After much deliberation (not that much) Google Analytics no longer works for me.
The statistics speak for themselves, and they show that Google Analytics is not accurate. The margin of error on my low traffic volume site is incredible, so image what kind of inaccurate statistics it produces on a high volume website.
The two websites in question, the one you’re reading and Sababah.com, is hosted on my HostGator account and that comes with Awstats. Awstats is a statistics programme that analyses server logs and produces easy-to-understand graphs and statistics about visitors to the sites.
As it sits on my server and references the server logs (a place where the server goes “I served this file, and this file, and this file…”), it’s likely 100% accurate. The statistics it produces is based on files served and is thus, in a sense, independent from the website visitor. It doesn’t go, “oh, here’s a visitor, let’s count it”, but instead it goes to the logs once a day and counts the amount of files that were already served, it also counts the amount of unique IP addresses and then formulates a visitor count from these.
But don’t worry about your privacy, it doesn’t identify any one particular visitor as such, it produces the statistics as a whole, so your privacy is not invaded.
Google Analytics on the other hand, sits just above the closing </body> tag of the page and references the Google server that counts the visit. Google claims to have the most computing power in the world, but they don’t sponsor the Internet connection between my website and the Googleplex. This means that visitors are only counted if the page loads in full, and that will only happen if it can successfully connect to the Google server.
The Internet is not a perfect place and sometimes connections time out – in fact, by the looks of it, it happens quite often. And if the connection is not completed, the visitor is not counted. And that’s how Google Analytics become quite inaccurate.
So, as the two websites above have Awstats running anyway, I don’t need Google Analytics to give me half arsed statistics about who visits my website.
The upside is, the web pages now loads faster too.