I need help understanding AWStats

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I need help understanding AWStats

Last updated September 13th, 2010

This article will introduce and clarify some of the terms and phrases used by AWStats and by website statistics tools in general. For additional reading we recommend the AWStats Documentation.

Unique Visitors

A unique visitor is a host that has made at least 1 hit on 1 page of your web site during the current period shown by the report.

If this host make several visits during this period, it is counted only once.

The period shown by AWStats reports is by default the current month.

Visits

Number of Visits made by all Unique Visitors.

A Visit refers to each time a visitor accesses the website. During that one visit, or session, they may look at a number of Pages in the site. This counts as a single visit.

AWStats will count page views as part of the same visit if there is no more than 60 minutes between each page view. So if a visitor comes back 2 hours later to the website, this is counted as a new Visit. But if they came back 20 minutes later it is counted as part of the same visit.

Page Views

The number of individual "pages" viewed.

By default all files and folders on a website are counted as a "Page" unless the files have one of the following extensions:

  • css
  • js
  • class
  • gif
  • jpg
  • jpeg
  • png
  • bmp
  • rss
  • xml
  • swf

Hits

All files requested from the server. This includes Pages, Images, CSS, JavaScript and other files.

Bandwidth

Total number of bytes downloaded.

Entry Page

The first page viewed by a visitor during their visit.

Note: When a visit spans the end of one month and the start of the next, you might have an Entry page for that month report but no corresponding Exit page for that visit. This explains why the number of Entry pages can be different to the number of Exit pages.

Exit Page

Last page viewed by a visitor during its visit.

Note: When a visit spans the end of one month and the start of the next, you might have an Entry page for that month report but no corresponding Exit page for that visit. This explains why the number of Entry pages can be different to the number of Exit pages.

Session Duration

The time a visitor spent on your site for each visit.

Some Visits Durations are 'unknown' because they can't always be calculated.

Grabber

A browser that is used primarily for copying locally an entire site. These include for example "teleport", "webcapture", "webcopier"...

Add To Favourites

This value, available in the "miscellanous chart", reports an estimated value of the number of times a visitor has added your web site into its favourite bookmarks.

The technical rules for that is the following formula:

Number of Add to Favourites = round((x y) / r) where x = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/anydir/favicon.ico", with a referer field not defined, and with no 404 error code y = Number of hits made by IE browsers for "/favicon.ico", with a referer field not defined, with or without 404 error code r = Ratio of hits made by IE browsers compared to hits made by all browsers (r <= 1)

As you can see in formula, only IE is used to count reliable "add", the "Add to favourites" for other browsers are estimated using ratio of other browsers usage compared to ratio of IE usage. The reason is that only IE do a hit on favicon.ico ONLY when a user add the page to its favourites. The other browsers make hits on this file also for other reasons so we can't count one "hit" as one "add" since it might be a hit for another reason. AWStats differentiate also hits with error and not to avoid counting multiple hits made recursively in upper path when favicon.ico file is not found in deeper directory of path.

HTTP Status Codes

HTTP status codes are returned by web servers to indicate the status of a request. Codes 200 and 304 are used to tell the browser the page can be viewed. All other codes generates hits and traffic 'not seen' by the visitor. For example a return code 301 or 302 will tell the browser to ask another page. The browser will do another hit and should finaly receive the page with a return code 200 and 304. All codes that are 'unseen' traffic are isolated by AWStats in the HTTP Status report chart, enabled by the directives ShowHTTPErrorsStats. in config file. You can also change value for 'not error' hits (set by default to 200 and 304 with the ValidHTTPcodes directive. The following table outlines all status codes defined for the HTTP/1.1 draft specification outlined in IETF rfc 2068.

They are 3-digit codes where the first digit of this code identifies the class of the status code and the remaining 2 digits correspond to the specific condition within the response class. They are classified in 5 categories:

1xx Class - Informational

Informational status codes are provisional responses from the web server... they give the client a heads-up on what the server is doing. Informational codes do not indicate an error condition.

100 100 Continue
The continue status code tells the browser to continue sending a request to the server. 
101 101 Switching Protocols
The server sends this response when the client asks to switch from HTTP/1.0 to HTTP/1.1 

2xx Class - Successful

This class of status code indicates that the client's request was received, understood, and successful.

200 200 Successful
201 201 Created
202 202 Accepted
203 203 Non-Authorative Information
204 204 No Content
205 205 Reset Content
206 206 Partial Content
The partial content success code is issued when the server fulfills a partial GET request. This happens when the client is downloading a multi-part document or part of a larger file. 

3xx Class - Redirection

This code tells the client that the browser should be redirected to another URL in order to complete the request. This is not an error condition.

300 300 Multiple Choices
301 301 Moved Permanently
302 302 Moved Temporarily
303 303 See Other
304 304 Not Modified
305 305 Use Proxy

4xx Class - Client Error

This status code indicates that the client has sent bad data or a malformed request to the server. Client errors are generally issued by the webserver when a client tries to gain access to a protected area using a bad username and password.

400 400 Bad Request
401 401 Unauthorized
402 402 Payment Required
403 403 Forbidden
404 404 Not Found
405 400 Method Not Allowed
406 400 Not Acceptable
407 400 Proxy Authentication Required
408 400 Request Timeout
409 409 Conflict
410 410 Gone
411 411 Length Required
412 412 Precondition Failed
413 413 Request Entity Too Long
414 414 Request-URI Too Long
415 415 Unsupported Media Type

5xx Class - Server Error

This status code indicates that the client's request couldn't be succesfully processed due to some internal error in the web server. These error codes may indicate something is seriously wrong with the web server.

500 500 Internal Server Error
An internal server error has caused the server to abort your request. This is an error condition that may also indicate a misconfiguration with the web server. However, the most common reason for 500 server errors is when you try to execute a script that has syntax errors. 
501 501 Not Implemented
This code is generated by a webserver when the client requests a service that is not implemented on the server. Typically, not implemented codes are returned when a client attempts to POST data to a non-CGI (ie, the form action tag refers to a non-executable file). 
502 502 Bad Gateway
The server, when acting as a proxy, issues this response when it receives a bad response from an upstream or support server. 
503 503 Service Unavailable
The web server is too busy processing current requests to listen to a new client. This error represents a serious problem with the webserver (normally solved with a reboot). 
504 504 Gateway Timeout
Gateway timeouts are normally issued by proxy servers when an upstream or support server doesn't respond to a request in a timely fashion. 
505 505 HTTP Version Not Supported
The server issues this status code when a client tries to talk using an HTTP protocol that the server doesn't support or is configured to ignore.
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