Web and Graphics Designer, Marketing, Social Media, Networking and more... - Niccole Lowe

Reading your Stats - Definitions

For those clients who market aggressively and want to monitor site traffic you may not understand all the gobbledy goop of stats. Here are some definitions and explanations to help you be more successful in your marketing and tracking. SEE the GOOGLE ANALYTICS page of this web site for more user friendly stat and traffic tracking.




Explanation of Analog Stats

About Analog Reports
Analog Reports take information from the logfiles relating to a website and place this data into an easy to use format. Logfile data contains information on site traffic and usage and is vital to the management of a website.

A vast amount of information is contained with Analog Reports. It is worthwhile taking some time to gain a basic level of understanding of what each of the reports mean. Once this has been achieved it is important to monitor these reports on a regular basis and relate them to site changes / activity. The data will change and by understanding the reports and the data held within them it will provide an invaluable insight into your website and it's users.

Accessing Your Stats
Reports can be reached via the CPANEL of your website. Log into your cpanel,

(  http://www.yoursite.com/cpanel  ) scroll down and click on analog stats.

Report Descriptions

Analog Reports primarily look at data over two timeframes - past week and past full month.

Analog contains several reports on Logfile data - all of these provide interesting information, but for a quick understanding of your site traffic, understanding of the following reports is essential:

General Summary - brief activity overview
Request Report - listing of all requested pages / files
User Report - listing of all users
Redirection Report - listing of all redirections to pages / files that have occurred

Report Definitions

General Summary - The General Summary provides the user with a brief snapshot of overall site statistics for the specified period. Key Metrics are the number of Requests (downloaded files) and the number of requests for Pages (a specific count of the number of pages).

Distinct hosts served: Basically, how many different people visited your site. The number can be a little deceiving though, as customers of some large ISPs (e.g. AOL), go through a proxy server. As a result, a large number of visitors may be represented as a small number of distinct hosts.

Successful requests - The number of times someone succeeded in accessing any file at your site.

Successful requests for pages - The number of times someone succeeded in accessing a "page" file at your site (files ending in .html, .htm, .php, .cgi, etc...)

Failed requests - The number of times someone attempted to access a file from your site, but for whatever reason, was unsuccessful.

Redirected requests - The number of times a visitor attempted to access a particular file, but was redirected to a different one by the server.

Two main reasons this happens are:
the visitor has incorrectly requested a directory name without the following slash: eg; a request for www.yourdomain.com/yourdirectory (the incorrect name) returns www.yourdomain.com/yourdirectory/ (the correct name)
"Click-thru" banner ads can also cause a request to be redirected.

Distinct files requested - How many files (pages, pictures, programs, etc.) were requested from your site.

Time Reports - these reports relate to requests for each specified timeframe.

Host Reports - shows all the individual computers that accessed information on your website.

Domain Report - lists the individual countries where computers accessed information on your website from.

Organization Report - lists the organizations, institutions and ISPs which the computers that accessed information were registered under.

Host Redirection Report & Host Failure Report - listing of all computers which went through redirects and errors.

The Request Report - listing of all the files / pages that were downloaded from your website over the specified time period.

The Directory Report - listing of the Directories from which files were downloaded from.

The Redirection Report - listing of all the files that ended in redirections

The Failure Report - listing of filenames which caused error

The Referrer Report & The Referring Site Report - pages that have linked to your files and the servers those referrers were on.

The Search Query Report and the Search Word Report - listing of the terms users have entered to find your website on Search Engines.

The User Report - a listing of all the users who have visited your site over the specified time period - if your website requires users to authenticate themselves (login) their username will appear otherwise the user's cookie will be displayed.

The Status Code Report - listing of each of the HTTP Status Codes you have had.

File type report - The number of times each file type (ie; image, page, etc.) was requested from your site.

File size report - The number of times a file within a certain size range (ie 1-10 MB) was accessed. A good way of tracking bandwidth use.

Operating System Report - A list of operating systems used by people visiting your site (ie; Windows, Linux, NT, etc.) Sorted by number of requests.


Explanation of Webalizer Stats

Main Headings
Hits represent the total number of requests made to the server during the given time period (month, day, hour etc..).

