Web log analysis software and top 5

Every blogger or site owners would be aware of advantage and importance of Web Analytics. Which tool to use? It is one of the important decisions everyone should take before starting up a blog or a site.

Web Analytics widely has two approaches log file analysis and page tagging. The later is more popular these days and huge number of people tends to ignore the former. Tagging approach would add some JavaScript snippet into your blog/ site to collect the visitor data. There are several 3-rd party tools available today to facilitate tagging methodology, like Google Analytics, StatsCounter, etc.

Log file analysis approach is normally in-house and they reside within the web server itself. The analysis is based on the web server log file.

Here I’m going to brief down the advantage of log file analysis method

Advantages of log file analysis

Fast. You don’t have a burden of executing extra JavaScript code on your site; web server logs every possible transaction related to the site.

Reliable. You don’t have to rely upon user’s browser to collect their data. JavaScript may not work in some browsers or it can be disabled.

Error Information. Web server log files captures every error message and failed requests which tagging method fails and technically impossible to achieve with page tagging. Also you would be able to track hot linking information.

Spider Details. Log files also captures the spider information. It would give you the idea about how many pages were indexed and how much bandwidth it consumed etc. This might give you an idea of spider that eats your bandwidth and you can block them using robots.txt if you want.

Privacy. The log file details are kept within your server and not shared to 3-rd party.

Ease. You don’t have burden of installing a script in each and every page / blog.

Limitation

Less Analysis. It doesn’t give you more detailed analysis; you have mostly do analysis manually.

Here is the list of web log file analysis software.

web log file analyzer

AWStats

AWStats is one of the well-known open source web analytics-reporting tools. AWStats parses and analyzes the server log files and produces tables and bar graph output. The web reporting is done through a CGI script. AWStats would with most of the web server log format.

Webalizer

Webalizer is a fast and free web server log file analysis program. It produces HTML reports using tables. It has more detailed reporting.

Analog

Analog is pretty old web log analysis software among others. The data reports are made mostly using text formats.

W3Perl

W3Perl is more advanced free log file analyzer that allows you to gather HTTP, FTP and Email log files. It is written in Perl language and would work in any server with Perl support.

Visitors

Visitors is a very fast web log analyzer for Linux, Windows, and other Unix-like operating systems. It takes as input a web server log file, and outputs statistics in form of different reports

Special Addition

FeedStater

FeedStater is an only available feed statistics tool for self hosted feeds. FeedStater is written in CGI and it will read the log file to report the feed statistics.

Also you should be aware of the fact Urchin is one the popular log file analyzer software and latter it was acquired by Google for its analytics.

Bottom line, I would say log file analyzer would be the best methodology but it should be used along with more advanced page tagging method to gain more insight on Web Analytics.

Have you ever used any log file analyzer before? Share your thoughts.

27 thoughts on “Web log analysis software and top 5”

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  2. Personally I just use statcounter. It does a decent enough job, but to get a decent reading of your logs you have to pay for a premium package. My host does a decent job with built in log stats, so I don’t really need any other packages. I used to use Google’s Analytics, but found it slowed down my pages loading times. I also find that Google Sitemaps has some nice stats too.

  3. Nirmal – You’re welcome 🙂 Lot of addicts huh?

    Madhur Kapoor – Awstats gives you very decent details.

    Tech Rant – sometimes installing 3rd party stats would slow down your site. I have faced this before with MyBlogLog stats.

    Shankar Ganesh – Thank you 🙂

  4. Bush Machel – Yes, I have heard about it and their PRO account comes with 30$ monthly subscription. I have seen lot of probloggers using it effectively. BTW, what I have listed here is the unnoticed part of Web Analytics using log file analysis. Mint would also fall under page tagging methodology. However Mint is a great tool!

  5. I agree Web Analytics is very important for any web business.
    Using the right tool is equally important. I have tried numerous tools on the web , but I am in love with GoStats.com , it is really easy and simple to use and maintain.

  6. Bendict that was one nice compilation I must say 🙂 I think Google Analytics has lost the charm that it used to have before therefore we should switch to some reliable web analytics software like the ones you mentioned above

    By the way I think you might have heard about the new statistics tool that Microsoft is launching soon. I wonder how will that be 😀

  7. Steve – I really doubt if you’re able to achieve complete analytics using Gostats.

    DJ Flush – Thank you mate. having options wide open is good too. Microsoft’s Gatineau rt? I’m waiting for it.

    Brown Baron – You’re always not alone 🙂

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  9. Right on the money, ben. but, these are not very helpful for analysis, as it counts any page request, and hence you get those other than humans(bots).

    also, time of page read, from, to etc. will not be there, right?

  10. kuanhoong – Agreed. Getting addticted to too many will slow down you web site as well 🙂 but no worries in log analysis method.

    Sumesh – you’re correct, I have mentioned it. It should be used in conjuction with other tools for better results. Sometimes you need to know information about bots too 🙂 Timing information will be present though.

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  12. I just got to your blog now for my first time, I think it’s great! Will sure be bookmarking you here. Keep us updated!

  13. Very well written Ben.. I do use Webalizer, but I ran into some problems with it on my server and I switched to AW stats..

  14. I don’t feel that Google Analytics is for me. I compared the analytics tool I use (Logdy.com) with Statcounter and found that Logdy beats Statcounter in every detail. So I use Logdy.

  15. I think Google Analytics has lost the charm that it used to have before therefore we should switch to some reliable web analytics software like the ones you mentioned above………

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