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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.

Client side analytics are added to your website’s code, usually in Javascript, and run on your visitors’ browsers. The data provided is generally less accurate, since the script can be blocked by some browsers. The reports provided are targeted more for website owners and online marketers, and generally provide more actionable reports you can use to make business decisions. Google Analytics, a free service, is the most popular client side analytics service.

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.

Webalizer Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it possible to export reports to another program?

    While it cannot export data directly to another program, Webalizer allows you to export data in a tab-delimited text file, which can be utilized by other programs, such as Microsoft Excel. You can specify the path of the file, along with the type of data you want to export.

  • Can I set what time interval a log should be created for?

    Yes. You can set up incremental processes to limit the timeframe for each log. This will help keep the size of your logs manageable and can aid in developing routine analytics. To update the setting, use the Incremental keyword in your configuration file, or the –p command line. Additional information on formatting and precautions are available in the README file.

  • Can Webalizer look up host names even if my host does not?

    It is recommended that you utilize our web server to lookup host names. However, if your host does not support that or you simply have not enabled that feature, you can do so using Webalizer. Webalizer supports IPv4 and IPv6 reverse DNS lookup. Using Webalizer for host name lookup will cause an issue with your country totals, because those rely on the web server.

  • What is the difference between Hide and Ignore?

    Webalizer offers several ways you can customize the data logs. One of those is the Hide feature. Using this allows you to remove user agents, referrers, sites, URLs, and usernames from the “Top” tables that Webalizer generates. This information will still be counted toward your totals. If you want to completely remove these elements from your compiled totals, you need to use the Ignore option.

  • There’s a discrepancy between my daily and monthly visit totals. Why don’t they add up?

    Anytime you enter different reporting periods, you risk overlap. For instance, users that access your site at 11:57 pm will likely stay on your site past 12:00 am. Those users will then be counted once for each day, because they were technically there on two different days. However, they will only count once in your monthly total, because that was only one visit for the month.

  • What sort of support does Webalizer provide?

    Webalizer does not provide support directly. However, they have a number of resources available both on their website and in the install program, including the README file and online manual. There are also a number of third-party resources available, including online forums and support guides. If Webalizer was provided by your web host, they may also be able to assist.

  • Is there any software available that can provide an enhanced interface for Webalizer?

    Yes. Webalizer is distributed under GNU General Public License, so anyone is free to modify the code or develop shells to enclose it, including developing a graphical user interface (GUI). A quick google search will find a number of programs built off of Webalizer, including Webalizer GUI, which provides a basic, yet easy to navigate graphical interface.

  • By default, how often are log files created?

    Webalizer creates monthly usage statistics. However, you can also create incremental logs as frequently as you desire, without affecting your monthly summaries.

  • What type of output does Webalizer produce?

    Webalizer can produce a number of reports and graphics, including a main summary page, yearly graph, monthly summary, monthly usage graph, daily usage graphs, hourly usage graphs, and previous month history. It can also produce complete lists of sites, URLs, referrers, user agents, or search strings, previous month history, either in HTML format or tab-delimited text files. These files will include totals for hits, files, pages, sits, visits, amount of data sent out by the server (KBytes), and the top entry and exit pages.

  • What command line options are available?

    For a complete list of command line options, you should review the README file and documentation available on Webalizer’s website. To view available options from within the command line terminal, type -h.

  • Can I edit the “Top” tables?

    You can manually specify the number of entries to be displayed in each of the “Top” tables. Top tables exist for entry pages, exit pages, user agents, countries, referrers, sites, and URLs.

  • Can I pull statistics on a specific group of users?

    Yes. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. You could export the data and then create custom reports using a separate spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Or you could use the Group command to combine specific users, domains, agents, sites, etc. In this case, Webalizer will display combined statistics for those groups.

  • Can I customize the HTML output?

    Yes. You can add custom HTML scripts to add a company logo, include links, or apply a site-specific look to the output file. This can be particularly useful if you plan on auto-posting the data to your company intranet or need to use these reports for internal meetings or documentation.

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