Understanding AWStats website statistics

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A few weeks back I wrote an article on AWStats - a website activity tracking tool found on cPanel - offered by many hosting companies.

Today I'm going to help you make sense of your site's valuable statistics.

When you arrive at your AWSTats page you will see at the very top:

Last Update: the date & time your statistics were last updated, as well as the report period.

Reported period: is great if your site's been online for a while because you can compare your statistics from one month/year to another. Simply select your month from the drop-down menu to view previous months and click the OK button.  If you've been online for years, you can also select your year in additions to your month.

AWStats Summary


The Summary section (see above) shows you the total of your Unique visitors, Number of visits, Pages, Hits and Bandwidth for that report period. In the image above, the report period is January 1 to 31, 2014.

  • Unique visitors
    A unique visitor is a computer (a user on a computer) that has visited your website at least once during the displayed report period. If this user makes several visits during this report period, it is counted only once. Visitors (computers) are tracked by IP address, so if multiple users are accessing your site from the same IP (such as a home, or office network), they will be counted as a single unique visitor.
  • Number of visits
    The number of visits is the total number of visits by all users over a certain time period. For example, if a user visits your site, and then comes back 7 more times during that month, they will be logged as 1 unique visit, and a total number of 8 visits for the month.
  • Pages
    This is the number of website pages (HTML, ASP, PHP) viewed by your visitor.
  • Hits
    Website hits is the most misunderstood statistic. A hit is not a unique visitor nor a number of visits, but the number of files that are downloaded when viewing a single web page. For example: 1 web page may require 5 style sheets, 7 images, 1 javascript file, and a favicon. This would add up to 15 hits. Consider unique visitors and number of visits when trying to understand your website activity.
  • Bandwidth
    Bandwidth is the total number of bytes downloaded by users visiting your website. If your web page has 75Kb of text, and 5 images @ 300kb , then each visitor to that one page will use a total of 375Kb of bandwidth. Measurements may be displayed in KB (kilobytes) MB (megabytes) and/or GB (gigabytes).

Summary Breakdown

What follows your Summary is a breakdown of these statistics so you can compare your Monthly history, Days of month, Days of week and hourly stats. These charts make it very easy to compare quantities of time (months / days / weeks / hours) where your website traffic is consistent and when it fluctuates. For example: a successful market ting campaign may cause a spike in website traffic following days or weeks of it's launch.

Other Details

Counties (Top 25) shows you a list of all the Countries where your visitors are coming from.

Hosts (Top 25) shows you a list of your top visitors by IP address.

Robots/Spiders visitors (Top 25) shows you a list of all the Robots and Spiders that have crawled your website pages including the date of their last visit. Ideally, you'd like to see Googlebot in this list, then you know Google has indexed your website.

Visits duration shows you how long people are staying on your website including the average time your visitors are staying on your site. These numbers can help you determine if people are leaving as soon as they arrive, or are spending time reading your content.

File type shows which files are generating the most hits.

Pages-URL lists the most visited pages on your site.

  • Entry is the first page viewed by a visitor during their visit to your site.
  • Exit show the last page a visitor viewed on your site.

Operating Systems (Top 10) and Browsers (Top 10) display a list of the operating systems and browsers that your visitors are using. This is important when considering crossbrower compatibility. A grabber is a browser that is used primarily for copying locally an entire site such as a "teleport", "webcapture", "webcopier".

Connected from site from...

  • Direct Access / Bookmark / Link in email... this number represent the number of hits and percentage of hits when a visit to your site comes from a direct access. This means the first page of your web site was found:
    • Direct Access - by typing your URL on the web browser address bar.
    • Bookmark - by clicking on your URL stored by a visitor inside its favorites / bookmarks, or by clicking on your URL through a link in a document, an application, etc.
    • Link in email... clicking on a URL of your site inside an email.
  • Links from an Internet Search Engine lists the top search engines that have been used to locate you and successfully directed visitors to your website.
  • Links from an external page (other web sites except search engines) - lists the URL of websites that have links to your website.

Search Keyphrases (Top 10) and Search Keywords (Top 25) lists the "phrases" and "words" that your visitors are typing into a search engine to successfully locate your website.

Miscellaneous and HTTP status codes - lists miscellaneous information, and what HTTP codes are returned to your visitors on certain pages. Most common are 301 Moved permanently (redirect) and 404 Document Not Found.
For a comprehensive definition of the HTTP status codes visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_status_codes.


Keeping an eye on your websites statistics is like putting your finger on the pulse of your website. Watch what happens to your stats when you launch a campaign... does the number of visitors increase? Play with your keywords in your site's meta tags... does this influence the number of visitors who are successfully locating you via search engines.

Watch how people are using your website. Learn what your site is doing well, and what it is not. In learning these things you can turn your website into a marketing tool, rather than just an informational brochure.

Posted in Marketing


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