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What is the best choice today regarding log analysis software?

Log analysis tools for webmasters of several sites?

     
3:20 pm on Jul 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I have searched Webmasterworld on this subject and read this thread:
[webmasterworld.com...]

I thought it would be great to update the situation. It seems a lot has changed in this market.

What would be the best choice for a webmaster who want to analyse the logs of several customer's websites?

Would it be best to download their logs and analyse them locally? What would be the best choice(s) today?

6:05 pm on July 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Analog: [analog.cx...]

It takes a bit to get configured appropriately, but it's very fast and flexible.

8:41 am on July 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the answer Slud. I have downloaded analog but I find configurating the analog.cgf file quite confusing. Has anybody here a good analog configuration file to share please? :-)

Other 'ready to go' packages with all the functionalities required by a SEO webmaster are still welcome. A reasonable price for the software would be OK.

7:44 pm on July 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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you might want to try sawmill -
a matrix based analysis software -
free version available - you can even extend it ...
reasonably priced
8:22 pm on July 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've used all the major packages. I'd rate them:

- FastStats (mach5software)
- WebTrends
- SawMill
- Analog

Fast stats really is fast. That's important if you have huge log files. Unfortunatly, if you do have huge log files (lets say 100meg+) you are going to have to have a pretty beefy system to deal with it.

WebTrends. Somewhat of a defacto standard at the corporate level. I find the interface confusing and the program slow. Reports are pretty and will pass muster with any client, but that's were the good stuff ends. Not real effective for the smaller sites and configuring it correctly to do what you want, can take days.

Analog. Barebones reporting of the big picture. Certainly does some things as well as the previous two. Downside is the speed. While faststats can dice the logs here in 15seconds, analog runs about 5 mins. Very hard to configure (no perty gui here) - but that's part of the fun. Some of the graphic addons are interesting too. Analog works good if you have many sites to generate reports for since you can easily script it.

SawMill. I'd not used it for over a year. I just dl'd a copy and it won't run. All I get is a dialog with my router address on it - not good.

8:26 pm on July 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have been downloading my raw stats and importing them into a database.

I aim to note all the IP's of spiders.....weed out files requested that are not .htm .asp etc....and then get some macros/update queries for specifics about each page frequented/visitor movements etc.

The data is there.....I guess its just a matter of filtering out the junk you dont need and get that vital info you need. An example is the IP of the server, name of the server etc in the logs I have been getting....useless- so they are deleted.

Hopefullly I will get more exact stats working with "the lowest common denominator"

8:43 pm on July 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I second Brett's opinion -- I love Fast Stats.

When FastStats reports something odd and I want a barebones look into my logs, I also use Windows Grep to get up close and personal with the individual lines in the logs.

I don't give clients the bare reports...much too geeky in most cases. What I do is ask them what their business questions are in ordinary English, and then I work to translate those questions into a configuration that will get close to what they're asking.

1:07 am on July 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We use a small addon for Analog from AnalogX which does simultaneous DNS lookups and caches them to a time you specify. Running that in your batch files and turning the native Analog DNS resolver off, made Analog faster than FastStats when we tested them both comparatively a couple of years back. Dont know how they square up now.. weve stuck to Analog.. (if it aint broke, dont fix it!)
2:48 am on July 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I use Sawmill, does what I need.
7:34 am on July 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Anyone wanting a detailed list of search engine referrers should try out "Relax".

It needs Perl, and is command line driven, so probably more suited to the Linux community.

Probably best used as an addition to something like faststats.

5:36 pm on July 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys! I've tried Analog. It looks like it's a great tool, but it looks to complicated to me to configure properly the .cfg file to get the information I want. Like Brett said: hard to configure :-(

I will try Faststats next and Sawmill.

Thanks again, more suggestions are still welcome!

6:13 pm on July 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Like Brett we have used most of the commercial solutions.

Fast Stats is indeed very fast so good for running regular reports, but does have it's limitations.

Web Trends is good for sending reports to clients especially if you stick that glossary at the end and it's also beneficial to be able to send the report as a doc as well as html.

We are big fans of Net Tracker. It can be configured to work on your server so if you host lots of sites you can upsell the package and enterprise licences come down dramtically in price as you go up in volume.

What I really like about them though is the support. Bearing in mind I'm a bit of a simpleton when it comes to certain technical skills the tech support guys phone me from the States (I'm in the UK) and will deal with every conceivable issue, help customise reports, deal with all the "can i do this, or that" questions, it's drillable and because it runs off the server the reports are always ready to view. If you rotate your log files every few minutes it can be virtually real time, or you can log on in the morning like I do and check overnight results.

