The Efficacy of Webalizer
Creating and managing a website goes beyond simply putting up pages and hoping the on-line viewing masses will come. To truly get an idea of how effective one’s website is, how it is being accessed, and if it is being returned to, it makes good business sense to incorporate some form of statistical analysis program into the website in question. There are a number of programs available on the Internet that will get the job done. One of the most popular and widely-known web statistical analyzing programs is Webalizer.
Written in C, speedy and very portable, Webalizer has been the statistical analyzing program of choice for many website owners. The program effectively reads log files created by the web server and creates visual graphs and representations of the traffic generated by the website.
How Webalizer Works
To get an idea of what is involved with web log files, each time a visitor lands on a web page, the web server logs specific information regarding hits, files, and pages. Within each web page, one can expect to see text as well as images. One visit can count as one page request, several file requests (images), and a combination of these as “hits” (page plus image files). The raw data generated can be overwhelmingly confusing to read and comprehend – that’s where Webalizer steps in.
Webalizer takes the raw data presented in the log files and arranges them into easy-to-read pages with graphs and charts outlining each aspect of the log statistics. Two kinds of reports are generated by the program – detailed monthly reports and a yearly summary report.
Monthly and Yearly Reports
The detailed monthly reports generated by Webalizer show the overall number of website hits, page requests, file requests, hosts and more. Each monthly report shows daily and aggregated hourly reports, reports based on URLs, hosts, and entry and exit URLs. Additionally, referring information, search string results, browser types and even country information can be displayed.
Webalizer’s yearly report shows an overall conglomeration of the previous twelve months and provides data regarding total number of visits, page requests, averages and much more.
Another nice benefit of Webalizer is its internationalization. The program is currently available in over thirty different languages including French, Greek, Swedish, Spanish, and many more. The ability to generate reports in these different languages is available through a separate Webalizer binary that has been compiled specifically for the language of choice.
A few criticisms have been made regarding the Webalizer program. Mainly, there is a concern that the program does not differentiate between actual human visitors and robots (often sent by search engines). This can cause statistics to be skewed a bit and in some cases the data produced is 200-900% higher than the data produced by comparable statistical analyzers.
All in all, most using Webalizer express an extreme satisfaction over the program and its resulting data representation