Wusage 7.1 Manual: clickthrough.cgi: Watching Outgoing Clicks

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Wusage 7.1 Manual

clickthrough.cgi: Watching Outgoing Clicks

It is often important to count the number of clicks on an advertising banner or other link which points to an external website. The problem, of course, is that the user's web browser obtains that page directly from the other website. As a result, the web server which contains the outgoing link has no way of knowing whether it has been used or not.

One good solution is to use the provided clickthrough.cgi CGI program on your server. To use this utility, place clickthrough.cgi or clickthrough.exe in A DIRECTORY ON YOUR WEB SERVER WHERE CGI PROGRAMS ARE ALLOWED. Please consult your webmaster if you do not understand this!

Next, access the URL of the clickthrough program. You will be prompted to supply the URL you would like to count clickthroughs to.

Enter a complete URL, such as http://www.boutell.com, and click on the Show Me The Link! button.

The resulting page will show you the exact URL you should link to in order to "click through" to the destination URL. It will also show you the URL you should enter as a pattern in the Items to be Charted (totalsgroup) option if you wish to count clickthroughs.

For instance, if you have installed clickthrough.cgi in a typical cgi-bin directory, you will measure clickthroughs to the URL:


By linking to this URL instead:

For Those Who Are NOT Using Microsoft IIS


For Those Who ARE Using Microsoft IIS


The clickthrough.cgi program instructs the user's web browser to move on to the first URL, and the access to the second URL appears in your web server's log file, where it can be reported on by wusage in many different useful ways. Most notably, the ^otion(totalsgroup) option can be used to graph accesses to a particular URL over time. It is also possible to compute clickthrough rates using this option.


1. Microsoft IIS users must also turn on the Keep Queries (URL after '?') (keepqueries) option to ensure that Wusage considers the part of the URL after the question mark to be significant.

2. The URL should NOT be escaped in the pattern you write in your Items to be Charted (totalsgroup) option. (Since spaces are not allowed in patterns, any spaces which are present in the URL should be written as question marks.) Therefore, you would write the pattern to match the URL in the example above as shown below. Note that the colon and slash characters are shown normally, instead of being escaped:


"Why is IIS different?"

clickthrough.cgi takes advantage of a standard feature of the CGI standard called PATH_INFO. The idea is that anything that appears in a URL after the name of the program itself is passed as input to the program. Most servers still log the complete URL, so it can be easily analyzed. Unfortunately, the IIS server does not log the complete URL in this situation. This is why it is necessary to use a different strategy and turn on the Keep Queries (URL after '?') (keepqueries) option in order to use the clickthrough.exe program with IIS. We apologize for the additional effort required.

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