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.
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.