I’m swamped with work, and in my free time I’ve been writing madly. And I’m getting back to that in just a second, but I wrote this up quickly as a reply to someone and then realized that it was too long and I really should just post it here instead.
I just went through, for the second time in a year, an evaluation of of the professional-grade log analyzers. Since this might be helpful to someone…
My favorite is Urchin 5, and I’m profoundly grateful that my host offers it as part of my plan. It isn’t cheap — around $900. Then again, the version of WebTrends that offers the same features costs somewhere around $10K.
Webalizer and Analog are the most common free ones, but I like AWStats better than either. The free ones tend to be inflexible, showing you only the most popular 10 pages on your site. If you want to see numbers on a new page that’s getting a lot of traffic right now but hasn’t yet surpassed your top 10… no go.
And then there’s Refer, which doesn’t produce pretty graphs of any kind, but is really great for tracking inbound links as they appear. ShortStat is also really cool. (This seems to be the most recent version.) I gather it’s soon to be replaced by Mint. These two don’t analyze logs, but rely on bits of PHP embedded in the page instead. Both are free. (I’m guessing Mint won’t be. Update: Ah, I was right. Here’s the scoop on Mint.)
Update 3/30/06: A Complete Guide To Web Analytics Solutions has a more complete list and more up-to-date info. Check the comments on the post for readers’ suggestions on packages the authors missed.