Setting up a Report in FastStats: A Detailed Walkthrough

This technical support topic will help you set up a FastStats report.

Baby Steps

1. Start FastStats by clicking Start, Programs, FastStats, and then FastStats.

2. The FastStats Report Picker will appear. Click Add Report to begin the process of setting up a new report.

Server Configuration

How will you access your log files? This is the hardest question of all, as it requires a lot of information from your Web Hosting Provider. Most web hosting providers provide log file information via the Internet's FTP protocol. Others make the log file available for access on the Internet. Or, if you host your own web site, your log files may be on your computer's hard drive (or at least available over the Windows network). Also, if you are confident about using the Internet, you can use a FTP client and manually download your log files to your hard drive.

First, you should get acquainted with what a log file looks like. View Example 1 and Example 2 for two examples. All log files will look more or less like those examples.

My Web Site is Hosted by a 3rd Party

Most people access their log files via FTP. We recommend that you check your Web Hosting Provider's technical support web site for information on where your log files are and how to get access to them. Otherwise, you should e-mail or telephone your web hosting provider. We have a pre-written message that you can send to your web host's technical support or read to the customer support representative.

I Host My Own Web Site

 If you host your own web site, you should read your web server documentation and browse your hard drive. Most log files helpfully end in .log, so you might want to search your hard drive for .log files (only as a last resort though -- there are a lot of other .log files on your system that are not web server log files).

Depending on what your web hosting provider or system administrator tells you, there are three ways to access your log files:

Locally (from the Hard Drive)

This is the easiest method to configure.

1. Select The log files are stored locally and click Next.

2. Your log files are most likely not in Apache multiple file format, but you should read this document to figure this out for sure. Click Next.

3. There are three ways to configure FastStats: 

    (1) The logs are stored in one file
    This is the simplest option. It means that your logs are stored in only one file on your hard drive. Click Browse and select this file. Make sure to use either this option or the 3rd option if your log files are in Apache multiple file format (read here for an explanation why).

   (2) The logs are stored in an entire directory
    Use this option if you have an entire directory on your disk for your log files. Some web servers have a "logs" directory where they store all of their log files. Choose Browse and select the directory you wish to analyze.
    This option is somewhat dangerous because you may have some non-log files stored in the directory you specify. For example, it is important to make sure that the Apache error_log file is not included in the analysis process (read here for more information). Also, if you enable this option, FastStats will parse all files in all subdirectories of the directory you specify. This is bad if you have, for example, stored some .EXE files in a subdirectory. You should use the next option -- wildcards -- in this case.

    (3) Parse all logs that match this wildcard
   
You can tell FastStats to analyze all log files that match a specific pattern. They are an extremely powerful way to include log files. You should read the FastStats help (search for wildcard) for more information on using wildcards.
    A trick for people who ran into the problem described in (2): to analyze all files in a directory but not have FastStats parse all subdirectories, tell FastStats to analyze the following wildcard: c:\directory\*

    Click Next

Via FTP

You should be armed with the information you obtained from your web hosting provider or system administrator. Namely, you should have the FTP site name, the username, the password, and the path to the log files you will be analyzing.

1. Select The log files are stored on a FTP site and click Next.

2. Your log files are most likely not in Apache multiple file format, but you should read this document to figure this out for sure. Click Next.

3. Enter in the FTP site name, and your username and password. Click Next.

4. This is a somewhat technical point, but it is very important. If you put a slash before the path to the log file (i.e. /user/mach5/logs/), the path will be an absolute path -- when the server is changing to that directory, it will start from the root of the server. If you do not include a slash, the path is relative to the current directory. If you have ever logged into your web site via FTP, the current directory is the directory you started in. Paths entered relative to the current directory are very short and easy to write (i.e. logs/). If your web hosting provider's technical support says "look in the logs directory", you should assume that it is a relative and do not include a slash before it.

    (1) The logs are stored in one file
    This is the simplest option. It means that your logs are stored in only one file on the FTP server. Make sure to use either this option or the 3rd option if your log files are in Apache multiple file format (read here for more information).

