If you manage a Web site (or a number of Web sites) one of the best tools you can have in your tool kit is one that gathers metrics and analyzes traffic coming and going to your site(s). One of the most powerful tools available for this data gathering is Google Analytics. But what if you want to host your own analytical software and have complete control? You can, with the open source Piwik.
Piwik is a Web site analytics tool that is plug-in based so you can drag and drop plugins on, off, or around your dashboard to give you as little or as much information about your sites as you need. Not only is Piwik powerful, it's easy to install, and it's free.
- PHP version 5.1.3 or greater
- MySQL version 4.1 or greater
- PHP extension pdo and pdo_mysql
- For med/high traffic sites, php.ini memory limit should be set to at least 128MB
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Who's it for?
Piwik is for any company (or administrator) that needs fine-grain analytics of their Web sites. Anyone needing complete control over the details and analysis of Web site traffic should be using Piwik. And with its drag and drop dashboard, Piwik can be used by nearly anyone.
What problem does it solve?
Piwik solves the problem of being able to have real-time analysis of Web site traffic as well as being able to easily control the type and amount of data analyzed. And Piwik does this without a heavy price tag attached.
- Drag and drop dashboard
- Five minute installation
- Real time statistics
- Add-remove features quickly with plugins
- Create your own plugins thanks to the open APIs
The only real problem with Piwik is that you will have to have write access to Web pages on the sites you track in order to add the tracking tags (best added right above the </body> tag). If you do not have write access to those pages you will have to have a Web developer or administrator add those tags for you.
Bottom line for business
If you need serious analytics for your Web site, and you don't want to spend man hours (and budget dollars) getting a tool up and running, Piwik is the tool for you. Piwik is simple to install and offers up all of the information you will need to analyze your Website traffic.
Have you encountered or used Piwik? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.