Files represent the total number of hits (requests) that actually resulted in something being sent back to the user. Not all hits will send data, such as 404-Not Found requests and requests for pages that are already in the browsers cache.

Tip: By looking at the difference between hits and files, you can get a rough indication of repeat visitors, as the greater the difference between the two, the more people are requesting pages they already have cached (have viewed already).

Sites is the number of unique IP addresses/hostnames that made requests to the server. Care should be taken when using this metric for anything other than that. Many users can appear to come from a single site, and they can also appear to come from many IP addresses so it should be used simply as a rough gauge as to the number of visitors to your server.

Visits occur when some remote site makes a request for a page on your server for the first time. As long as the same site keeps making requests within a given timeout period, they will all be considered part of the same Visit. If the site makes a request to your server, and the length of time since the last request is greater than the specified timeout period (default is 30 minutes), a new Visit is started and counted, and the sequence repeats. Since only pages will trigger a visit, remotes sites that link to graphic and other non- page URLs will not be counted in the visit totals, reducing the number of false visits.

Pages are those URLs that would be considered the actual page being requested, and not all of the individual items that make it up (such as graphics and audio clips). Some people call this metric page views or page impressions, and defaults to any URL that has an extension of .htm, .html or .cgi.

A KByte (KB) is 1024 bytes (1 Kilobyte). Used to show the amount of data that was transferred between the server and the remote machine, based on the data found in the server log.

Common Definitions
A Site is a remote machine that makes requests to your server, and is based on the remote machines IP Address/Hostname.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator. All requests made to a web server need to request something. A URL is that something, and represents an object somewhere on your server, that is accessible to the remote user, or results in an error (ie: 404 - Not found). URLs can be of any type (HTML, Audio, Graphics, etc...).

Referrers are those URLs that lead a user to your site or caused the browser to request something from your server. The vast majority of requests are made from your own URLs, since most HTML pages contain links to other objects such as graphics files. If one of your HTML pages contains links to 10 graphic images, then each request for the HTML page will produce 10 more hits with the referrer specified as the URL of your own HTML page.

Search Strings are obtained from examining the referrer string and looking for known patterns from various search engines. The search engines and the patterns to look for can be specified by the user within a configuration file. The default will catch most of the major ones.

Note: Only available if that information is contained in the server logs.

User Agents are a fancy name for browsers. Netscape, Opera, Konqueror, etc.. are all User Agents, and each reports itself in a unique way to your server. Keep in mind however, that many browsers allow the user to change it's reported name, so you might see some obvious fake names in the listing.

Note: Only available if that information is contained in the server logs.

Entry/Exit pages are those pages that were the first requested in a visit (Entry), and the last requested (Exit). These pages are calculated using the Visits logic above. When a visit is first triggered, the requested page is counted as an Entry page, and whatever the last requested URL was, is counted as an Exit page.

Countries are determined based on the top level domain of the requesting site. This is somewhat questionable however, as there is no longer strong enforcement of domains as there was in the past. A .COM domain may reside in the US, or somewhere else. An .IL domain may actually be in Israel, however it may also be located in the US or elsewhere. The most common domains seen are .COM (US Commercial), .NET (Network), .ORG (Non-profit Organization) and .EDU (Educational). A large percentage may also be shown as Unresolved/Unknown, as a fairly large percentage of dialup and other customer access points do not resolve to a name and are left as an IP address.

Response Codes are defined as part of the HTTP/1.1 protocol (RFC 2068; See Chapter 10). These codes are generated by the web server and indicate the completion status of each request made to it.


Unique Visitor:
A unique visitor is a host that has made at least 1 hit on 1 page of your web site during the current period shown by the report. If this host make several visits during this period, it is counted only once.
The period shown by AWStats reports is by default the current month.
However if you use AWStats as a CGI you can click on the "year" link to have a report for all the year. In a such report, period is full year, so Unique Visitors are number of hosts that have made at least 1 hit on 1 page of your web site during those year.

