answers basic questions about log files, including how to retrieve
them from your web site and how to configure FastStats to analyze
them. For a detailed tutorial on setting up FastStats, read the
are log files?
Log files can
be powerful marketing tools. Each time a file is "hit"
or requested by the client (the user browsing your web site), the
web server records information about the hit to a log file. One
log file generally records a days worth of "hits".
A web server is "hit" for each file necessary to build
the web page; not only is a hit registered for the .html file, but
hits also may be registered for any graphics within the HTML page.
Similarly, hits on Java applets, ActiveX controls, and executable
files are recorded in the log file.
servers record different information, but the following information
is almost always found in web server log files:
- The requesting
computer (i.e. n12.pa.isp.com, or in the form of an Internet IP
- The date
and time of the request
- The file
that the client requested
- The size
of that file
- An HTTP status
code. You are probably familiar with one HTTP status code: "404
file not found".
some web servers log the following information:
URL (the web page the user visited just before they "hit"
- Client name
(the name and version of the browser and the operating system
the browser is running under)
Log files can
easily grow to be very, very large. A relatively small web site
that has several thousand visitors a month will have approximately
25 megabytes of log files. Most other log file analysis tools (such
as WebTrends and HitList) are very, very slow, processing the log
files at a speeds of only 2-3 megabytes per minute. FastStats can
analyze your log files at speeds between 80-100 megabytes per minute.
WebTrends and HitList would take almost 10 minutes to analyze 25
megabytes of log files, while FastStats would only take 20-30 seconds
of your time.
the enormous amount of data in the log files and generates easy-to-read
reports that let you see how your web site is performing.
How do I Get These Log Files?
is discussed in greater depth, and a sample e-mail to send to your
web hosting provider or your system administrator is provided in
the FastStats tutorial.
If you operate
a web site, you probably either a) host the web site yourself, or
b) pay a 3rd party web hosting service to host your web site.
Host the Web Site Myself
If you host your web site yourself, you should consult
your server documentation for information on generating log files.
FastStats supports a variety of log file formats, including IIS
3.0 and IIS 4.0, Apache, NCSA, Netscape, O"Reilly, and any
other web server that can be configured to produce log files in
Common or Combined standard format. We have special tutorials for
users of IIS 4.0 and Apache servers.
Use a Web Hosting Provider
Your web hosting provider most likely provides you with log files.
These log files are stored on the web hosting providers computer
and are probably made available to you for download by FTP.
While you should
contact your web hosting provider for details, you must log into
your web hosting providers computer and download the log files
to your computer. The name and format of the log files will vary
by web hosting provider, but they most likely will "look"
like one of the following filename wildcards: httpd_access.* or
www_logs.DATETIMEPERIOD. Your log files may also be stored in a
subdirectory (most likely called /logs/). You should download these
log files to a directory on your computer. We recommend creating
a new directory on your hard drive and storing all of the log files
there. You may wish to create different directories for each months
Note: web server
logs are not the WS_FTP.LOG files generated by
the WS_FTP software; the WS_FTP.LOG file only records your uploads
and downloads to FTP sites.
do I configure FastStats to analyze my log files?
This is the easy part. The previous section described how to transfer
your log files to your computer, so you should now have either a
single log file, or a directory that contains several log files,
on your hard drive.
This is discussed
in detail in the FastStats Tutorial.
If you have
any more questions about the log file analysis process, or dont
understand something in the above help topic, e-mail email@example.com. Both unregistered
and registered users of FastStats may obtain free technical support.