Webalizer VS AWStats – A Comprehensive Look
Along with designing, developing and maintaining a web site, keeping a good eye on the statistical information gathered by a web site is also a good practice. Web site statistics can tell a web site owner what they are doing right and what they could improve upon, what is popular and not so popular on the web site, and a huge amount of other data that can be used to add or modify an existing web site.
Two heavy hitters in the web statistical analysis game are Webalizer and AWStats. Both programs are exceedingly popular and are more than capable of retrieving and presenting web site data in a way that makes reading statistical data easy.
AWStats is developed within Perl and has the ability to not only analyze web logs but also FTP and mail logs. The data analysis program also is capable of reporting granular data – web compression statistical data, java support, and screen sizes are a few listed on the AWStats web site.
The AWStats program can be run from either a CGI script or directly from the command line. The configuration file is easy to work with and only needs two setting changes – where the log files can be located and where the AWStats web icons are located. After these changes are noted and if the program will be run using the CGI script, it is necessary to ensure there is an accessible CGI-BIN. This should be the same as what is called out within the Apache httpd.conf file.
AWStats is simple to configure and easy to run. The overall feel of the program is that of a commercial web statistical analyzer and the default GUI is very graphical. As an added bonus, AWStats offers the ability to export data into an XML format. There are also a number of configurations that can be set to make the program show data and graphs in a way that is pleasing and understandable to the web site owner.
The Webalizer web statistical analyzing program is developed in C and is limited to analyzing data from the server web logs. It lacks the granular data capability that is built into AWStats.
As a default, Webalizer installs directly under the Apache root directory and the configuration file is placed directly under the /etc/ folder. Once the configuration file has been edited to properly show log file paths, the program is ready to run. The Webalizer program is run directly from the command prompt.
Once running, Webalizer will show a summary page with the year’s months listed out for more specific data. Each month page will show data and information on page visits, bandwidth and much more. The overall format is easy to read and somewhat modifiable via the configuration file. Webalizer shows information in bar and pie graphs. One downside to the program is its need to be configured on a periodic basis – usually through a cron daemon.
For ease of use and the ability to run either on the command line or via a CGI file, AWStats is the clear winner in this comparison. While both are very easy to use and present data in a simple graphical manner, AWStats has a bit more flexibility and more options to work with.