Traffic analysis tools for websites


eAnalytics (Figure 6) is not well known internationally, but is popular in Germany. The analysis tool, released by Integrated Analytics GmbH five years ago as open source, is designed for medium-sized enterprises. It seeks to make the technologies used in large-scale companies affordable for firms with fewer resources.

Figure 6: eAnalytics is open source software from Germany. The figure shows the default view; the latest version of the software is available as a package for Ubuntu 14.04.

The focus is on merging data. eAnalytics seeks to meaningfully link data from web analytics with enterprise data from CRM systems, data mining and warehousing, and marketing systems.

The company offers support and managed services for eAnalytics and will build enterprise-specific extensions if necessary. eAnalytics provides a simple user opt-out like Piwik. At the same time, it honors Do Not Track requests from the browser. IP addresses can be pseudonymized in the configuration or not collected in the first place.

The software is released under the AGPLv3 license. Data from the tags of the page, external data from Google AdWords, a proprietary Twitter extension, and company-specific data serve as the data sources.

eAnalytics preconfigures 10 dashboards that can be extended using widgets. At the same time, it offers 55 interactive reports. You can install version 1.1.3 directly on the server as a Debian package; the current version is optimized for Ubuntu 14.04. Source code is available on SourceForge, but only for the older version 0.9.2 [17].

eAnalytics collects data with a JavaScript tool named eAnalytics Tag [18], which the server operator needs to additionally integrate [19]. One advantage of the web analytics software is that admins can distribute it to several machines in environments with many servers. For example, you can set up a separate server for the Tags component. You can explore eAnalytics upfront via a VMware image [20].


Fundamentally, the tools examined here – Piwik, OWA, and eAnalytics – do approximately the same thing as GA. Given appropriate hardware, the candidates can be used for websites with several million page views a day. The clear advantage is that all three keep the data on your own servers. This makes it easy for admins to comply with European data protection regulations.

Whether hosting locally is an advantage or a disadvantage for you is something you have to decide for yourself. But if you want to install, update, and maintain the applications yourself, you will need powerful hardware – in contrast to a scenario with GA. Piwik and eAnalytics, at least, offer supervised hosting.

If you completely reject GA, but do not have sufficiently powerful hardware for the mainline programs featured here, you can turn as an alternative to lean logfile analysis programs such as AWStats, Webalizer, or Analog. These may not provide the same wealth of information as the analytic applications, but they do still prepare the data in a clear-cut and graphically appealing way. They are fine if you only need an approximate overview.

Piwik has the edge in terms of popularity, dissemination, and developer community, which improves reliability and allows for long-term planning. The situation is not so clear with the two other candidates. Although both published their latest versions in the last twelve months, growth is far more restrained all told, and there are fewer developers on board. If you are interested in the integration of the acquired data with your business data, eAnalytics is the obvious choice; however, this unfortunately means doing without access to the source code for the current versions.

The Author

Ferdinand Thommes lives and works as a Linux developer, freelance writer, and tour guide in Berlin.

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