Knowledgebase: SEO and Google
Google Analytics vs. Awstats - Comparison
Posted by - NA - on 13 February 2014 10:51 AM
Google Analytics vs. Awstats - Comparison

General comparison statements from various online sources:

Why even compare them?

If you strip away all the features, they both do roughly the same thing; track visitors as they visit your website. However, they show and analyze the data in different ways.

Why does Google Analytics and AWStats report different numbers?

There is a number of reasons the results may be different. One of the major reasons is because Google Analytics uses JavaScript to report the tracking information. Because some visitors may have JavaScript disabled, those visitors may not be reported by Google Analytics.

Also, “visitors” is a term that AWStats uses differently than Google Analytics. Because of this, the numbers may also appear to be different between the two systems. AWStats pulls visitors directly from the server logs and is the most accurate, while Google Analytics is very good at business analytics.

What is the best option for me?

This depends on what you are looking to get from your logs. If you are a person looking for more detailed information about the network, and bandwidth usage, AWStats is your best bet. However, if you are more focused on the business aspect of your website and how to grow your company, Google Analytics gives you much better information regarding the demographics, behavior and traffic sources for your visitors.

If you are a business looking for detailed information about how your visitors behave on your website, we highly recommend that you look into Google Analytics. If you don’t need detailed demographics about your visitors and just want to track basic page views and bandwidth, AWStats may be all you need.

They measure in different ways. AWStats uses analyzed server logs, and they include crawlers and bots, as well as end users with JavaScript disabled and Google Analytics opt-out users, none of which Google Analytics measures.

AWStats constructs visits from a combination of hits in the server logs from their IP address, so they don't follow a user who visits from multiple locations, or who has a dynamic IP address, and they count multiple users from the same IP address as being the same visitor. Google Analytics uses browser-specific cookies to track visitors multiple times in multiple locations. Both can have a tendency to either inflate or deflate numbers. So, server logs could count multiple people on the same network as the same person, but they also double count as you move around, and have no idea how to deal with dynamic IP addresses. Google Analytics can't track one person across their multiple browsers.

So, the right answer, in general, is that no analytics tracking is ever 100%, that the numbers should always be treated as approximations, and that every number you look at should be considered in the context of how its tracked and only compared to numbers gathered in similar contexts. The general trend is that AWStats overstates numbers and that Google Analytics understates them, but that's not an ironclad rule.

Google Analytics Vs Awstats

Tracking the website traffic that a website generates can help a site developer decide how successful their marketing efforts are. Big content websites often hire third party companies to track their website traffic whereas smaller websites can use standard webtools such as Google Analytics or AWStats to get their desired results.

How AwStats and Google Analytics Operate

Though both programs display website statistics, the overall operations of each are different in the terms of operation.

AWStats Operations

AWStats is a program that is hosted on your server and would require the user to access the server's web based control panel to access the desired data. The web server would generated and store a log for every visit to each site hosted on the server. AWStats would process the log files to create its reports, hence why AWStats is often referred to as a log file analyzer.

Google Analytics Operations

Google Analytics differs as it requires specific code to be loaded onto each page of a site, that uses a combination of two components, Javascript and Cookies, to notify Google each time that one of the site pages has been visited. Since it is possible for an Internet user to disable cookies and/or Javascript in their browsers, the code that Google Analytics uses sometimes does not get run and therefore those visits are not counted. Luckily, very few users browse with cookies and Javascript disabled.

Why Do the Results Differ?

When comparing the figures of AWstats and Google Analytics to one another, notice that the figures for AWstats are usually much larger. The reason for the higher numbers is that AWstats detects search engine bots that access or crawl websites to learn more about content, link structure etc., whereas Google Analytics cannot detect this type of traffic.

These days, crawl stats are far less important than back in the day, and information on how search engine bots see your website is readily available from major search engines, once you sign up to look into these services. Examples of these services are Google's Webmaster tools and Yahoo!'s Site Explorer.

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