A client would like me to obtain visitor stats for his website, but does not have any traffic monitoring software installed.

So I'm wondering if it's even possible. The site is hosted on Heroku, so I might be able to trawl through the logfiles and pull out unique IP addresses, but I was just wondering if there's some other way.

  • "Traffic monitoring software" is somewhat ambiguous. Log analyzers are traffic monitoring software just as active analytics like packet sniffers and conventional analytics software like GA and Omniture that use client-side tags. – Lèse majesté Mar 30 '12 at 14:27
  • You might want to clarify what you mean by "installed" as well - do they want to avoid adding code to their web site, or do they want a SAS-style solution where they don't need to run any software on their own systems? – Jacob Hume Mar 30 '12 at 14:58

Why not use Google Analytics? It is the better way to view your traffic without a lot of scripts. You can make your account in seconds and only install some lines of code in your file (index).


  • Thanks, I set up GA earlier today, and that's when the client asked if I could get him the stats for last year. I told him it's unlikely since GA wasn't setup until today. I was just hoping there was some sort of data-haven that keeps usage stats on all websites. There probably is, but I doubt the CIA will let me poke my nose around in it. I'll probably just tell the client that it can't be done. Thanks anyway. – marflar Mar 30 '12 at 13:11

If he has logs of his server traffic then all the information you need is in there, almost everything google analytics does can be pulled out of server logs (and more, there are some things like 404/500 error codes that GA cannot track).

This was how analytics was done prior to page tagging. Google used to offer an updated version of the Urchin 5 log analyser, but (sadly) it was killed of on the 28th March 2012.

Once you have the logs all you would then need is software like 123 log analyser or webtrends log analyser and a decent computer with a big chunk of RAM to run the software.

Depending on the site traffic and size of the logs it can take up to 24 hours to parse a full days worth of files. On very large sites, like the one's I used to work on simple analysis can take up to a week for a months worth of data.

Remember you will need to add manual filters for search engine traffic and the like.

  • being pedantic, but not "literally" everything GA can be pulled from server logs (ex. details like screen resolution.) But definitely the most important things. One of the main difficulties in analyzing your own logs is filtering out all the search engine bots and other irrelevant data. – joshuahedlund Mar 30 '12 at 16:34
  • @joshuahedlund true, but it's only relatively recently GA begin doing that without loading the information via a 1px transparent gif - which was the old fix to get data on screen res from way back in the 90's – toomanyairmiles Mar 30 '12 at 16:58
  • If you still have the log files, there is lots of software that will analyse them. I often use AWStats - completely open source like quite a few of the others. – Iain Hallam Mar 30 '12 at 22:31

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