Open Source Analytics

I recently discovered a cool little analytics program called Piwik. It claims to be an open-source alternative to Google Analytics, and so I decided to try it out.

I installed a copy of it on both my professional site (here at endressanalytics.com) and on my personal blog site (gabsplace.com). Installation was pretty easy, keeping in mind that I had to create a MySQL database for it as part of the installatin process. That’s the first difference I noticed from Google Analytics – Piwik is installed and hosted on your own server (not hosted remotely like Google Analytics is).

Once I completed the installations I ran some tests and for a pleasant surprise came to find that Piwik also gives you real-time data, something Google Analytics does not (the Google Analytics data is updated about once per day). Having access to real-time data can be very useful, especially if you need to troubleshoot traffic issues.

With all that being said, Piwik does still have some limitations … I see no way to correlate data, or do detailed campaign tracking or analysis. However this is a “work in progress” and as the software evolves (as open source software is wont to do), it will be interesting to see if these and other features will be added.

For now its a nice supplement to Google Analytics, especially if you want to get a sense of real-time traffic data.

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