Ok, here's something about logs vs. graphics. Those of faint disposition, beware, it is going to be a lengthy post.
a) the basics
Every request to your site is logged, such logs usually include
- a timestamp
- an originating IP (ie. of the requesting client)
- a referring page/site or -
- the size of the transfer
- the numeric status of the transfer (404/not found, eg)
- the http protocol version
- the page requested
Usually, such lines are long, and awkward to read, therefore programs have been created to transform this into better readable (to humans) forms.
b) the problem
As I pointed out in another post, relying on such startitics is dangerous, because there's no way you can draw a line of one ip = one visitor. Several of those 'visitors' are bots, or are caused by browser problems (eg. netscape has a race condition with a proxy). Also, often sites are cached, and only the IP of the cache shows up. there's no way ot tell whether there's one, 100 or 1000 ppl behind a certain ip.
Cookies alllow to get around some of the problems, but not all of them, therefore using them is no way to ensure the condition holds.
Graphic stats have the advantage of 'looking better', the detriment of hinding all those problems. Whats it worth to have 1k requests for a document a certain day when all it really was was a race condition of a browser? (all to the same IP). How do I know it was a race condition? - I don't I can only assume.
IMO the only figures that may tella little of the popularity of your web site are:
- the number of different hosts served
- the ranking of your poages to poularity (but dont attach yourself to the numbers please)
- the number of referring links from outside (ie search engines finding you)
There's a good article on the subject (of what statistics do tell and don't tell): [analog.cx...]
The above link also contains analog, a logfile analyzer (non-graphical) which might be a solution to your problem. I dont say it is the only one, or a self-fulfluling prophecy..
Last month, the company for which I administer the site got a few good leads out of the web presence (old economy). When one good lead is enough to pay web-hosting for a year, no one talks about hits any more. they talk about projected image..