Number of visits made by all visitors.
Think "session" here, say a unique IP accesses a page, and then requests three others without an hour between any of the requests, all of the "pages" are included in the visit, therefore you should expect multiple pages per visit and multiple visits per unique visitor (assuming that some of the unique IPs are logged with more than an hour between requests)

The number of "pages" logged. Only files that don't match an entry in the NotPageList config parameter (and match an entry of OnlyFiles config parameter if used) are counted as "Pages". Usually pages are reserved for HTML files or CGI files, not images nor other files requested as a result of loading a "Page" (like js,css... files).

Any files requested from the server (including files that are "Pages") except those that match the SkipFiles config parameter.

Total number of bytes for pages, images and files downloaded by web browsing.
Note 1: Of course, this number includes only traffic for web only (or mail only, or ftp only depending on value of LogType).
Note 2: This number does not include technical header data size used inside the HTTP or HTTPS protocol or by protocols at a lower level (TCP, IP...).
Because of two previous notes, this number is often lower than bandwith reported by your provider (your provider counts in most cases bandwitdh at a lower level and includes all IP and UDP traffic).

Entry Page:
First page viewed by a visitor during its visit.
Note: When a visit started at end of month to end at beginning of next month, you might have an Entry page for the month report and no Exit pages.
That's why Entry pages can be different than Exit pages.

Exit Page:
Last page viewed by a visitor during its visit.
Note: When a visit started at end of month to end at beginning of next month, you might have an Entry page for the month report and no Exit pages.
That's why Entry pages can be different than Exit pages.

Session Duration:
The time a visitor spent on your site for each visit.
Some Visits durations are 'unknown' because they can't always be calculated. This is the major reason for this:
- Visit was not finished when 'update' occured.
- Visit started the last hour (after 23:00) of the last day of a month (A technical reason prevents AWStats from calculating duration of such sessions).

A browser that is used primarily for copying locally an entire site. These include for example "teleport", "webcapture", "webcopier"...

Direct access / Bookmark:
This number represent the number of hits or ratio of hits when a visit to your site comes from a direct access. This means the first page of your web site was called:
- By typing your URL on the web browser address bar
- By clicking on your URL stored by a visitor inside its favorites
- By clicking on your URL found everywhere but not another internet web pages (a link in a document, an application, etc...)
- Clicking an URL of your site inside a mail is often counted here.

Add To Favourites:
This value, available in the "miscellanous chart", reports an estimated indicator that can be used to have an idea of the number of times a visitor has added your web site into its favourite bookmarks.
The technical rules for that is the following formula:
Number of Add to Favourites = round((x+y) / r)
x = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/anydir/favicon.ico", with a referer field not defined, and with no 404 error code
y = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/favicon.ico", with a referer field not defined, with or without 404 error code
r = Ratio of hits made by IE browsers compared to hits made by all browsers (r <= 1)

As you can see in formula, only IE is used to count reliable "add", the "Add to favourites" for other browsers are estimated using ratio of other browsers usage compared to ratio of IE usage. The reason is that only IE do a hit on favicon.ico nearly ONLY when a user add the page to its favourites. The other browsers make often hits on this file also for other reasons so we can't count one "hit" as one "add" since it might be a hit for another reason.
AWStats differentiate also hits with error and not to avoid counting multiple hits made recursively in upper path when favicon.ico file is not found in deeper directory of path.
Note that this number is just an indicator that is in most case higher than true value. The reason is that even IE browser sometimes make hit on favicon without an "Add to favourites" action by a user.
HTTP Status Codes:
HTTP status codes are returned by web servers to indicate the status of a request. Codes 200 and 304 are used to tell the browser the page can be viewed. All other codes generates hits and traffic 'not seen' by the visitor. For example a return code 301 or 302 will tell the browser to ask another page. The browser will do another hit and should finaly receive the page with a return code 200 and 304. All codes that are 'unseen' traffic are isolated by AWStats in the HTTP Status report chart, enabled by the directives ShowHTTPErrorsStats. in config file. You can also change value for 'not error' hits (set by default to 200 and 304 with the ValidHTTPcodes directive. The following table outlines all status codes defined for the HTTP/1.1 draft specification outlined in IETF rfc 2068.
They are 3-digit codes where the first digit of this code identifies the class of the status code and the remaining 2 digits correspond to the specific condition within the response class. They are classified in 5 categories:

1xx - informational
2xx - successful
3xx - redirection
4xx - client error
5xx - server error



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