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The Webalizer User Guide: Help & Supporting Information for The Webalizer

What Does This User Guide Cover?

This user guide is intended to provide general information and help for users of The Webalizer. It is intended to explain what statistics are displayed and how the data can be used to provide an insight into the activity of the web site, for the purpose of marketing analysis and future web development. This manual does not provide information on how to install or configure the Webalizer. Information regarding installation and configuration of The Webalizer is available from the developer's web site. Download The Webalizer software here.

Please note that due to the highly configurable nature of the Webalizer, this user guide covers standard installation only.

Please do not reproduce all or any part of this documentation without permission. Links to this documentation online are welcome.

This Webalizer user guide covers:

What is The Webalizer?
The Usage Statistics Overview Page
The Monthly Usage Statistics Page
Monthly, Daily and Hourly Statistics Summary
Daily Usage Statistics
Hourly Usage Statistics
Top and Total Number of URLs
Top and Total Number of URLs by Kbytes
Top and Total Number of Entry Pages
Top and Total Number of Exit Pages
Top and Total Number of Sites
Top and Total Sites by Kbytes
Top and Total Referrers
Top and Total Search Strings
Top and Total Usernames
Top and Total User Agents
Top and Total Countries

What is The Webalizer?

The Webalizer is a freeware software package which interprets a web site's log file data and displays this data in HTML format. Its is a highly configurable application which can be deployed on both Windows and Unix platforms. The Webalizer can be installed on a web server to provide statistics online, or can be installed on a local hard disc to provide statistics offline. The Webalizer web log analysis software was created by Bradford L. Barrett (Read further information on The Webalizer.)

The Usage Statistics Overview Page

The Usage Statistics Overview page details:

  1. The web site to which the statistics are applicable (displayed in the title)
  2. The summary period for the statistics (for example, "last 12 months")
  3. The last time the statistics were generated (date and time stamp)

This information is displayed in the top left of Usage Statistics Overview page (see below). The Usage Statistics Overview page also displays graphical and tabular usage summary data for each month in the summary period (for example 12 months). This information provides a quick digest of the site's activity month by month.

Graphical Usage Summary
The graphical usage summary provides a quick method of visual comparison of site activity on a month-by-month basis in terms of Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded).

The Graphs
The summary data is displayed via separate graphs which group and compare: Pages, Files and Hits; Visits and Sites; and Kbytes. The highest value thus far in the summary period for each grouping is displayed numerically at the top of each graph to provide an indication of range.

Tabular Usage Summary
The tabular usage summary provides numeric details of site activity on a month-by-month basis in terms of both Daily Averages Summaries and Monthly Totals Summaries in the Summary By Month table. These statistics can be viewed in conjunction with the graphical usage summary (see above) in order to provide a detailed overview of the site's monthly and daily activity in terms of: Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites (for Daily Average Summary) and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) (for Monthly Totals Summary).

Totals for the summary period thus far in terms of Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) is displayed embolden at the bottom of the Summary By Month table.

Monthly Usage Statistics Page

To access and view detailed statistics on site activity for a given month, follow the link underneath the month in the Month column displayed in the Summary by Month table on the Usage Statistics Overview page (see above). The Monthly Usage Statistics page is displayed.

This page displays details for the site's activity for the selected month, in terms of: Monthly, daily and hourly statistics; Top (and total number) of URLs accessed; Top (and total number) of URLs accessed by Kbytes; Top (and total number) of entry pages accessed; Top (and total number) of exit pages accessed; Top (and total number) of sites accessed; Top (and total number) of sites accessed by Kbytes; Top (and total number) of referrers; Top (and total number) of search strings; Top (and total number) of usernames; Top (and total number) of user agents and Top (and total number) of countries.

Short-cut links to each of these sections can be found at the top of the Monthly Usage Statistics page. Follow the link beneath each section title to view the statistics specific to that section.

Monthly, Daily and Hourly Statistics Summary

A summary of monthly, daily and hourly statistics is provided in the "Monthly Statistics for…" table displayed at the top of the Monthly Usage Statistics page. This table details statistics for the total number of: Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) for the selected month and reflects the data displayed on the Usage Statistics Overview page (see above). Please note: Definitions of these terms can be found in the Glossary of Terms at the end of this documentation.

The "Monthly Statistics for…" table also displays average and maximum values for: Hits per hour/day, Files (Accessed) per day, Pages (Viewed) per day, (Unique) Visits per day, (Unique) Sites per day and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) per day. This data can be used to ascertain daily averages for comparison with specific daily or monthly activity (e.g. for the purpose of measuring the success of web campaigns by comparison with an average month's activity - see below), or to compare average and/or maximum statistics (to identify daily/monthly trends).

Further, the "Monthly Statistics for…" table displays "Hits by Response Code". Server responses indicate whether or not a web "object" (web page, graphics file, CGI script etc.) was successfully retrieved or executed and if not, why not. This data can be used to monitor the integrity of the web site, the efficiency of the web server and identify any general problems which occur when web objects (files) are accessed.

