This help document is designed to assist our clients with using and understanding the "Webalizer" statistical tracking software. This document refers to Webalizer version 2.01, which has been available since late 2001, and may not directly apply to previous versions. (Please look at the lower left corner of your stats page to determine which version you are using. If you are still using a previous version and would like to be upgraded to the newer version, please email us at webs@owt.com. The upgrade is free!)

Webalizer is a very detailed web site tracking system which provides more data than many companies need to analyze their web site traffic! OWT runs the program once a week for each web site/domain using the software. We typically do this in the early morning hours of the weekend, when the updates will cause the least intereference with other traffic on our servers. You can see when your stats were last updated by looking in the upper left corner of your stats page. What follows below is a glossary of some of the terms used in the Webalizer software:

Hits Any request made to the server which is logged is considered a 'hit'. The requests can be for anything ... HTML pages, graphic images, audio files, CGI scripts, etc. Each valid line in the server log is counted as a hit. This number represents the total number of requests that were made to the server during the specified report period. This is NOT a good way to measure traffic to your web site. For example, if your home page (index.html) contains text and 10 graphics, one person who visits this page will register 11 "hits" -- 10 for the graphics, and one for the HTML page.

Files Some requests made to the server require that the server then send something back to the requesting client, such as an HTML page or graphic image. When this happens, it is considered a 'file' and the files total is incremented. The relationship between 'hits' and 'files' can be thought of as 'incoming requests' and 'outgoing responses'.

Pages Pages are, well, pages! Generally, any HTML document, or anything that generates an HTML document, would be considered a page. This does not include the other stuff that goes into a document, such as graphic images, audio clips, etc. This number represents the number of 'pages' requested only, and does not include the other 'stuff' that is in the page. With the dynamic nature of most web sites, what actually constitutes a 'page' can vary from site to site. The default action is to treat anything with the extension '.htm', '.html' or '.cgi' as a page. But sites using databases to dynamically generate information may produce "pages" of information that do not count as a "page" in this system. Some other programs (and people) refer to this as 'Page views'.

Sites Each request made to the server comes from a unique 'site', which can be referenced by a name or ultimately, an IP address. The 'sites' number shows how many unique IP addresses made requests to the server during the reporting time period. This does not mean the number of unique individual users (real people) that visited, which is impossible to determine using just logs and the HTTP protocol (however, this number might be about as close as you will get). Visits Whenever a request is made to the server from a given IP address (site), the amount of time since a previous request by the address is calculated (if any). If the time difference is greater than a preconfigured 'visit timeout' value (or has never made a request before), it is considered a 'new visit', and this total is incremented (both for the site, and the IP address). Our timeout value is set to 30 minutes, so if a user visits your site at 1:00 in the afternoon, and then returns at 3:00, two visits would be registered. It's our belief that this statistic is the best way to measure traffic to your site. Note: in the 'Top Sites' table, the visits total should be discounted on 'Grouped' records, and thought of as the "Minimium number of visits" that came from that grouping instead.

Note: Due to the limitation of the HTTP protocol, log rotations and other factors, this number should not be taken as absolutely accurate, rather, it should be considered a pretty close "guess". KBytes The KBytes (kilobytes) value shows the amount of data, in KB, that was sent out by the server during the specified reporting period. This value is generated directly from the log file. This data is often referenced with the phrase "data transfer." Note: A kilobyte is 1024 bytes, not 1000 :)

Top Entry and Exit Pages The Top Entry and Exit Pages give a rough estimate of what URL's are used to enter your site, and what the last pages viewed are. Because of limitations in the HTTP protocol, log rotations, etc., this number should be considered a good "rough guess" of the actual numbers. However, it will give a good indication of the overall trend in where users come into, and exit, your site. Notes on Visits/Entry/Exit Figures The majority of data analyzed and reported on by The Webalizer is as accurate and correct as possible based on the input log file. However, due to the limitation of the HTTP protocol, the use of firewalls, proxy servers, multi-user systems, the rotation of your log files, and a myriad of other conditions, some of these numbers cannot, without absolute accuracy, be calculated. In particular, Visits, Entry Pages and Exit Pages are suspect to random errors due to the above and other conditions. The reason for this is twofold, 1) Log files are finite in size and time interval, and 2) There is no way to distinguish multiple individual users apart given only an IP address. Because log files are finite, they have a begining and ending, which can be represented as a fixed time period. There is no way of knowing what happened previous to this time period, nor is it possible to predict future events based on it. Also, because it is impossible to distinguish individual users apart, multiple users that have the same IP address all appear to be a single user, and are treated as such. This is most common where corporate users sit behind a proxy/firewall to the outside world, and all requests appear to come from the same location (the address of the proxy/firewall itself). Dynamic IP assignment (used with dial-up internet accounts) also present a problem, since the same user will appear as to come from multiple places. For example, suppose two users visit your server from XYZ company, which has their network connected to the internet by a proxy server 'fw.xyz.com'. All requests from the network look as though they originated from 'fw.xyz.com', even though they were really initiated from two seperate users on different PC's. The Webalizer would see these requests as from the same location, and would record only 1 visit, when in reality, there were two. Because entry and exit pages are calculated in conjunction with visits, this situation would also only record 1 entry and 1 exit page, when in reality, there should be 2. As another example, say a single user at XYZ company is surfing around your website. He arrives at 11:52pm the last day of the month, and continues surfing until 12:30am, which is now a new day (in a new month). Since a common practice is to rotate (save then clear) the server logs at the end of the month, you now have the users visit logged in two different files (current and previous months). Because of this (and the fact that the Webalizer clears history between months), the first page the user requests after midnight will be counted as an entry page. This is unavoidable, since it is the first request seen by that particular IP address in the new month.

For the most part, the numbers shown for visits, entry and exit pages are pretty good 'guesses', even though they may not be 100% accurate. They do provide a good indication of overall trends, and shouldn't be that far off from the real numbers to count much. You should probably consider them as the 'minimum' amount possible, since the actual (real) values should always be equal or greater in all cases.