The default website visitor statistics program provided with our website hosting has been AWSTATS. However, as more of our customers are adopting security certificates for their websites (as we do recommend) AWSTATS is no longer such a good option. Primarily as it requires you to separately view secure and non secure statistics when we would all prefer to see the combined picture.
As a consequence after researching alternative options - with our requirement being that all traffic is combined and that statistics are presented in an easy to understand format - we settled on a new program - Matomo. Some of the features we particularly like are:
- Ability to configure your own dashboard with various statistics
- Ability to see real time data - you don’t have to wait 24 hours for daily log update
- Ability to have your stats emailed to you daily, weekly or monthly and you can configure which stats are included/excluded in the report.
There is however a key difference we became aware of between Matomo and AWSTATS as to what pages/files they count visits for. Comparing the two we discovered far less visits recorded by Matomo than AWSTATS. However, when compared to Google Analytics, Matamo was counting equally.
It is not that one is right and one is wrong but that AWSTATS counts access attempts to system files (eg. php extensions). There are very few legitimate reasons why these files would be accessed by website visitors (eg. wp-login.php).We know from our hacker shield logs there are significant malicious attempts made to these files.
Matomo counts visits to actual web pages (as does Google Analytics) and therefore we feel it is the better option as it will also make calculation of look to book ratios far more accurate.
If you are using Google Analytics to analyse your website statistics our change to Mataomo will not impact you. However, you may like to also make use of Matomo for an alternative view of your stats.
Below example matomo stats dashboard - click image to zoom.