The following are definitions of the most common responses which may be of interest:(Read further information about server status codes from the WC3):

  1. Code 200 - OK: The request was fulfilled.
    The web page was successfully downloaded without error

  2. Code 401 - Unauthorised: The parameter to this message gives a specification of authorization schemes which are acceptable.
    Indicates that users have tried to access pages which are restricted to a private network or IP address.

  3. Code 404 - Not Found: The server has not found anything matching the URI given.
    Can indicate broken links in the web site due to the removal of a web page or other resource. Alternatively, the response may indicate spelling errors in the URL.

  4. Code 403- Forbidden: The request is for something forbidden.
    Indicates that users have tried to access pages which require user authorisation, for example, password-protected administration areas or members areas.

  5. Code 500 - Internal Error: The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.
    Request failed. Often indicates a script error.

Source: World Wide Web Consortium 1992. Read more information regarding server response codes from the WC3.org web site.

Daily Usage Statistics

Daily usage statistics are displayed in both graphical and tabular format. This data can be used to ascertain trends over a selected month (for example, on which days of the week the site is most active) or to monitor the effect of a web campaign over that month, (for example, by comparison with the mean daily average for that month - see above).

Graphical Daily Usage Statistics
The graphical usage summary provides a quick method of visual comparison of site activity on a daily basis over the selected month in terms of Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded).

The Graphs
The summary data is displayed via separate graphs which group and compare: Pages, Files and Hits; Visits and Sites; and Kbytes. The highest value thus far in the summary period for each grouping is displayed numerically at the top of each graph to provide an indication of range. Note that weekdays (date) are displayed in black along the X axis of the graph, whereas weekends are displayed in green.

Tabular Daily Usage Statistics
Tabular daily usage statistics provide numeric details of site activity on a daily basis over the selected month. These statistics can be viewed in conjunction with the graphical daily usage statistics (see above) in order to provide a detailed overview of the site's daily activity in terms of: Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Unique) Visits, (Unique) Sites (for Daily Average Summary) and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) (for Monthly Totals Summary). The date for each daily summary is available from the first column (far left) entitled Day.

Hourly Usage Statistics

Hourly usage statistics are displayed in both graphical and tabular format. This data can be used to ascertain trends over an average day in the selected month (for example, the 'peak times' for site activity, i.e. during which hours of the day the site is most frequently accessed)

Graphical Hourly Usage Statistics
The graphical usage statistics provide a quick method of visual comparison of site activity on an hourly basis over an average day in the selected month in terms of Hits, Files (Accessed) and Pages (Viewed).

The Graph
The summary data is displayed via one graph which compares: Pages, Files and Hits. The highest value thus far in the summary period is displayed numerically at the top of the graph to provide an indication of range. Note that hours (24 hour clock) are displayed along the X axis of the graph.

The number of Hits, Files, Pages, Visits, Sites or Kbytes recorded for each day proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files, Pages, Visits, Sites or Kbytes thus far, is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual daily value.

Tabular Hourly Usage Statistics
Tabular hourly usage statistics provide numeric details of site activity on an hourly basis over an average day in the selected month. These statistics can be viewed in conjunction with the graphical hourly usage statistics (see above) in order to provide a detailed overview of the site's average and maximum hourly activity in terms of: Hits, Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded). The hour (24 hour clock) for each hourly summary is available from the first column (far left) entitled Hour.

The number of Hits, Files, Pages, Sites or Kbytes recorded for each hour proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files, Pages, Sites or Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the total hourly value.

Top and Total Number of URLs

The top and total number of URLs (web files requested) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (requests) and Kbytes (downloaded). This data can be used to ascertain the most frequently requested URLs (or most popular files/pages downloaded by users). Further, this data can be used to determine the information or resources of most interest to users.

The number of Hits or Kbytes recorded for each URL proportionate to the total number of Hits or Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value. Note that individual URLs can be viewed by following the link beneath the URL in the URL column.

Top and Total Number of URLs by Kbytes

Just as the total and top number of URLs above, the top and total number of URLs by Kbytes (Downloaded) are displayed in a tabular format and are ranked according to the most Hits (requests) and Visits. Unlike the top and total number of URLs, this data can be used to ascertain the resources which have utilised the most bandwidth (i.e. have the highest Kbytes downloaded).

If compared with the top and total number of URLs, this data may indicate that either a resource is immensely popular (i.e. has been downloaded significantly more times than any other resources) or that a popular resource has a far higher file size than the average files sizes in the site (for example, under optimised PDF files).

The number of Hits or Kbytes recorded for each URL by Kbytes proportionate to the total number of Hits or Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value. Note that individual URLs can be viewed by following the link beneath the URL in the URL column.

Top and Total Number of Entry Pages

The top and total number of entry pages (the first URL requested per visit) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (requests) and Visits. This data can be used to ascertain the most popular pages of entry to the site, which further indicate the primary tasks of site users.

The number of Hits or Visits recorded for each entry page (URL) proportionate to the total number of Hits or Visits is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value. Note that individual entry pages can be viewed by following the link beneath the entry page in the URL column.

Top and Total Number of Exit Pages

The top and total number of exit pages (the last URL requested per visit) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (requests) and Visits. This data can be used to ascertain the pages most frequently viewed by users before leaving the site. If compared with top and total entry pages, the data can indicate whether users are browsing the site or just visiting to use or view a particular resource.

