MouseWorks Website Design and Hosting

Tracking Your Website Visitors

A quick explanation of what all those web site counter statistics mean.


Note that you have to take this info "with a grain of salt." There are a number of reasons your site is accessed, search engine spiders (indexing your site's information), visits by you, visits by us when changes are made, etc.

Unique Visitor
A Unique Visitor is a separate/individual/distinct visitor. If you have 100 pageloads on your site this could mean you had 100 Unique Visitors who each visited your site once. OR you could have had one Unique Visitor who visited your site 100 times. OR you could have 20 Unique Visitors who visited your site 5 times each. Each Unique (separate/individual/distinct) Visitor to your site will be EITHER a first-time OR a returning visitor. The sum of your first-time PLUS your returning visitors should always equal your TOTAL unique visitors for the day.

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 browser’s 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.

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

© Copyright 1997-2018 All rights reserved.