Open Source and Web Analytics

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Open Source and Web Analytics

Open Source software has been gaining momentum over the past several years - the big winner recently being the Android OS, which is popping up everywhere, from smart phones to the ...

Open Source software has been gaining momentum over the past several years – the big winner recently being the Android OS, which is popping up everywhere, from smart phones to the new tablet PCs that seem to be all the craze this year.

It’s no surprise that open source web analytics solutions are now also starting to crop up. The first one that came to my attention was Piwik. I immediately went out and installed it on my web server to try it out. Unfortunately I was mostly underwhelmed with the product. I love the idea of using a locally hosted solution, with real-time data. However the level of reporting and customization left a lot to be desired. It lacked the ability to do any sort of custom tracking at all, and the total number of reports (around 15 or so) were barely adequate to my needs.

Therefore I put Piwik up on the shelf and returned to Google Analytics (not open source, but thankfully still free).

Today I became aware of yet another open source web analytics tool – Open Web Analytics. Needless to say I immediately went and installed it as well, to test out its functionality. Based on their comparison chart, they appear a lot more robust than Piwik.

I look forward to seeing how well this tool performs compared to Google Analytics and Piwik. As I’ve had more time to work with this tool, I will report an update.

Do you use either Piwik or Open Web Analytics? Are you using another open source analytics tool that I have not mentioned in this article? How do you feel about open source vs. proprietary software? Please share your experience/opinions in the comment section.

Gabriele has been doing "Web Stuff" since the mid-1990s, and Web Analytics since 2005. She began with Omniture SiteCatalyst (now known as Adobe Analytics) and is now also well versed in Google Analytics. She has been building a team of professional analysts who have expertise in all the major analytics platforms, including Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, IBM Coremetrics and WebTrends.