If you want to know the movements and numbers of people visiting your WordPress site, you can use an external analytics software or you can install a plugin for this.
Statistics plugins and softwares enable you to view a broad range of information about your website visitors such as which web browsers they are using, their geographic location, pages visited, referring website, and more1. This information is not intended to identify individual users, although certain aspects such as IP address or the combination of operating system, browser, and other attributes may be exclusive to an individual2. Analytics are generally designed to give a statistical basis with which to make decisions about site design, outreach tactics, usability, and other issues.
You may wish to disable some of the record gathering features of these analytics tools for privacy reasons. For example, the ability to log IP addresses may cause concern when it comes to the controversial area of data retention.3 It is possible to set up an analytics tool so that it acts just as a page counter for the different areas of your site
There are several popular analytics packages on the internet that can be integrated into WordPress with relative ease. This chapter gives an introduction to some of these solutions, but there are plenty of other solutions out there.4
The OpenWebAnalytics package is open source, GPL licensed (the same license as WordPress).
According to the developers Slim Stat is:
A lightweight but powerful real-time web analytics plugin for WordPress. Spy your visitors and track what they do on your website. 5
There are some details on their installation page that is worth knowing about if you are considering using Slim Stat for a network of sites.
Database usage: WP SlimStat needs to create its own tables in order to maintain the complex information about visits, visitors, browsers and countries. It creates 3 new tables for each blog, plus 3 shared tables (6 tables in total, for a single-user installation). Please keep this in mind before activating WP SlimStat on large networks of blogs.
Install and activate the plugin in the normal way and then navigate to the Settings > SlimStat Config page to set your configuration.
When you have set up the system then you can check to see if it is working by viewing the Stats for your website:
The Dashboard show the total number of hits. But a more accurate representation of how many people are looking at your site is show in the Visitors tab.
Piwik is an external stats service that needs a separate install. WP-Piwik is a WordPress plugin which allows you to sync one site or even a network of sites to your Piwik install. There is documentation on installing and using Piwik on their site.6
You install and activate the WP-Piwik plugin in the normal way. Then get an auth code from your Piwik installation and enter it in Settings > Piwik.
One of the handy things about Piwik is the number of plugins that you can enable for it.
Navigate to the Plugins tab of your Piwik installation to see the currently activated plugins and those that are ready to activate.
In the screenshot above we can see one particularly useful plugin called AnonymizeIP. This allows you to anonymize the details of the IP addresses that are stored in the database. To do this you will need to make sure that the following is included in the global.ini.php files in the config directory and that the AnonymizeIP plugin is installed. There are more details on how to do this here - http://forum.piwik.org/read.php?2,1810
; number of octets in IP address to mask, in order to anonymize a visitor's IP address ; if the AnonymizeIP plugin is deactivated, this value is ignored ; for IPv4 addresses, valid values are 0..4 ip_address_mask_length = 4
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