What are Log File Analysis and Page Tagging?

Normally we talk about web stats tools as one unique thing but in fact there are two very different technologies that most of web stats tool use, those are Log File Analysis and Page Tagging:

What are Log File Analysis and Page Tagging?
Log File Analysis:
Web log analysis software (also called a web log analyzer) is software that parses a log file from a web server (like Apache), and based on the values contained in the log file, derives indicators about who, when and how a web server is visited. The indicators reported by most of web log analyzers are:
o Number of visits and number of unique visitors
o Visits duration and last visits
o Authenticated users, and last authenticated visits
o Days of week and rush hours
o Domains/countries of host’s visitors
o Hosts list
o Most viewed, entry and exit pages
o Files type
o OS used
o Browsers used
o Robots
o Search engines, keyphrases and keywords used to find the analyzed web site
o HTTP errors
Some polular web analyzers are:
o Analog
o AWStats
o NetTracker
o SmarterStats
o Visitors
o Webalizer
o WebTrends
o W3Perl
o Urchin.

Page Tagging: Concerns about the accuracy of logfile analysis in the presence of caching, and the desire to be able to perform web analytics as an outsourced service, led to the second data collection method, page tagging.
In the mid 1990s, Web counters were commonly seen


  1. Hi. I would like to write a few words about packet sniffing used as data collecting approach for web analytics. I am quite involved with this problematics as my company develops technology intended for clickstream data processing and the data are acquired from network communication via packet sniffing. One of the most important advantage of such approach is the fact that it is non-intrusive technology (no server log integration, no painful page tagging). So there is no risks to deploy the sniffer into local network environment of servers to be tracked. Unlike server logs or page tagging, packet sniffing is completely transparent for tracked website(s) and is able to produce more complex and quality clickstream data than server logs or page tags.

  2. Thanks for your post Ivo, its great receiving visitors from the Czech Republic. On the other hand I think your approach is very interesting, I´d love to receive more information about it.

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