Use a log analyzer instead of Google Analytics

23 May 2019

Website operators like to know the number of views they’re getting for each page, the countries their visitors are coming from, and the referrer (the website that referred the visitor to you), and maybe the browser type the visitors are using.

Third party analytics

One way to capture this information is to use a third party analytics package like Google Analytics (GA). They work OK but…

They’re less accurate

Ad blockers block third party trackers including GA so you can see a big difference between reality and what GA reports. This will get worse as more people use ad blockers.

If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product

Google makes its money selling ads. If you install GA on your website, information about your visitors is sent to Google. If you sell bicycles on a website running GA, Google knows your visitor is interested in buying a bicycle. How will it use that data and will it hurt your company?

Fortunately there is a simple alternative.

Log analyzers

A log analyzer like GoAccess is a program that runs on your server and extracts data from the logs such as:

GoAccess displays your site stats on a dashboard web page updated on a schedule you set. Use a log analyzer: it’s more accurate than GA and keeps your visitor data confidential.