If you have a website and you are tracking and monitoring traffic stats, you probably installed Google analytics. Most people nowadays use Google analytics. Anyways, I wanted to give a try to another software – so I picked up Piwik.
To be honest, I was skeptic in the first place but after I saw what I installed and how it looks like, I installed Piwik right away on my other sites too.
This post will be on Piwik vs Google Analytics and I hope I’ll help you make a decision.
First you should know that Piwik is opensource and you need to host your own copy of this software. You can’t just go to their site (which is by the way: http://piwik.org/) and generate a code, you need a hosting to host your own tracking software.
That might be tricky, especially if you need to track millions of pageviews every day. Here is recommendation on requirments directly from Piwik Team:
- PHP version 5.1.3 or greater
- MySQL version 4.1 or greater
- 4Gb memory being the minimum recommended for Piwik to process reports on large websites
- It is recommended to use light web servers such as Nginx or lighttpd which can be faster and more efficient alternatives to Apache or IIS
You can find more information on requirments here:
But if you don’t have high traffic website, just a usual web hosting /shared hosting should do it.
If you don’t know how to install Piwik click here:
Ease of use
To use Piwik is very easy, even easier than to use Google Analytics. Here is screenshot I took to show you how dashboard looks like:
To keep this review more informative I’ll write here list of boxes (widgets) that are shown right away after user log in:
- Lasts visit graph
- List of keywords
- Visitors in real time
- List of external websites
- Visitor countries (world map)
- Visitor browsers
- Best search engines
- Visits by server time
- .. and you can see below latests posts from Piwik.org blog
I really like dashboard and that’s what got me right away, it’s very clear and immediately after you log in, you are able to see visits, worldmap, keywords etc.
Here is lists of widgets available for using but I didn’t try these yet:
- Visits Summary
- Visitor Settings
- Example Widgets
As you can see, Piwik offers a lot of options and widgets to users.
Another feature I really like is that Piwik distinguish traffic from Google (search engine) and from Google Images.
Probably most important to you is accuracy. Some users reported that Piwik is more accurate than GA.
Many users from DigitalPoint forum reported that Piwik is much more accurate.
Importing and exporting data
You are able to import data from other services such as Google Analytics but also to export data is very easy. You can export traffic even as an image or as excel sheet. But at end, only you have access to traffic data and you aren’t sharing your data with 3rd party (or even 4th or 5th) services as it possibly could happen if you use GA or some other service.
To setup goals is much easier than in Google Analytics. You can setup goals (for example if you want to track number of downloads or percent of visits to given URL.
The mostly were pro’s, now something about con’s.
The truth is that Google Analytics does offer more in-depth analysis of traffic.
Another con’s is that you need to install software on your server.
Piwik is great free alternative to Google Analytics but I think they are going to improve this software even more and it’s definitely worth checking out. Which tracking software you use?