The number of Hits or Visits recorded for each exit page (URL) proportionate to the total number of Hits or Visits is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value. Note that individual exit pages can be viewed by following the link beneath the exit page in the URL column.

Top and Total Number of Sites

The top and total number of sites (unique IP addresses) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (Requests made), Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) and hostname (IP address). It is important to understand that Sites represent the source of requests made to the server from a unique IP address, and not the last web page viewed prior to this visit (or referring URL - see below).

This data can be used as an indication of traffic from private networks (for example, commercial business). However, as most users access the web via an ISP (Internet Service Provider), the data should not be considered indicative of individual computers (i.e. individual users) accessing the site. Note: Sites can also include web spiders, robots and crawlers.

The number of Hits, Files, Pages and Kbytes recorded for each site (IP address) proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files, Pages and Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

Top and Total Sites by Kbytes

Just as the total and top number of Sites (above), the top and total number of Sites by Kbytes (Downloaded) are displayed in a tabular format and are ranked according to the most Hits (Requests made), Files (Accessed), Pages (Viewed), (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded) and hostname (IP address). It is important to understand that Sites represent the source of requests made to the server from a unique IP address, and not the last web page viewed prior to this visit (or referring URL - see below).

Unlike the top and total number of Sites, this data can be used to ascertain the sites which have utilised the most bandwidth (i.e. have downloaded the highest number of Kbytes from the site during the summary period).

The number of Hits, Files, Pages and Kbytes recorded for each site (IP address) proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files, Pages and Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

Top and Total Referrers

The top and total number of referrers (referring URLs) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (Requests made). This data can be used to ascertain the most popular referring URLs to the site (i.e. the last web page viewed prior to this visit).

This data can be used to ascertain the most popular referring URLs (i.e. pages which provide a direct link to the web site. Note: these pages can include search engines). Further, the data indicates the total number of referring or inbound links for the summary period.

The number of Hits recorded for each referring URL (referring web page) proportionate to the total number of Hits is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value. Where a user has typed the site's domain name directly into the address bar on their browser, The Webalizer records a value of (Direct Request) in the Referrer column. Note that individual referring web pages can be viewed by following the link beneath the referring URL in the Referrer column.

Top and Total Search Strings

Top and total search strings are displayed in a tabular format and are ranked according to Hits (Requests made). As the search string is obtained from the end of the referrer (see above), the referring search engine for the more popular search strings can be surmised from the higher ranking search engine URLs listed in the top and total referrers table. This data can be used to inform keyword strategies for the web site.

The number of Hits recorded for each search string (keyword) proportionate to the total number of Hits is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

Top and Total Usernames

Top and total usernames are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to Hits (Requests made), Files (Accessed), (Unique) Visits and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded). The Webalizer records all access by authorised users (any user with access to password-protected web resources in the web site, e.g. site members or administrators). Authorised users can be identified from the username displayed in the Username column (far right). This data can be used to ascertain which authorised users are most active in the summary period.

The number of Hits, Files, Visits and Kbytes recorded for each authorised user (IP address) proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files, Visits and Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

Top and Total User Agents

The top and total number of user agents (principally browsers but includes web spiders, robots and crawlers) are displayed in tabular format and are ranked according to most Hits (Requests made). This data can be used to ascertain the most popular user agents accessing the site, the operating system/platform on which the software is running (and sometimes the language).

The number of Hits recorded for each user agent proportionate to the total number of Hits is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

Top and Total Countries

Top and total countries (source of the Site requesting files - see above for further information on Sites) are displayed in both graphical and tabular format. This data indicates the country of origin of users accessing the site. Note: as Sites often resolve as ISP (Internet Service Provider) IP addresses, the statistics provided can be considered as a guide to point of origin, rather than definitive data.

Graphical Countries Summary

The Graph
The summary data is displayed as a pie chart which compares all recorded countries of origin for requests made over the summary period (as percentages). Note: IP addresses which do not provide information regarding point of origin or whose point of origin cannot be determined are displayed as 'Unresolved/Unknown'. IP addresses with a percentage lower than one percent of the total, are grouped together and displayed as 'Other' on the pie chart.

Tabular Countries Summary
The tabular countries summary provides numeric details of the point of origin for requests made to the web server for the summary period (thus far).

These statistics can be viewed in conjunction with the graphical countries summary (see above) in order to provide a more detailed overview of the origins of requests made in terms of: Hits (Request made), Files (Accessed) and (Total Number of) Kbytes (Downloaded). The number of Hits, Files and Kbytes recorded for each user agent proportionate to the total number of Hits, Files and Kbytes is expressed as a percentage to the right of the actual value.

About the Author

Ralph Windsor is a senior partner in digital asset management implementation consultants, Daydream. He has eighteen years experience of delivering DAM and content technology solutions acquired as a developer, project manager and consultant working with global clients such as WS Atkins, Major League Baseball, BNP Paribas and The British Museum.

To find out more about Daydream and our service, please email info@daydream.co.uk or telephone us on: +44 (0)20 7096 1471.