In the access log for your website, you will see statistics of hits, visits, kilobytes, files, search strings, user agents, referrers, countries, entry pages, exit pages. Let’s try and work out what they all mean.

Hits – these are requests to the server for a file not a page. Your page can be made up of different files, the HTML file, graphic files, audio files, Style files and javascript files, resulting in a number of hits for that page. Each of these requests is called a hit. e.g. Our front page is made up from an HTML file, plus 15 other graphics, style sheet, or javascript files behind the site map, search tips etc. So one visitor records 16 hits in just one visit to one page.

Visits – these are all requests made by a specific user to the site during a set period of time. The visit is ended if a set period of time (say 30 minutes) goes by with no further accesses. Users are identified by cookies, username or hostnames/IP addresses .

Kilobytes – the volume of kilobytes served up to visitors in all files. This becomes critical when you have a high number of visits and large graphic files, with a kilobytes of outgoing trafic limit for the amount paid for hosting. If you have a 1000 Mb limit plan and your traffic is 1200 Mb, you pay for 200 Mb of excess traffic.

Referrer – A page that links to your site. Looking at your referrers will tell you who’s linked to your site. This can be particularly valuable for seeing where your search engine traffic is coming from.

User Agent – This refers to the software used to access your site. Sometimes known as a ‘browser’ or ‘client’, the term ‘user agent’ can describe a PHP script, a browser like Internet Explorer, or a search engine spider like GoogleBot.

Search Strings – These are the key words used by visitors who have found your website, regardless of where your website appeared in the search engine’s results. Try using these search words in Google and see how far from the top your website ranks.

Entry pages and exit pages tell you whether people are finding you through your front page or not, and on which page they leave you.

Countries refer to the domains and can be misleading. The .com domain can be anywhere in the world.

Response Codes See what these mean.