Replacing Google Analytics with Piwik

I’ve been running Shaun Inman’s Mint since 2005 and it’s always been more than enough to let me know that almost no one visits my site. I like Mint.

Shaun stopped supporting Mint some time last year, but I thought I’d just keep running it indefinitely. Unfortunately, after a recent server update, it stopped working. Rather than trying to figure out what went wrong I decided I’d find a replacement.

The obvious answer is to use Google Analytics. I’ve been using Google Analytics for various sites since it was an expensive self-hosted package called “Urchin”. Google bought Urchin in 2005 and since then it’s pretty much become the de facto standard for web analytics.

I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with Google owning so much of my data so I thought I’d look for an alternative.

Back in the day I used AWStats. I like the idea of analyzing actual server logs rather than relying on pings from embedded JavaScripts but let’s face it, AWStats is homely and cumbersome. I’ll pass this time.

I decided to try Piwik. The basic version is free, open source, and looks to be very capable. I like that it’s self-hosted so I own all the data. In less than ten minutes from hitting the download button I had a fully-working installation of Piwik on my server.

Piwik is overkill for the handfull of visitors coming to this site, but it’s better than a broken Mint installation and it’s way better than handing everything over to Google.

Maybe click a few links so I can give it a workout.