Software Review: By Scott Clark
FlashStats 1.3 (Part 2)
FlashStats 1.3 is very easy to install...it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks or selecting from the choices which are presented, i.e. the Web server (Netscape FastTrack, Microsoft IIS, WebSite, other), the installation directory and the other options. FlashStats knows where to look for the Web server log files (if you’re using a standard format), and it supports practically all log file formats--even customized ones.
Once FlashStats is installed, you are able to view the log reports from any Web browser (provided that it and the Web server which FlashStats is installed on are both connected to the Internet). Documentation is provided in a convenient HTML format, of course.
The ability to view the reports from any Web browser of course necessitates reliable password protection to be in place as well. This is provided via the FlashStats 1.3 Report Request form; you are required to type in your name and password before the report will be generated. You simply select the page and dates you wish to analyze, indicate which requests you wish to filter out (such as users from your own domain), any specific file types (such as .jpg or .gif) you wish to have excluded from the report, and choose which reports you wish to actually run
(See Figure 1).
Figure 1: FlashStats Reports
FlashStats generates many different reports, including:
- Summary Report - this indicates the total number of hits/bytes transferred
- Top URLs Requested - shows you which pages are the most popular
- Top Referrers To Your Site - shows which Web sites are linking to your site
- Search Phrases (See Figure 2) - what keywords are visitors using to find your Web site; this is one of the most useful reports you'll see
- Most Common Browsers - which Web browsers are being used to access your site
- Bad URLs - what requests (for which non-existent page or object) are generating errors
- Bad Referrers - who has links to your site which are in error
- User Domain Analysis - exactly which domains have visited your site
- Types of Domains - are your visitors coming from .org, .com, .edu or .gov domains?
- Daily Totals - total number of "hits" for each day of the week
- Hits Per Day of Week - which day is your busiest
- Hits Per Hour - which hour is the busiest
Figure 2: FlashStats Search Report
Once you’ve selected the reports, you press the "Generate Reports" button, and in a moment (or longer, depending on how large the Web server log files are) you’re presented with the reports! Printing the reports is as simple as printing a Web page from your browser.
Default reports may be set up for different users, so that once they log in to the FlashStats page, the log file that they have access to is known to FlashStats, which prevents them from accessing someone else’s log files. If you host Web sites for several customers, this is a great way to let them view and print their own reports, and it can be a valuable addition to your normal Web hosting features.
FlashStats 1.3 is a very useful tool for the administrators and Webmasters of busy Web sites. Although not everyone needs or wants to know the statistics their site is generating, I doubt you’ll find a commercial site administrator that’s not interested in seeing these statistics. If you do, you’ll probably also see a job opening soon thereafter.
FlashStats is cheap enough for anyone to purchase, commercial site or not. It’s easy to install and even easier to use. And if you’re an ISP or Web host...if you’re not already using a log analysis tool for yourself and your customers, perhaps you ought to take a look at FlashStats 1.3. Maximized software has a free 30-day demo version you can use on your site, or you can use the FlashStats software directly on Maximized Software’s own log files to see what it can do without having to install it on your own system.
I’ll have to give FlashStats 1.3 the big thumbs up! This is "can’t go wrong" software...if the Web is more to you than just "something fun to do on a Saturday night" then you won’t be disappointed.
This article first appeared in November, 1997.
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