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Let's say you visit my website johndoe.com you read one or two articles and then you type directly in your browser's address bar "www.google.fr" thus exiting my website. Conversely you were on stackexhange.com and then you typed johndoe.com, thus arriving on my website. Is it possible for me to know this? Using Google Analytics or other tracking software?

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If the website you were navigating to used the same analytics software and you had 3rd party cookies enabled then in theory this might be possible. (IMO) – w3dk Aug 14 '13 at 23:48
i am using piwik. but I can only track outbound links : that is when you exit my site by clicking on some hyperlink. this is not exacly what I want... do you have further informations? many thanks! – Noobie Aug 15 '13 at 5:25
Well, it's dependent on the site they visit next recording the visit and attributing it as a forward link from your site via some commonality (like a 3rd party cookie). Likewise, the site they visit would then know the visitor came from your site - without looking at the referer. I can imagine this might work OK between a group of related sites, however, in the diverse internet I have my doubts whether this information would be available to you. If every site used piwik then piwik could potentially track a user across every site they visit and from that data they could see which site they... – w3dk Aug 15 '13 at 7:34
...visited after yours. However, that data is incomplete and therefore highly unreliable since not everyone uses piwik, so they probably don't expose that information to you. At a higher level, the ISPs know every request you make, so the data is certainly there somewhere, however, I very much doubt that you will be able to report on this data as a site owner. This is just my opinion, I don't have any more information, sorry. – w3dk Aug 15 '13 at 7:38
thats interesting – Noobie Aug 15 '13 at 10:00
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Definitely No.

In both cases, the answer is no. This is for security reasons.

When you type a URL in the browser bar even the referer variable is not even passed to the server. The referer variable is only passed when you click a link that takes you to the page referred to.

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If you need more info or clarifications leave a comment and I'll be happy to assist. Good luck. Cheers. – Mario Awad Aug 16 '13 at 9:37
thanks. and what about using third party cookies? – Noobie Aug 16 '13 at 13:42
Very slightly theoretically possible, but still a big no. Details: With 3rd party cookies your website and the websites the visitor comes from and goes to must have the same 3rd party cookies and also the same analytics software for this to be slightly possible. Even then, the analytics software can't be sure the visitor went to the other site coming from your site and not from another. – Mario Awad Aug 16 '13 at 17:22

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