Getting stats…

Of course, one of the best things one can do when running a website is compile information about your website.  This not only helps you determine which articles are popular (and not popular), but also helps when seeking products and ad revenue from vendors.  They want to see how popular your site is, and where your demographics are.

Today I’m focusing on getting stats running, because there are several vendors that want to send me some new products, but they want to see updated stats.

I’ve been using SmarterStats for a long while, because it’s one of the best log analyzers on the Windows platform.  Urchin used to be a real good solution 5 years ago, but Google bought them out.  I don’t use Google Analytics because it relies on Javascript to gather information, and we all know that more and more people are turning scripts off, which makes this method inaccurate.

My license is for SmarterStats 3.0, which runs on .NET 1.1.  One of my servers is Windows Server 2003 64-bit.  There is no 64-bit version of .Net 1.1, so installing it totally messed up IIS… it downgraded to using .net 1.1, and is in 32-bit mode now.  It already caused some incompatibilities, and there are probably more that I haven’t found yet.  I’m thinking of moving all websites to a 32-bit server and using the 64-bit server as a dedicated SQL server anyway.

Just because SmarterStats runs on Windows doesn’t mean it’s a windows-only solution.  The software runs on Windows, yes, but the Enterprise version can pull logs from other servers, including Linux.  Some of my webmaster friends use Linux exclusively, so they are limited to some VERY limited log analyzers, like AWstats, mint, and a few others that barely give any useful information.

I’m importing over two years worth of logs… and OCMS gets so much traffic that each day’s log file can be a quarter of a gigabyte.  Importing all these logs takes time, and it seems like there’s an error that causes a hard stop, but there’s no way to tell for sure.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Smarterstats.  On one hand it’s some of the most powerful and thorough stats available, but on the other hand the service has been known to break mysteriously and stop importing.

I’m upgrading to version 4.0.3322, because they say they fixed an error where importing a huge list of log files can generate an error.  So far it seems to be importing a day’s worth of logs every few minutes… so it doesn’t seem to be hung up so far.

At this pace, I’ll be able to give the vendors the stats they need… and get some more products for review.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.