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Website Tracker Comparison


Comparison of

Urchin, Webalizer, Sawmill, Phpee, Extreme and Sitemeter

and brief mention of HitBox, WebTrends, and Omniture Site Catalyst
with screen shots of AWStats

Modified from a recent chat article... by Alan Pattinson, President, A-1 Pacific Websites.

Well, taking a quick look at Sawmill's webstats, they are a lot better than Webaliser!

I was going to suggest DeepMatrix, which I have looked at before, but their website is off...

I did a quick comparison of, and and My preference, in descending order would be Urchin first, then Sawmill, then AWStats, last would be Phpee.

Urchin Statistics

seems to have some great features that I could drill down with that gave some good results. They give excellent value for the cost. You can customize any range of dates or look at just one day. The easy-to-read graphs show more if you hover your mouse over some features, which will give more info about that item. Many features, graphs, or lists are exportable to Word, Excel, or tab-separated text.

It is possible to "drill down" with a certain search term to find out how your site visitors moved through your site, i.e., which pages they went to. This could be valuable for tracking your sales and marketing efforts.

NEW!  Pacific Websites now offers the top-rated Urchin stats with their hosting packages, for a small additional monthly charge. We provide the common Webalizer Statistics for free on all our hosting packages. Contact us for more information about this.

Screen shots of AWStats:



Page and files Navigation
 (click to enlarge)  
Search terms Browsers



  • gives good, basic statistics information
  • summarized by each month. If you have had Webalizer for over a year, you get a yearly summary
  • see a typical statistic: (click to enlarge)
  • does not give individual "where did that person come from" statistics



  • they don't have Google listed in the Search Engines? although the Googlebot is listed in the spiders. (2003)
  • they don't list all the search words together, for some reason the "single" words are separate from the "terms"
  • if you have access to your website's log files, you can try out Sawmill on them by downloading here:
  • their webpage:
  • One time charge of $99 for one installation. 5 or more, or students, are discounted


  • freeware
  • will record numbers of downloads (e.g. your zip files you offer to customers)
  • see their own web stats here - you will be able to see your own entry right at the top, showing your host, IP (computer number),  browser, operating system, resolution:


  •  not cheap (starting at $40 USD per month)
  • offers a ton of information about people's habits and preferences
  • place a snippet of their code on every page you want to track and then login to your account on the HitBox website to view your analytics at any time


  • quite expensive ($30/month?)
  • overkill for most web designers
  • better suited for large websites (like corporate intranets) that have a team of in-house web gurus.

Omniture Site Catalyst

  • you can tell where your people are coming from (something you can use on Overture to limit the ads displaying, and produce a better CTR)
  • tracks conversion of the clicks that come to your site. This will allow you to see if the clicks are really bringing cash in, and will allow you to calculate the true cost per conversion.


Presently, what I do for my clients is run two free programs, Extreme and Sitemeter. In the past, for my own website, I have paid for Sitemeter (still, it only shows last 1,000 visit details). The basic advantages of each are:

Extreme tracker

  • remembers all website referrers since first install.
  • lists all search terms since first install
  • has good overview of traffic numbers - increasing or decreasing
  • see the two most valuable features of Extreme tracker on this typical index: (click to enlarge)
  • they have a free version and a $5/month version
  • Extreme tracker sign-up page:
  • excellent value for the money (the free version!)


Sitemeter tracker

  • free version shows last 100 visit details, the paid version ($6.95/month or $59/year) shows data for the last 1,000 visitors. If you are getting 100 visitors/day, then you do not have accumulated information past 10 days - a serious drawback)
  • has good yearly/monthly graph of visitors
  • shows average time spent on site
  • live, current reports - sometimes you can see your own visit listed!
  • graph of time zones of visitors
  • individual visits: search terms, engine, time spent on site.
  • see a sample here:
  • Visit their FAQ page for some good general info about search statistics (e.g. what is the difference between a visit and a page view ?
  • Comparison between their free version and their paid version:

What I look for in a good web stats program:

  • Graph of visitors over time e.g.:
  • Listing of visitor's keywords (search strings)
  • Search engine used to find site
  • Which page was first accessed.
  • Which page was the last page accessed
  • How many 404's were found
  • entry pages
  • exit pages
  • time spent per page, and average
  • visitor id by name, not number
  • all website referrers

What I am NOT interested in (I'm a marketer, not a tech!):

  • hits (of course the pages with images will show lots of hits, but visitors - yes, yes, show me the visitor numbers),
  • bandwidth, files, Kbytes, User agents...
  • Big vote here for Urchin.

Alan Pattinson

All prices quoted are in US dollars.


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Comox, British Columbia,
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