More about Javascript Tracking

How does JavaScript Tracking compare with Log Analysis as web site statistics solutions? The table below provides a description and lists some of the advantages and disadvantages of JavaScript Tracking (Statistics Bureau Configuration) and Log Analysis (Single Server and Multi Server Configurations) real-time server-side solutions:

JavaScript Tracking Log Analysis
JavaScript code is added to each web page that needs to be tracked on the client's web site. When a site visitor requests a web page the web page is downloaded to the visitors browser. The JavaScript code executes in the visitor's browser and generates a hit on a third party server that collects the statistics. An application or service runs on the web server or computer that can access the web server. The application accesses and processes the web server's log files and updates a database used for reporting.
Advantages
  • Information about the site visitor's computer systems (for example screen resolution and color depth) can be tracked.
  • Pages displayed in the browser that are cached (on the client's system and on caching servers) can be tracked.
  • The collection of statistics is removed from the Content Web Server, which lightens the load.
Advantages
  • No need to insert Javascript in web pages, eliminating the possibility of errors and saving valuable time of web professionals.
  • If old log files are available, the historic website statistics is also available.
  • If a database problem occurs the database can easily be rebuilt using the log files as source.
  • Errors on pages can be tracked.
  • Bandwidth used can be tracked.
  • Accesses to all type of files can be tracked.
Disadvantages
  • Javascript code must be inserted on every page that you want to track.
  • You can only track html pages and text-based pages which the browser processes as HTML.
  • Difficult to track errors (for example 404 - page not found errors etc.). Impossible to track sources of errors.
  • Bandwidth usage cannot be tracked, because the information is not provided by the web server to the browser client.
  • Increases the bandwidth used and time taken for a web browser to process a web page (additional JavaScript in web pages and the additional request to generate the hit on the Tracking Server).
  • No statistics will be generated if there is an error in the JavaScript tracking code.
  • Clients use third party statistics providers as Tracking Service is normally not provided by ISPs or site hosts.
  • Visits from Search Engine Robots cannot be tracked.
Disadvantages
  • Access to web server log files is required.
  • The Operating System on the computer on which the real-time statistics software is installed is normally quite specific, although in most cases this type of software can process log files from most types of web servers on most operating systems.
  • Junk data in log files can cause log file processing problems.
  • Caching of pages can be responsible for lower statistics although there are solutions to reduce caching.
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