Piwik Is A Great Alternative To Google Analytics, Tracks Real Time Traffic For Your Sites

Google Analytics is good. It allows you to track your website traffic, free for up to 5 million pageviews a month, and you get a thorough report on almost every single detail of your audience. Piwik is another website analytics software that is as powerful as Google Analytics and serve as a great alternative. What makes it stand out from the rest is its price (it is free to use) and the real time analytics report.

Unlike most analytics tracking software that runs on their own server, Piwik is an open source software that requires you to install on your own server. If you have a web hosting plan, most likely you already have a server on hand to install Piwik. However, if you have a busy site running on your server and don’t wish to add extra overhead, then Piwik might not be for you.

Cool features that make Piwik stands out

There are a few cool features of Piwik that are worth mentioning.

  • The software is open source and there is a big community working to improve the product
  • It has real-time updated reports and view of visitors on your site. This is what most analytics software are lacking, or they are charging a high price for this.
  • Official mobile apps for iPhone and Android are available so you can easily check your web stats on the move.
  • It is possible to export your Google Analytics data to Piwik which makes it even more attractive.
  • You own your analytics data and is not shared with other people.
  • Very user-friendly and simple interface.


1. The installation of Piwik is easy. Download the zipped file to your desktop. Unzip it and upload the Piwik folder to your server root.

2. Once the upload is completed, open a browser and navigate to http://your-website.com/piwik. Follow the instructions to install Piwik on your server. There are 9 steps altogether and will take on 5 minutes.


3. During the installation, it might show a few error messages stating that there is no write permission for several files. To fix this, change the “file permission” of the folders to 777 in your FTP client. (Remember to change the file permission back to 755 after the installation).


4. The tricky part is the database setup (step 3). You will need to login to your cPanel (or web admin) to create a database and then paste the database credential to the page.

5. At Step 8, it will show a set of javascript code to be pasted to your site. Copy and paste the code to the footer of your site template, just before the </body> tag.


Using Piwik

Once your Piwik is installed and you have added the javascript code to your site. You can login to your Piwik account to view the realtime analytics. There are plenty of information you can find in the dashboard, including the number of visitors, length of their stays, keywords they use to find your site, their geographical locations, the browsers they use and many more.


Like Google Analytics, you can also set Goals for your site. This is especially useful when you are running an online campaign.


Integrate Piwik with various CMS

If you are using a CMS such as WordPress or Drupal to run your site, you will be happy to know that there are several plugins that you can use to integrate Piwik to your site. For WordPress, the most popular one is the WP-Piwik plugin which is able to add the tracking code to your site and display the stats on your WP dashboard.


Google Analytics is definitely the first choice of analytical software you should consider, but if you want to keep your data out of public view (you never know what Google is doing with your data), then Piwik should be your next choice of consideration.

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. You should also mention this one as it offers more or less the same features, see this comparison: http://www.openwebanalytics.com/?page_id=158

    1. Thanks for recommending. This is the first time I heard of this software. Will check it out.

      1. you’re welcome. I recently did some research on stats plugins for a wordpress multisite install as there is a lack of plugins for this. most people use GA or the wordpress.com stats plugin but this isn’t any good for me: I need something simple, integrated (where users don’t need to go get a key to use the service) and piwik and openwebanalytics popped up on my screen.
        unfortunately, the piwik wordpress multisite plugin is in beta still and none available for OWA :-(

        1. Yes, I saw in the comparison table that it does come with a native WordPress plugin. That is really good. It also seems to have several more features than Piwik. I only hope that it won’t take up too much resources on the server. 

  2. Voxmap did not make the list!!!!? http://voxmap.comIt’s a f*cking awesome tool (and free) to visualize your website’s traffic. Not really an alternative to GA but still is awesome!

  3. Piwik a a very good looking interface, but unless you want to waste your time fixing bugs, fine tuning everything, browsing hundreds of pages of How To’s and forum topics stay away from this work in progress.

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