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The Difference Between Visitors, Visits, Pageviews and Hits

The answer of this question is that a user might make many visits, one visit might consist of many pageviews and a page might generate a number of hits.

Very often we see the terms visits, pageviews and hits around the web. But what does each of them mean?

...a user might make many visits, one visit might consist of many pageviews and a page might generate a number of hits...

👥 Visitors (1)

• visitors load websites and view pages;
• a visitor can make multiple visits;
• there are new/unique visitors;
• and returning visitors;

A visitor might be also each application that requires loading a resource or a website’s page.

The web browser people use to go to websites is also a visitor on the Web.

👁 Pageviews (2)

• pageviews are also known as: pages, impressions, pages viewed;
• these are the pages a user has viewed;
• the very first page a user opens is called an entrance page;
• the last page a user visits is an exit page;

When a user goes to a certain website he usually loads a single page to view at a certain point. This web page has a URL such as mysupersite.com/products.html. When a user accesses the mysupersite.com/products.html page in their browser, the page counts one impression which means that is has been viewed once. Pageviews are counted only when a page’s URL (.html, .htm, .php, .asp, .aspx and others) is accessed.

🎰 Hits (3)

• each request to the web server is considered a hit;
• loading a web page can generate numerous hits;

Hit is each request sent towards the web server and each file sent to the web browser. Requests are usually made because of requiring or sending information. To load a certain web page, each resource is requested separately from the server. The resources of a page are: the page’s file (.html), the pictures’ files (.png, .jpg…) and all other web resources (.js, .css…).

One web page, for example, usually consists of four files: two pictures, a .js script and a .css file. When this page is loaded by a user, he will generate 5 hits – 4 of them for the resources/files and one hit for the .html file.

Hits are actually records in the web server access logs. For example Apache records of the following type:

"> - - [06/Jan/2017] "GET /wp-content/themes/mytheme/style.css HTTP/1.1" 200 234 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3)"<br> - - [06/Jan/2017] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.1" 200 80 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Exabot/3.0)"<br> - - [06/Jan/2017] "GET /wp-includes/js/jquery/jquery-migrate.min.js HTTP/1.1" 200 7200 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 7_0 like Mac OS X)"

If search engine bots are aggressive, they might generate a huge amount of hits when indexing website content. This leads to greater CPU load and increased usage of resources from the hosting account. More active content indexing is considered normal for websites that update their content often or ones having many posts, products or loads of information.

In case you notice increased CPU time usage, generated by the hosting account you can check details in Awstats. If the server load is caused by aggressive or “bad” bots there is a way to restrict their access to your hosting account.

🔃 Visits (4)

• “visits” or sessions;
• a user can make multiple visits;
• a visit can lead to multiple viewed pages with lots of hits;

A visit might have duration, number of viewed pages, entrance and exit page. A user can generate a few visits that are separate in time. A visit is defined by the time for which a user goes through a website, opening page after page and then ends the session.

Important: The number of visits specified at the hosting plans parameters offered by SuperHosting.BG is approximate. It is used for demonstrating the hosting plan’s approximate capacity in relation to system resources such as CPU time, RAM and others. A given website might practically handle many more visits than the number specified at its hosting plan’s features. This is not a restrictive parameter and exceeding it will not lead to interruptions or shutdowns as long as the hosting plan’s system parameters (CPU time, RAM and others) are not exceeded.

Note: The specified feature concerns the number of visits, not the visitors, since 12.000 visits might be generated by 1.000 or 10.000 visitors. So the visits themselves use the hosting plan’s resources no matter how many users are generated. For example, if the website contains useful information, 12.000 visits might be generated only by 1.000 users. This is due to the fact that visitors find the website useful and interesting so they come back to it again and again and generate more visits. If the website does not offer abundance of information, but it has a great ad reaching large audience, 12.000 visits might be generated by 10.000 unique visitors who never return again on the website.

Stats for visitors and visits

Counting and analysis of users, visits, pages and others might be done with different web tools as the most popular one is Google Analytics.

The way to track and count visitors is implemented in the website itself. Some of the methods to collect visitors’ data is: by using their IP address, User Agent, cookies, unique registration identifier, etc.

All hosting services at SuperHosting.BG with cPanel also offer the Awstats web analytics tool. Visitors, visits and hits are counted by using the IP addresses. Analytics tools use data from web server logs.

When the number of users is counted by IP addresses, statistics might include the system communication of the web server. Thus the website’s application might be registered as a visitor if there is a cron job that needs to access a web page. An example is WordPress’ cron job system that calls the /wp-cron.php file to trigger cron jobs execution.

If you notice increased number of hits to wp-cron in your Awstats tool, you can try moving Cron Jobs from WordPress to cPanel. This will optimize your website’s resource usage and boost up the loading time.

Stats for visitors, visits and pageviews can be used as an indicator for the website’s popularity and reputation. Information about the hits can be also useful in measuring the website’s bandwidth.

All hosting plans and Managed VPS servers, offered by SuperHosting.BG, have unlimited bandwidth.

NoteBandwidth is measured in kB/MB/GB and shows the amount of data transferred from and downloaded to the hosting account. Unlimited bandwidth means that the hosting account does not hold restrictions in the amount of data that is sent/downloaded. Bandwidth is calculated when you receive/send mails, upload or download files from your server and perform all other actions with files that belong to the hosting account. When your website is loaded in the visitor’s browser there are also files downloaded (.html, .js, .css, .png, .jpg, etc) from the hosting account.

Updated on 15.11.2021

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