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What is Webalizer?
Webalizer is a Web log analysis software that tracks and reports statistical information from your hosted website. It uses data from your server logs to generate Web analytics reports on your website traffic and visitors.
Distributed under the General Public License (GPL), the Webalizer software and complete source code is free and is often included pre-installed with many hosting plans. Webalizer was first developed in 1997 by Bradford L. Barrett, and is still considered to be one of the most commonly used administration tools.
Server Side vs. Client Side Analytics
Web analytics are an important measure of performance for any website. Besides measuring the volume of your web traffic, analytics can also give you insight into your visitor’s behavior and inform your entire online strategy. Because analytics are relied upon so heavily, the accuracy of a Web analytics service’s reports is extremely important.
There are a few different methods of gathering data on your website visitors, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. Of the most popular analytics applications and services, there are two main categories: server side and client side.
Webalizer falls under the category of server side analytics. As the name suggests, server side analytics software runs on the server, using the server logs as its sole source of data. Web logs track visitors by IP addresses, resulting in a highly accurate account of all traffic (including crawlers and bots) on your website. Server side analytics services are generally targeted towards system administrators, since the reports generated are basic raw numbers.
How Webalizer Works
Webalizer aggregates various data items from the access and log files produced during the website visit. The data extracted from the log files includes the visitor’s IP address, the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), URL paths, and processing time. Each page, or HTTP request, submitted by the browser is counted as a hit, while each successful HTTP request is counted as a file. The series of HTTP requests submitted by a visitor within a specified amount of time is counted as a visit.
All the data accumulated by Webalizer software is then analyzed, grouped together by type of item, and then made available as highly detailed, easily configurable usage reports. The reports are in HTML format for simplified viewing with a standard Web browser. Webalizer provides two kinds of reports, a detailed monthly report and a yearly summary report.
The top entry for each data type is presented on the standard HTML reports, for example, the top 20 URLs. Webalizer also provides the option to produce comma-delimited dump files for importing into spreadsheet applications for further manipulation and analysis. A Webalizer User Guide is also available to help interpret Webalizer reports.
Getting Started With Webalizer
Webalizer is easily configured using a command line application or through parameters of a configuration file. The README file provided with the source code includes a complete list of over one hundred configuration parameters. Additionally, Webalizer recognizes different file formats but will process log files in Custom Log Format (CLF) which is easily launched from the operating system (OS) shell prompt.
If your host comes with cPanel, you should be able to automatically configure Webalizer through cPanel without having to use a command line application. You may need to enable Webalizer before statistics are available, and it takes 24 hours to gather data after Webalizer is enabled before you can generate any reports. Check with your host if you’re unsure how to use Webalizer from cPanel, since the exact process can vary depending on the hosting company.
Webalizer Hosting Plans
Many hosting companies automatically include Webalizer pre-installed with their hosting plans. You can also download Webalizer for free from the official website, Webalizer.org, and install it yourself on your server.
If Webalizer is a priority for your website, be sure to check with your hosting provider before purchasing a plan to ensure they either provide or support Webalizer.