Open source website statistics Piwik are pretty impressive


Until now I’ve mostly used awstats to monitor website statistics, mainly daily/monthly visitors, their origin and search terms. Today a friend and fellow student told me about the open source software for web analytics Piwik which offers a beautiful, well designed and feature-packed php/mysql-based backend. Installation is as easy as unpacking the downloaded zip and opening up the installation dialog in the browser. After setting up the mysql database and adding a superuser you’re good to go. To monitor a site you just set the URL in the Piwik backend and add some short JavaScript code to the html body of your webpage. Yes, this also means that you can monitor all your sites in the same backend, regardless if they’re on the same server or not.

Regarding features Piwik doesn’t leave much to desire: visitor graphs (beautiful!), detailed information on the user’s origin (search engine incl. search terms, website url), browser setups, the visit’s duration and provider. Even entry and exit pages, as well as automated reports via email and the option to add more functionality through widgets are included. It’s also possible to anonymize your visitor’s IP addresses to satisfy country specific privacy protection laws.

For WordPress users the plugin wp piwik (which is not developed by the same group of people) is also worth mentioning as it integrates smoothly into the WordPress backend by adding graphs and statistics to the dashboard.

What impresses me most, is that this multitude of features doesn’t make the interface clunky or difficult to use – which seems to be a common problem, especially with big open source projects. Again it’s just nice to find an open source project which is easy to install and meets or exceeds the requirements!