Piwik Tracking Tool

von f.beer@gentics.com am 23.10.2013

Piwik is an open source web analytics platform which is superior compared to other competitors like Google Analytics in quite a few points.

One advantage of this solution is the fact that you can keep all your statistics on your own servers. You can install Piwik on any common web server (requirements are only PHP and MySQL) and thus secure your important business data against snooping third parties. This seems especially important in light of recent NSA surveillance revelations.

To track website access and gain precise reports of your visitors behaviour, their system configuration, how and where they found or left your website and the distribution of your content on social media websites and search engines, you only have to insert one little piece of JavaScript code (incl. fallback on a transparent GIF image, if no JavaScript is available) on each of your pages.

Importing user data via web server access logs is possible as well, but you'll lose some infos about your visitors (screen resolution, browser plugins etc.) that are only accessible via client side JavaScript. Since Piwik is free of charge there are no restrictions in the number of user accounts or tracked websites. Because of this, the software is a prime candidate to deploy it as SaaS and provide it to your customers.

Real time statistics include:

  • Visiter Log: country, city, provider, operating system, browser plugins, referrer URL, number of actions on the site
  • Visits over time
  • Have visitors disappeared after one page, or did they click on more links
  • Which pages are visited most often
  • How did visitors find your site (search engines, social networks etc.)
  • Which sites link to your webpage
  • Which files are downloaded how often
  • Campaign tracking (e.g. clicks on website ads)
  • Goal conversions (e.g. user registrations)

    Some other useful features are:
  • PDF and HTML reports. Sent out automatically in daily, weekly or monthly intervals with fine control over the data density included in the reports.
  • E-commerce reporting for web shops, to track sales.
  • 404 Error & out link tracking, to see which links on your own webpage are wrong and which links lead visitors away from your site.
  • Custom variables: using Piwik's JavaScript API you can set arbitrary values for each visitor (e.g. "logged in" or "anonymous") to further segment the tracked data and gain new insights into your visitors behaviour.

What makes Piwik special is a common attribute of all open source software:

Its rapid and flexible development.

Since the source code is openly available and very easy to understand, there are countless developers working on new features and thus cater for constant improvement and enhancements of the software. The community has also already translated Piwik in over 48 different languages. It is also extremely easy to program your own plugins or integrate Piwik into third party software.

Piwik's website has a vast directory of modules and community plugins .

Very interesting for developers is the thoroughly documented API . With its help you can query the collected statistics data and for instance integrate them into your own CMS to show authors how well their content performs. On the other side you can use the API to further influence the way statistics are gathered on websites and adapt them to your individual needs.

Piwik is a very mature solution to free yourself from long-established third party providers and take the topic of website statistics into your own hands, without sacrificing function nor performance. On the whole the open architecture of this software offers significant advantages which could never be offered by closed source or third party solutions.

Website: http://www.piwik.org

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