks page views / visitor data / search terms

What it doesn’t do:

  • IP addresses
  • Logged-in user name
  • Near-realtime stats

Cost: FREE

Traffic limit: 1 million page views per day.

Other thoughts: Some think that stats collected are used by Google to adjust search results.


Woopra

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Logged-in user names++
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Chat with your users##
  • Real-time stats
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Clicking on the ‘chat’ function would crash the app.
  • Clicking on the ‘analytics’ once crashed my app for several hours

Cost: Free to Expensive$$

Traffic Limit: Depends on pricing tier

Other thoughts: Requires desktop app install (Windows / Mac / Linux [Java-based]). At 3,000 monthly page views for the free package and 10,000 for the $5/mo package, this is the pricey end of analyics packages. Considering all the bugs I had with it, I would consider something else. Unlimited sites, pricing plan is per-site.


Clicky

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats**
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Logged-in user names

Cost: Free to expensive$$

Traffic Limit: Depends on pricing tier

Other thoughts:

Stats are near-realtime as they are displayed on a webpage. A refresh takes care of loading the newest stats. Free plan is good for 3,000 page views a day. $5/mo plan is good for a lot more. Pricing plan is tied to your account. Limit to the number of websites you can track.


Piwik

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats (via the Live! plugin)
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal

What it doesn’t do:

  • Logged-in user names

Cost: FREE

Traffic Limit: As much as your webserver/database server can stand.

Other thoughts: This is a self-hosted software, which means you have to install it on your webserver or hosting account. Free / Open source. Though the usability and feature-set is impressive, there are a number of serious bugs which can be show-stoppers for the non-technical or easily-frustrated user. Database grows over time and requires manual purging. Can put a serious load on DB servers on high-traffic sites. No limit to the number of sites you can track. Set  up login/password access for others to view stats.


Mint

What it does:

  • IP addresses
  • Page views / visits and visitor counts
  • Real-time stats**
  • Referrers / search terms
  • Integration with Drupal
  • Logged-in user names++

What it doesn’t do:

Come free.

Cost: $30/site

Traffic Limit: As much as your webserver/database server can stand.

Other Thoughts: At $30/site this can be expensive in multi-site operations, but this is a very well polished software package. Database growth is kept in check as detailed stats are only held for 6 weeks. Totals are kept forever. This happens to be my software package of choice.


** There’s a catch.

$$ Cost varies according to traffic / number of monitored websites

++ Requires Drupal module

## Though this is a feature, I never got it to work correctly.

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