   (2) The logs are stored in an entire directory
    Use this option if you have an entire directory on your disk for your log files. Some web servers have a "logs" directory where they store all of their log files. Choose Browse and select the directory you wish to analyze.
    This option is somewhat dangerous because you may have some non-log files stored in the directory you specify. For example, it is important to make sure that the Apache error_log file is not included in the analysis process (read here for more information). Note: unlike with local directories, FastStats will not explore all subdirectories of the directory you specify.

    (3) Parse all logs that match this wildcard
   
You can tell FastStats to analyze all log files that match a specific pattern. They are an extremely powerful way to include log files. You should read the FastStats help (search for wildcard) for more information on using wildcards.

    Click Next

Via HTTP

You should be armed with the information you obtained from your web hosting provider or system administrator. Namely, you should have the URL to your log file, and, if you need them, the username and password to access that file.

1. Select The log files are stored on a web server and click Next.

2. Your log files are most likely not in Apache multiple file format, but you should read this document to figure this out for sure. Click Next.

3. Enter in the URL to your log file, and, if needed, check My log is password protected and enter in your username and password. Click Next. Technical note: you cannot use wildcards in the URL -- the HTTP protocol itself does not support wildcards. Separate multiple log files with a semicolon (i.e. http://www.server.com/log1; http://www.server.com/log2).

FastStats Configuration

1. FastStats can track a file or directory over the duration of the log file. FastStats does provide hit statistics on every file or directory, but adding the filename or directory to the tracking option gives you additional information on that file's popularity over time. Click Add and read the instructions there. One note: while you can track requests for the index page of a directory by tracking /directory/index.html, you can use wildcards and track request for the entire directory by tracking /directory/*. Enter the filename, directory, or wildcard to track and click Ok. When you are finished adding files or directories to track, click Next.

2. FastStats has a powerful filtering feature that lets you include only certain information in your FastStats report. For example, you can restrict the analysis to a specific range of dates, or analyze the traffic patterns of people who use the Netscape Navigator 4.0 browser. We have prepared a astStats filter tutoriaFl, but filtering is not recommended if you are just starting to learn how to use FastStats. Click Next.

3. Enter the domain name of your web site in the Local Domain field. For example, at Mach5 Software, we would enter in mach5.com (you should not include the www.). For the Default Page, enter in the default page as configured in your web server software. For most web sites, this will be index.html or index.htm. Click Next.

4. The tree view is an extremely powerful feature. It allows you to graphically view how people click through your web site. You have two options -- you can either tell FastStats to grab your web site off the Internet, or you can tell FastStats to access a copy of your web site stored on your hard drive. If you tell FastStats to Retrieve your web site from the Internet, you should enter in the URL of the index page on the web site (i.e. http://www.mach5.com/index.html). Or, if you tell FastStats to Retrieve your web site from your hard drive, you should browse for the index page of your web site (i.e. c:\websites\mach5\index.html).
   
The tree depth tells FastStats how deep it should go into your web site. For example, say index.html links to page.html, which links to subpage.html, which then links to subsubpage.html. If you specify a tree depth of three, FastStats will stop at subpage.html. If FastStats is downloading your web site from the Internet, increasing the tree depth will slow down the download speed. So leave it at around 3 or so unless you have a fast Internet connection. One note: FastStats will cache the web pages it downloads from your web site. If you don't know what this means, don't worry about it. It's just one of the many features that makes FastStats so fast.
    You should enter in the URL to your web site or the location of the home page of your web site on your hard drive. If you leave both of the fields blank, FastStats will not generate a tree view. Click Next.

5. FastStats can export your report to HTML, DOC, or comma delimited format (CSV). Note that you can export your report to one of the previously mentioned formats from the FastStats interface even after the report is generated (click Report and then Export). If you want FastStats to export your report, place a check next to Automatically Export Report and then click the Export Options button. Follow the steps of the Export Options wizard, and click Help if you have any questions. Click Next.

6. Enter in a Name for the report. This is how the FastStats report will appear in the Report Picker. Click Finish.

You're done. Select the report you want to run and then click Generate Report. And if you have any questions, e-mail support@mach5.com.


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