It works on Linux, Windows pretty much any platform.

I understand there is a new version coming out real soon too.

But it's not free..... but then nothing worthwhile ever is apart from Webmaster World!)

10:35 am on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have used FastStats in the past, at the moment I am trying out WebLog Expert, which I must say is better than FastStats on a number of counts. First, the output is good looking html, dead easy to up for a client and better looking than FastStats. Second, the tracking of bots and spiders is good. Third, browsers appear to be resolved in a more satisfactory way.

Woz

10:45 am on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I played around with Weblog Expert [weblogexpert.com] for a while and it seems to be a simple yet effective analyser giving good stats fairly easily.

They have a free "Lite" version which gives a basic picture and should be enough for people starting out in logs.

Onya
Woz
<no association>

11:15 am on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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For my tuppence worth, I do not think this discussion can miss out AWstats:

[awstats.sourceforge.net]

It is reasonably configurable, free, multilingual, accurate, shows robot visits, is regularly updated, and can be configured NOT to show Browsers used, and all the other techi stuff that is of interest only every 6 months, if updating a site for the latest demographics etc.

Try it,

George

12:30 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I use both Live Stats 5.0 and Webtrends, for two different sites. I have found that Webtrends, although it has great charts for representing data, is not as indepth or flexible as Live Stats.
12:34 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have used Funner Web Analyzer and i like it.
1:00 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys! Indeed, WebLog Analyser and AWstats look like very good tools. I will try them soon.

It took me a day to install, configure and test Analog + Report Magic. It's a good tool. However, although I remember most of my DOS commands and command line programming, the time it takes to reconfigure this for each site is too much asked for me. And I expected more details regarding referrers, search engines and search phrases. Maybe it's there, but I would prefer not to spend a week at learning and configuring a tool. Of course, it's free, so no complain!

2:15 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps you can give us a run down on the feature, advantage and benefits of each tool when you are done, as i am sure each has its own "best uses"

I would look forward to reading it!

George

8:47 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've got IBM Surfaid - trying to upgrade to their BI version. Very very cool but it is expensive.

Export logs - the service dumps all raw data into relational database. You then have access to query it. I toggle between five sites and it works well but the the sucky factor is the price.

9:21 pm on Aug 5, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Be wary of FunnelWeb Analyser on Mac OS X - using the GUI interface it is extremely slow for DNS lookups.

You either need to run your log file through a program called DNSTrans first or use the command line interface.

12:47 am on Aug 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Funnel Web Log analyser rocks, available free trial (search for it in google), it beats Webtrends hands down..
7:51 pm on Aug 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Anyone ever use IBM's SurfAid?
8:10 pm on Aug 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Yes - I use it for four sites - see my above posting - feel free to sticky me for specific questions.
12:15 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'm using Analog, if you still want a sample config ;-)

I've also tried webalyzer but it sometimes gets the numbers wrong, I've used other programs too but I couldn't congigure them too count only my pages as pages (I don't use extensions).

12:53 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've just tried 123loganalyzer & it's really good in the speed & geographic locations. While I'm still trying to modify the cfg for analog -which I'm also just tried out -it's real good too. Wish I knew C so that I can customize it anyway I like. So Martin can u sticky me your sample cfg file.Thanks
12:55 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We've been using WebTrends since they first started analyzing log files. We just recently upgraded one site from our server side solution to the WebTrends Live eBusiness web based solution. Wow, what a difference. I can't rave enough about all the new features. At $35.00 per 50,000 page views and then $.65 for each 1,000 page views thereafter, its not bad. To keep page views to a minimum, you can exclude domains, ip's, etc.

> Log analysis tools for webmasters of several sites?

Almost forgot, you can set up 5 profiles (URL's) within your account for the above pricing. Each profile thereafter is $2.00 per month. Keep in mind that the Page Views applies to all profiles, its not 50,000 per profile. You can also set up access for your clients and the program will automatically send them a username and login, its really cool!

2:35 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've been trying to configure Analog and have been able to get a lot of what I want, but not robot visits and a few other things. Martin, can I also have a copy of you config file? Thanks!
6:22 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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We get robot visits and everything we need from Analog. There are also some sample configs and advanced configs plus SE listings blocks on the analog site under helper applications or something similar.
6:35 am on Aug 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Chiyo sorry for that sticky, I think if i read deep enuough i'll get it, already got some to work.
thanks
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