"When running a Web site of any size, it helps to learn about
the visitors you're attracting. The traditional solution for
monitoring Web traffic is a log file analysis tool such as analog
(http://www.analog.cx). analog is very fast, but what if you'd like
real-time or near-real-time statistics? You could run analog from
cron every five minutes, but what if you also want to issue ad-hoc
queries against your logs to answer very specific questions like,
'What's the average number of pages that each Internet Explorer
"Things begin to get difficult when you try to customize most
Web log reporting tools. And that's a shame. There's a lot of
interesting questions you might want to ask about your Web traffic:
'Where are users coming from? How do users find my site? Do users
usually enter through the home page, or does a search engine send
them to a more specific page? Which browsers are being used? What
are my most popular '404-ing' (missing) URLs? Is another site using
"Unfortunately, most tools can't answer all those kinds of
questions out of the box. To answer those questions, you typically
need to extend an existing tool, write your own tool, or spend some
quality time with awk, grep, and wc.
"Or, you can turn to LAMP. By combining Linux, Apache (and
mod_log_sql), MySQL, and PHP, you can build a customized logging
and reporting system without a lot of effort. This month, let's
look at how to set up logging..."
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