Getting rid of Google Analytics
Ever since I started using Google Analytics, I felt bad about using it. Yes, I belong to those kind of people that think that Google is collecting way too much information about us and especially Google Analytics is making it terribly easy to track us, seeing how many websites are using it.
So I finally got my ass up and decided to search for a self-hosted, open source alternative. And that wasn’t even too hard, after just a couple of minutes I came across Piwik, a PHP+MySQL solution, which didn’t even look too bad.
Piwik has almost all the features that Google Analytics has, plus a plugin architecture which allows you to easily extend it (now try doing that with Google Analytics). It has support for a load of search engines, one can add new ones, it has a “Live!” widget for live display of visitors (yeah, absolutely unneeded but still a nice gadget) and one can update the reports at any given time (whereas Google Analytics is updated every hour).
It also has a more detailed list of installed plugins, even though it lacks specific version numbers in the reports.
There are some drawbacks though:
- No custom date ranges
- “Unique visitors” only work by day, not week/month (even though this might be fixed already, but then the FAQ is outdated)
- I am currently facing a bug in the report generation
But all those problems are nothing compared to the huge advantage of having all the data on your own server, not giving away any of it.
So for now I am using both Google Analytics and Piwik, and if it turns out to indeed run well, I will remove the Google Analytics code alltogether.