SPIP contains a very simple system allowing you to count and track the number of visits to the site and to each article. It also allows you to know which other sites directed visitors to your site and to each article.
- Number of visits
Every day, SPIP identifies the "unique visitors* to your site according to their IP addresses. This system is fast and relatively reliable (it is a relatively accurate estimate of the number of visitors to the site, and not just the "hits" or "page views"; a visitor coming back several times to the same page is counted as a single "unique visitor").
- Direct visits or referrers
A "direct visit" is an arrival at the site or to an article’s page from another web site which contains a hypertext link to your own site (the former is itself considered as a "referrer").
For the entire site and for each article, SPIP displays the list of the main "referrers" (the pages displaying a hypertext link to your site), accompanied by the number of "direct visits" (the number of visitors who followed this link).
- A "relatively" reliable system
A complete system for traffic analysis is a very demanding application in terms of power and memory; therefore, the SPIP system is very simplified in order to be as fast as possible and as small as possible on the server’s hard drive. Furthermore, the counting of "unique visitors" is based on the visitors IP address every day, which is not the most precise method, but we still consider that it provides "relatively" reliable information.
If you want a more thorough analysis of your site’s traffic, you could use another system more specialised for such statistical analyses.
- A daily calculation
The traffic follow-up system integrated to SPIP performs calculation sof the number of visitors and referrers daily (not in real time). Consequently, some information may sometime appear incoherent because it does not integrate the visits of the current day. If in doubt, the specific page displaying the statistics is the one most reliable and detailed. Therefore, the statistics page of an article is only available after the first day of publication of that article (figures are unknown before that because SPIP has not analysed them yet).
- Enabling/disabling statistics and referrers
The counting of the number of unique visitors should not occupy a lot of space nor use up a lot of computing power. There is little point, then, in disabling it unless the server is very slow.
On the other hand, the system of counting referrers and direct visits is considerably more demanding. It is, therefore, disabled by default. It is recommended that it be enabled only on servers with no problems in computing power (servers which already struggle to calculate lengthy articles can certainly not cope with the burden of referrer calculations).
- N.B. The disk space and computing time necessary for the monitoring visits and referrers will increase with your site’s traffic. The more a site is visited, the greater will be the technical needs requirements to execute those tasks.