13. May 2015

Web statistics: Differences between log file analysis and data traffic analysis

Nowadays, there are many different ways of how to create web statistics. The two basic groups are different in terms of how they collect their analysable data.

Log file analysis

The log file analysis evaluates the log files of the web server using a specific software. The results will provide information about the popularity of your website, how often it is called up and about your visitors’ activities. Since there protocols are saved on the publishing server, they will show you a faithful image of the server activities and are therefore a very reliable way of analysing your website data.
switchplus has set up the “Webalizer” by default on every websites they’re hosting. In terms of data protection, this programme is of no concern to you at all.

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Data traffic analysis

Data traffic analyses provide a versatile and more detailed picture of your website’s traffic. In order to collect the data, scripts are recorded onto the source code of your website and evaluated by a matching software.

The collected data is a lot more extensive and detailed and does not only provide information about the log files but also about the utilised browser, the screen resolution and the visitors’ operating system. It can also provide information about how a visitor has come to your website.


The most popular data traffic analysis tools are Piwik and Google Analytics. Both are easy to install, but Piwik is the only one that allows self hosting of the software. From a data protection point of view, this method of data collection is not undisputed. Therefore it is advisable to disclose the usage of data traffic analysis in the legal information section on your website.

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