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MMD > Archives > February 1997 > 1997.02.03 > 06Prev  Next

Business Via Internet
By John Wolff

Charles Flaum inquired about what Internet access counters actually count:

> Are sure that was 6000 visits or was it 6000 hits. It's very hard to
> determine the actual number of visits since one visitor can easily be
> counted as 10 hits depending upon how they cruise around your site.

The Web server itself counts every single item that it retrieves from storage. A fairly ordinary page might have some text, a photo, a couple of GIF rules or dividers, and maybe a couple of fancy icon buttons -- that's 6 separate items that have to be retrieved in order to display the page. If you have 10 such pages, and folk browse them all, you could easily clock up 60 "hits" per "visit". ISPs sometimes display these counts as a weekly Server Usage graph - 60,000 hits per week looks great, but it's probably only about 1000 actual "visits".

Most of the "page access counters" are separate programs that run on the server and count the number of times a specific item is retrieved, e.g., the text of your home page. You still need to be careful, as Charles says, depending on how you have set up navigation around your pages. If folk have to keep returning to your home page in order to go elsewhere, the apparent number of "visits" will be inflated.

Either way, there's no doubt that the World Wide Web and the Visa card have made an incredible difference to the ease of doing business, especially for those of us who don't happen to live in the USA.

John Wolff, Australia

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