From Google Analytics to AWStats

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Introduction

Logging, well a lot of people, including me, say that we should write just for the passion of doing it, not because of getting likes, or favs, or even being read.

But the reality is that if that were the scenario for the most of us (it is for some) we would be writing on paper, and keeping those papers in our night stands, but we are writing in public blogs, and lots of us are then sharing our posts on social networks, or sites like Lobsters or Hacker News.

We need to admit that we love when other people read what we write. Just like a football player loves the idea of playing in a full stadium rather than on an empty one. And even those who sustain that we should not use analytics, use them later.

Is that wrong?

Well I don't think so, I think is just our nature, when taken to far then is wrong, but otherwise is normal, I think.

After making that clear, it is obvious that we need to measure how many people read our posts, and then, we need some analytics tools.

Analytics tools

Google Analytics

The most famous one, Google Analytics is a great tool, has a lot of features and is free (as in beer), but just because There is not such thing as free lunch we are giving our visitor's data in exchange for the free service.

Thus, almost everybody in this community agree that we should stay away from Google I have done that in the past too.

Matomo

This one seems to be a good option from privacy perspective, if you want to take care of yet another service running in your server, I have done in the past, but then I just came back to Google Analytics.

This time I will not install it, I can not say that in the near or far future I will, but not this very moment.

Plausible

I have discovered and tested plausible for the last 30 days for free, it is a paid service. It is really simple and has a great UI, I love its simplicity. The problem I have is that it is too expensive for the number of visitors I am getting at this time.

Plausible

And as I said before, I do not want another service to host for this moment. Yes, they a self-hosted version.

Logs analyzers

Being in that scenario, I decided to use the logs in my server in order to get those stats, I am interested in which post gest the most views, and where my visitors come from.

I will be testing two at the same time and comparing them:

I have used that last one before when I was using varnish, and I will do it again. In order to use it properly I have removed CDN service for my sites, and I will serve them directly from my server with Nginx. I have followed this guide to install and configure it.

Conclusion

I want to have some usage stats for my sites, but I want at the same time to respect visitor's privacy, so I will be turning Google Analytics off from my sites, and will start using AWstats and GoAccess to get those stats. The bonus is that my site will be lighter and less bloated.