Wusage 8.0 Manual: Glossary of Frequently Used Terms


Wusage 8.0 Manual

Glossary of Frequently Used Terms

TermDefinition
accessesAn "access" is a single, successful request made by a web browser. Every successful request for any resource on the web server, whether for an image or a document or for another type of information, is regarded as an access. However, this definition can be changed through the use of the Allowed Documents (allow) and Ignored Documents (ignore) options, which can be used to include only accesses to certain types of resources and to explicitly ignore accesses to others. The definition of a "successful" request is determined by the Success Codes (successcodes) option.
agentsAn "agent," or user agent, is a web browser or other program used to access your web server. Most user agents are web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, but a significant number are automated Internet-indexing programs, such as Altavista.
bytesA "byte" is a single character of information. In the reports generated by Wusage, the "bytes transferred" figure refers to the number of characters of information that were sent to the browser. This is helpful in determining how much of the web server's connection to the Internet (how much bandwidth) is currently in use. It is especially useful to site administrators who pay for bandwidth by the megabyte or gigabyte on a regular basis.
calendarThe Calendar of Reports is a web page which contains links to all of the reports that have been generated for each individual epoch, as well as the cumulative summary report. This is the first page you see upon clicking the View Statistics button. For more information, see the Interpreting Wusage Reports section.
cookies"Cookies" are pieces of information which can be stored on the user's browser, at your web server's request. They are useful because the web browser submits these cookies back to the server on future visits. This means that individual users can be recognized again by assigning a unique "cookie" to each visitor. Wusage recognizes the presence of such cookies in the format produced by the Apache web server's mod_usertrack module, and also in the format produced by the Microsoft IIS 4.0 web server. Beginning in Wusage 8.0, Wusage deals more gracefully both with servers that log the cookie on the very first request and with cookies that do not. For more information, see the Server Configuration Tips section.
Downloads"Downloads" are attempts to obtain a particular file from your web server. Wusage 8.0 and above are capable of determining the percentage of download attempts which were actually successful. This is the "% of Complete Downloads" figure which you see in reports. This figure is defined as the percentage of attempted accesses which actually succeeded in obtaining all components of the document in question, including images, frames, and so forth. If a page contains 20 images, and the visitor requests only 15 of them, this counts as an incomplete download. If all 20 images are requested, but the program can determine that the images were not completely sent, this is also an incomplete download. If the user obtains the page only, and NO components at all are requested, this is considered a complete download from a text-based browsing device, indexing agent, web-exploring robot, et cetera. This method is valid because graphics-capable browsers will virtually always attempt to request at least one non-text component of the page. The percentage of complete downloads for an individual image takes into account instances in which the image should have been requested but was not, such as a case in which a page containing the image is requested and that particular image is not requested. If a page is accessed but none of its components are requested, this does not count as a failed attempt to obtain each of the components; but if even one component is requested, this then counts as a failed attempt to obtain each component that was not requested or completely sent.
EMLEML (Email Markup Language) is a simple alternative to HTML. EML is used to create plain-text email messages. EML tags are similar to HTML tags, but there are far fewer tags and the table mechanism is much less complex. For more information, see Email Markup Language (EML) .
epochAn epoch is an individual time period for which a report has been generated. Epochs can be days, weeks, months, quarters, or years, depending on the Daily Reports (daily), Weekly Reports (weekly), Monthly Reports (monthly), Quarterly Reports (quarterly) and Annual Reports (annual) settings. The Summary Reports (summary) report can also be thought of as a single epoch spanning the entire time range over which the program has been used.
macroA "macro" is a string which is recognized as a shorthand for another string. Wusage uses a report macro language to build its reports. These macros can be rewritten by the user in order to translate or otherwise customize the reports. See the Report Macro Language section for more information.
queryA Wusage query, or "quick query," is a question which can be answered by reviewing the data which is preserved by the program for this purpose. For more information, see the Quick Queries section.
trailA "trail" is a unique path among the documents on the web server, followed by one or more visitors to the web server. Every visit to the web server follows a trail. Commonly followed trails represent useful information about the preferred routes that your visitors follow. The most commonly followed trails, above a minimum length determined by the Top Trails Report: Minimum Steps (trailminimumsteps) option, are reported as part of the Chart Top Trails (trails) report.
visitA "visit" consists of one or more accesses made by the same visitor, with no more than a certain time interval between accesses. The maximum time interval is termined by the Max. Minutes Between Accesses (trailtimeout) option.

