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.
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 Iâ€™m going to brief down the advantage of log file analysis method
Advantages of log file analysis
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 donâ€™t have burden of installing a script in each and every page / blog.
Less Analysis. It doesnâ€™t give you more detailed analysis; you have mostly do analysis manually.
Here is the list of web log file analysis software.
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 is a fast and free web server log file analysis program. It produces HTML reports using tables. It has more detailed reporting.
Analog is pretty old web log analysis software among others. The data reports are made mostly using text formats.
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 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
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.