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Essentially what I'm wanting to know is, if I set up my website to collect user IP addresses using a mysql database to see when they first visited + when they last visited and other info like what pages they have visited on my website, do I have to put a privacy policy to let the users know this is going on?

Also, do I have to provide proof of what it is their data will be used for?

To be more specific, this is my portfolio/blog that I'm making with this feature and I don't know if my efforts are worth it.

Thanks.

//This is the php code that grabs the IP address.

if (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_CLIENT_IP'])) {
    $ip = $_SERVER['HTTP_CLIENT_IP'];
} elseif (!empty($_SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR'])) {
    $ip = $_SERVER['HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR'];
} else {
    $ip = $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];
}

Also, I'm not associating their IP with who they are necessarily, but I'm using it to distinguish between 2 users because they may view different things.

Edit: This is for my professional portfolio/blog.

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  • "I'm using it to distinguish between 2 users" - The IP address doesn't necessarily distinguish between users if the users are behind NAT. Also, unless your site is behind a known proxy and you are expecting these vars to be set, then the only reliable way to get the IP address of the client is through REMOTE_ADDR - the other vars can be faked.
    – MrWhite
    May 30, 2017 at 1:49

2 Answers 2

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Generally, web servers store those details in a log file in anyways. Info like: IP Address, Time of Visit, Referal URL etc. So, in my view, it should be perfectly all right store and analyse these info based on the need.

Also, instead of coding, storing and analysing, i would recommend you to use Google Analytics which will give you greater details about user behaviour.

With regards to IP, there are other tools available (Like: Open Tracker) and you can integrate by placing their JS and it collects a massive amount of info with IP, page visit and much more.

Coding on your own may be an overhead unless there will be no option out there.

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  • To give some more insight, I've already programmed the functionality to collect data on what pages users visit, and it works dynamically to any new pages I decide to add. However, it does have to run multiple queries right off the bat to store the user and the current page they're on and seems inefficient. I will try to set up Google Analytics and if that goes well, I'll take off the functionality I put in. Thanks for the input!
    – TheShah1
    May 27, 2017 at 22:52
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It's not illegal. Often it's encouraged for security purposes to know if an IP keeps spamming visits to your site, so that the server can better determine if it's a possible DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. You also might use that IP address for login/logout purposes. This information is often used for website analytics purposes, such as what you're doing here.

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