The identity of the visitor is determined by combining the authorized user name (when available), HTTP user-identifying "cookies", site (IP address), operating system, and web browser identifying information in order to produce the most unique "key" possible. Any such fields that are not actually available are not used. In the simplest case, where the log file does not contain any other user-identifying information, only the site (IP address) of the visitor is used. When cookies are present, they override all other factors.

When the maximum time interval has elapsed, the visit is considered to be over, and the next access by that visitor begins a new visit.

8.0 notes regarding visits: Many recently released web servers log a user-identifying cookie on the very first access, when it has been set by the server but not returned by the browser. For privacy reasons, many browsers will never return these cookies, which caused earlier releases of Wusage to count many single-access "one-shot" visits. Beginning in Wusage 8.0, "visits" that appear to consist of only one access are not counted as such. Instead, the "one-shot" visits are counted and set aside. Wusage computes the average number of accesses for the remaining, more meaningful visits, and then divides the number of one-shot visits by this average figure to arrive at the projected number of actual visits that these apparent "one-shot" visits actually represent. In order to arrive at a much more accurate figure, this proportion is then applied to the visits figures both for each individual document and for the site as a whole.

Of course, some servers do not log a user-identifying cookie on the first access. In order to deal with these cases, when Wusage 8.0 sees a cookie for the first time, it checks for an active visit in progress with no cookie and the same user IP address. If such a visit is found, the cookie and its subsequent accesses are assigned to that visit.

Beginning in Wusage 8.0, a visit that has "timed out" will not be stitched together again, even if a referring URL appearing later suggests that the same visit has continued. This was done both for consistency with reporting standards and for important performance reasons.

visitor (unique visitors Best Method)A "unique visitor" is a single, distinct person, visiting the site one or more times. Since web browsers do not always report any user-identifying information, this figure must be estimated by the best means available. Wusage uses the following method to count unique visitors:

If the number of user-identifying cookies logged at least twice is equal to at least 5% of the number of unique IP addresses, then the number of unique visitors is equal to the number of cookies logged at least twice, plus the number of accesses made by users not accepting cookies divided by the average number of accesses made by each user who did accept cookies. The resulting figure is a highly accurate projection of the true number of unique visitors, including those visitors who reject cookies and use other forms of identity-masking software. If cookies are not available, or the number of cookies logged at least twice is less than 5% of the number of unique IP addresses, then IP addresses are used as a basis for counting visitors. Beginning in 8.0 P43, the number of visitors reported when cookies are not available is equal to the number of IP addresses used to carry out at least one visit to the site comprising accesses to two or more files within the visit timeout interval, plus the number of accesses from IP addresses from which no such modelable visits were made divided by the average number of accesses from IP addresses from which modelable visits were made. This is the best available means of estimating the true number of users when no user-identifying cookies are available. Prior to 8.0 P43, the number of unique visitors was equal to the number of unique IP addresses when cookies were not available. While no method based on IP addresses can work as well as a method based on cookies, the new method introduced in 8.0 P43 is more accurate. The unique visits figure is available for use in the historical totals option, as well as in the executive summary (macro customizers should see the epoch.rmc file provided with 8.0 P14 and up).


Table of Contents
Topical Configuration Editor Reference
Alphabetical Configuration Editor Reference
Alphabetical Configuration File Reference
Glossary of Frequently Used Terms

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