Since I’ve had my first web server set up – somewhere around the year 2000 – I’ve been running tools to analyse my logs daily and generate statistics of visits such as referrers, browser versions, screen resolution, and other useful data. I have tried several different tools since then, but the one I’ve been using for most of that time is AWStats.
Today I was having a look at the statistics of one of my websites to try and make sense of how many mobile users I had, and their operating system breakdown. This is what I had for OS under my (newly updated) AWStats:
This is not very helpful; it doesn’t list any mobile OS (it is probably folding them under their original desktop counterparts, or under “Unknown”).
The browser statistics fare a little bit better:
But it is still a little awkward to read; and I don’t think the “IPhone (PDA/Phone browser)” statistics seem very accurate either.
I had a look at Google Analytics’ stats, instead, and this is what I found, for OS statistics:
And for browsers:
Although the date range used in the statistics above is different, the list seem more accurate (at least for what Google Analytics has access to, which is my main WordPress install), and it lists all modern OS and browser variants correctly. And, of course, I also have advanced parameters I can add to my list (like OS version, or even device types) that are not pictured here.
Log analysis tools still have their place for detecting, say, 404s or direct links to raw assets (like images) coming from third-party domains. But for page access and audience analysis, it seems their days are long gone. They died a while ago, but I suppose I only noticed it now.