Taking a Closer Look at Log Files
Web servers are neurotic. They record everything that happens on a server and put it all in a text file called a log.
Log files provide information about a website’s visitors, including page errors, broken links, and bandwidth usage.
If you have Site Analytics and also host your website with us, Site Analytics uses log files to generate your traffic reports. You can view and download a copy of your archived log files directly from the Log Files menu. Having access to the raw log files lets you review and manage your data how you see fit. This also gives you the option to create a backup of your traffic reports on your local machine.
Let’s take a look at an entry in a log file:
188.8.131.52 – - [06/Oct/2011:18:01:45 -0700] “GET www.coolexample.com/Gallery.html HTTP/1.1″ 200 5774 “http://coolexample.com/index” “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0) “
- 184.108.40.206 — This is visitor’s IP address.
- [06/Oct/2011:18:01:45 -0700] — This is the date and time of the entry. -0700 is the time difference to Greenwich Mean time (Universal Time). This log file was created when the web server was on US Pacific time.
- GET — This is the action. Usually it’ll be GET, POST, or HEAD. GET is the most common – it’s a standard “Gimme that file” request.
- www.coolexample.com/Gallery.html HTTP/1.1 — This is the object of the action. So, retrieve the page coolexample.com/gallery.
- 200 — This is the result of the action. 200 means the task was successful. If you’re interested, W3.org has a complete list of responses.
- 5774 — This is the size of the object in bytes.
- http://coolexample.com/index — This is the referring URL. This particular page was accessed from the home page of coolexample.com.
- Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.0) — This is the visitor’s browser information.
Site Analytics uses this log file data to create reports inside the application. But, if you want to manage the information differently, it’s there in the log files. We save six months of logs that you can download at any time. Just remember, you need to have your site hosted with us for Site Analytics to access your log files.
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