Google Analytics vs. Log File Analysis

We have had several questions recently regarding the difference between the statistics seen in Google Analytics and statistics available in our Control Panel. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain why there will always be some discrepancies.


AWStats

Let’s begin with the statistics you find within the IQnection Control Panel. Depending on your account and hosting service, you may see a variation of statistics. The one most clients see is Advanced Web Statistics also known as AWStats. These reports are available under the Hosting Tab - Detailed Site Statistics.

AWStats was designed years ago to help Network Engineers & System Administrators. The data is pulled from the ‘raw logs’ of the server that your website is running on, making these reports very basic.

The major difference between AWStats and Google Analytics is the way the data is collected. AWStats logs the data from the physical server - where Google Analytics logs data from the website itself.

Comparing data from the 2 sources will undoubtedly show discrepancies. When comparing Page Views or Hits, AWStats includes all page requests to the server. These ‘requests’ can include more than what we think of as viewing a web page. These requests can include images downloaded to be viewed on the web page and file downloads which can include ‘scripts’ from the code of the web page - not actually the web page. It is normal for these statistics to be inflated in AWStats. Another source causing the difference could be the Search Engine ‘bots’ crawling your site. These ‘bots’ would not trigger the code Google Analytics relies on for their statistics.


Google Analytics

Where AWStats is a log analysis tool, Google Analytics is intended to be a measure of your website performance providing you with statistics that you, as a business person, will want to see.

Google Analytics relies on cookies and JavaScript code to collect the data. In Google Analytics pages simply means the pages that you have put tracking code on. So with Google Analytics the pages means literally what you think of as a Page View.

To summarize, web stats usually sees what a server sees, while Google Analytics usually sees what a visitor sees.

We suggest you set up Google Analytics if you are serious about finding out more of what is happening on your website and using tools to improve profitability. It is a very robust analytics program and it is Free.

View our Glossary of Web Analytics Term - A Guide to Frequently Used Web Marketing Terms.

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