Which Analytics for your own Website

If you run your own website, wether it’s a blog or a real business, it’s neat to have some statistics about your visitors. You get to know, where they come from and which subjects they are looking for the most.

If you look closer at our website-code, you will finde these:

As you can see, the first one is Piwik and the second one ist Google Analytics.

The “installation” of Google Analytics is relatively straight forward. You create an account and get your tracking code, which you insert in a file of your site, which gets loaded everytime your site gets visited (e.g. header or footer).

But for me, Google is a little scary with collection all our data, so I wanted to get an alternative, in case we don’t want to share our user data with Google anymore.

If you don’t want to get tracked I recommend using a browser-plugin like Ghostery, but maybe after you read this article, you’ll whitelist Piwik (or even our Blog)?

So I found Piwik. An free Open-Source Software, everybody can host by themselves! Like wordpress, they promise an installation in 5 minutes. Which is maybe right, but sureley not possible at your first try.

However like the guide says, it’s really easy and even though the pictures in this guide are a little outdated you will find yourself with a working instance of Piwik in no time.

I won’t cover anything concerning installation, because the FAQ section is also absolutely fantastic. (but if you got some further questions, maybe I can help you in the comments)

What to choose?

As you can see, we use both at the time of writing this, maybe this will change in the future.

The possibilities of them both are very equal for our usecase. We only want to know how many people we reach with our work and where they coming from. (For e-Commerce sites, tracking is far more interesting and important.)

But then why should you concern hosting your own Analytics Server with Piwik you might ask.
  • Privacy concern: in times of big security agencies you shouldn’t give them your data too easy
  • you can do some more neat things with your database aside from Piwik and evaluate it after your personal interests (but Piwik does a good job, e.g. I really like this world map)
Piwik Visitor Map
Piwik Visitor Map
  • having fun and use your already running server for something usefull
  • you are in control!
  • the only this missing for us with Piwik are the keywords, users used, to find one of our posts (with Google.com), which no analytics tool can get, because of privacy reasons (Google also does not show them either)
  • it’s Open-Source, you really can make sure nothing goes to some companies, trading with user data


I really recommend reading the FAQ and if you got 30 minutes time afterwards, creating your own Piwik based analytics for your website! But I can’t blame you for using Google Analytics cause it comes without any installation and further service needed.

But why should you always take the easy way? 😉