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Thread: Unique Visitors

  1. #1
    Senior Member seanmiller's Avatar
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    I am becoming somwhat suspicious of the visitor counter on one of my sites (running Mambo) and want to re-code it.

    What is the most effective way to count unique visitors at any point in time? If the visitor is browsing the site I don't want to keep counting them, but neither do I want to insist that they accept a cookie.

    Can I count unique visitors without use of cookies (maybe using header information or the ilk) and if so, how?

    Presumably things like "Webalizer Stats" must do it...

    Sorry if this is so simple that it should be obvious... I don't seem to be making any progress on "google"...

    Sean

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  3. #2
    Senior Member jbagley's Avatar
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    Tracking I.P. addresses could be a solution, but even thats not totally fool proof because of proxies.

    Do you really want a counter on your site, or is it just for personal use?

  4. #3
    Senior Member DanielOliver's Avatar
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    I would suggest checking out Shuan Inman's ShortStat. That's free, easy to install and is a pretty neat bit of kit. There is also Mint, which is again done by Shuan Inman but this is $30 for a license. www.haveamint.com

  5. #4
    Senior Member Fallout's Avatar
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    I came here to suggest Mint, but since that's already been said, I second it.

  6. #5
    Senior Member seanmiller's Avatar
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    Ok, that's an idea... download one of these things and then look at how they did it.

    In reply to Jason, it isn't that I particularly want a counter on my site... using it as much as anything as a training exercise, learning the best way of doing such a thing... hence the question...

    IP addresses aren't what I'm after... if multiple folks in an organisation, for instance, they'll no doubt share an IP... I want to know the unique visitors...

    Sean

  7. #6
    Senior Member Rince's Avatar
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    There is no one factor that says a person is unique. One method might be to look for a goup of factors. e.g. if the IP matches, the browser type matches and the screen resolution all match then I is maybe the same person. But even then it's not a certain. Many big firms and netcafes will have hundreds of computers all with the same IP and hardware/software setup.

    Using a tacking cookie is the most used method. Course you'll end up one of the sites listed in Ad-aware as installing tracking cookies on peoples machines. Another method is to use a flaw in flash that allows what is commonly called a "Cake" to be stored on the users machine. Though I think cakes are bad. I've altered my flash config to turn them off.


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