- Quick and easy to set up
- No credit card required
- Unlimited use during the trial
- From just $6/mo after the trial
Looks like a flat fee? Hard to tell from that wording. They should make this more visible on the front-page and elaborate on the "from just $6/mo".
And to head off a couple of popular distortions/digressions:
1. There's a difference between wanting a free hobby tier and believing that I'm owed a free hobby tier.
2. Just because a company should be paid for their work doesn't imply that I'm obligated to use their product.
Free trials are just fine like that.
6$ / month for a personal website.
12$ / month for a startup.
36$ / month for a business.
There's no ad revenue to support this business — the website owner is the customer, not the product. That is a different business model from Google analytics or WordPress free analytics.
With Google analytics, you are the product, not the customer. Free ad-supported SaaS is really a different value proposition from non-ad-supported paid services.
Also I just checked out the pricing's placement and that is utterly terrible UI - the site uses light greyshade striping in the background for difference sections and then has the pricing block proceeded by a very dark background block with no information immediately visible - this is a clear visual flag for the rest of a page being irrelevant and a footer.
And, just to clarify, the site's actual footer uses the exact same coloring for the footer along with a similar amount of excessive top-padding.
Additionally, as a business, you want to make sure users are following a pretty predictable flow through some limited entry points (like homepage, FAQ, information bulletins) - then either to pricing and then additional information or additional information then pricing (then, ideally, a sale).
If a user is returning to the entry point (i.e. a flow like information bulletins > home page > FAQ > information bulletins) and that happens enough then you can assume that some information users want after the FAQ (maybe, ideally, you think the pricing) isn't being delivered to them and so they're returning to their entry point to see if they browsed the information incorrectly.
If you've got good stats on how far down on a page people are scrolling that could also be something helpful to detect the specific UI issue I mentioned in the post above.
I might suggest Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug as a resource if you'd like to learn a bit more about user flow analysis.
Tbh, I disagree. While a lot of the above is true, it's largely popular because it's a recognisable brand, and because the majority of frontend devs are already familiar with it and haven't felt the need to explore an alternative (network effect).
While an alternative does really need to be free and easy to implement, it also needs to address the above two hurdles, which is a tough ask.
Why do you need framework specific libraries on top of that?
If someone set up a Scroogle Analoytics which had a simple code snippet, was free, and had near-identical looking dashboard, I'd use it.
(Disclosure: I work for Google, and have run Google Analytics on my site since before I joined)
With GA, I can do none of that; it's just a massive unreadable blob I can only load from the GA servers. I just have to trust Google doesn't do anything I don't want (including XSS, but also other issues). It's not even easy to figure out what information exactly it collects last time. It's very untransparent and un-auditable and the website equivalent of loading binary kernel blobs.
How true is this? There's popularity, and there's significance in the face of Photoshop's market hold. I'd love to believe there's some significant dent being made in Adobe's market share here, but I doubt it.
If your boss asks you for some analytics about site usage the first thing searching the web will turn up is GA and you can have it set up on a test env in less than half an hour including acquiring an API key and reading enough docs to configure it.
Nobody would pay for Photoshop if it didn't provide value.
For photo retouching, I prefer Affinity Photo. One thing I especially appreciate about it is how efficient it is at handling large, 16-bit-per-channel images with many layers.
Photoshop is useful to have around mainly because it makes it somewhat easier to work with certain kinds of PSD files that I get from other people.
My mate worked at Yahoo, and they used Yahoo Analytics, and he said it was great, but that when you ran into any issues at all, good luck working out what to do!
The reality of an analytics product is that a non-techy marketing person needs to be able to solve their own issues without wasting tech time (which is the only reason why TagManager exists), and that's a REALLY hard problem to solve.
google reserves that for itself so as not to lose it's dominance of online advertising and targeting. why would they share their bread and butter with the little guys?
The scarier implication is they don't need GA to understand web trends. They can collect far more data using Chrome, AMP, Android, Ads, and more.
It does seem like Google is in a textbook case of dumping to prevent new competitors from arising though.
It's more valuable to them to be able to truthfully say they don't add GA data to it. Meanwhile offering GA for free chokes out that competitive avenue to anyone else.
I'm also unclear on whether "opting out of tracking" under the definition you're implying is possible. Any entity tracking you needs to track that you've opted out of tracking, which requires tracking you. Whoops.
Imagine a system where you opt in to tracking, if you are not opted in, no data about you is written into any system used for business analysis.
Of course you can't/shouldn't stop all writes to your systems, like server access logs, but you can draw a line between operational and business data.
Of course if you have access to both operational and business data sets you can analyze data for people who have not opted in, but I would rather live in a world where we at least try to enforce a separation between the two.
There are also ways to opt out of ad targeting but that's irrelevant to this discussion.
the massive organizational system itself, nevermind the massive computational systems, acts against doing this thoroughly and auditably.
it's also hard to believe that they'd get the data out of every last nook and cranny when they don't even swap out dead hard drives in their datacenters because of time and cost to find them (as related to me by a googler a number of years ago).
and they have an army of lawyers and lobbyists for anything that falls all the way through the cracks to the public in a way that allows lawsuits (gdpr and the like).
The army of lawyers look within too. The problem with big companies is usually that they lobby their way to do things that you don’t like. They are usually very good at working within those parameters.
That’s why you generally don’t see data breaches in places like Google. When you do, they are usually a combination of acute issues (hacking, etc) and incompetence (Equifax). There are overlapping controls and segmentation that make it harder to rogue stuff without oversight.
At a startup or small adtech place, forget it. The controls are not there and the company has nothing to lose.
There are plenty of examples where Google have not honoured such expectations of trust. They have not, to date, gotten into "a lot of trouble".
The GDPR is probably the piece of regulation most likely to possess teeth big enough to get Google into a little bit of trouble, and the task of enforcing that is down to 1 person in a deliberately underfunded department in the country where Google has chosen to locate it's EU HQ
There is no will to prosecute Google for misbehaviour in this area.
-  https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/over-6700...
Actually, GA does have a creepy feature that lets you spy on individual users. It's called the User Explorer report (under Audience in the left-hand nav). It lets you page through each hit from a particular user. This is also the report that lets you process Data Subject Access or Deletion requests under GDPR or CCPA.
Can we stop with this nitpicking? You’re not paying any money, so it’s “free”. That Google analyses your data is another story: it could do it whether you’re paying or not.
Designing a website that has traffic insights while respecting your visitor's privacy requires effort.
If you want to delegate the insights, you can pay for it or let Google look at your data. The data goes straight into their ad exchange analysis. In fact, you cannot publish Google ads on your site unless you have had google analytics running on your site for a while.
I am not sure why HN are so negative about this post, when two years ago everyone were cheering for GA alternatives.
Although I do agree it needs to add "Pricing" in the Navigation section.
I do not see hosted analytics as real competition to GA since you have the same privacy problems.
Self-hosting should be the preferred option.
Plausible should provide instructions to self-host for people who want to try it.
>self hosting is not supported
Ok, then how do you prove it's open source?
This product goes in a long and tedious rant, trying to justify why they are indeed open-source. (https://plausible.io/open-source-website-analytics)
If you need to do all these mental gymnastics to try to convince someone (or yourself) that this is a legit open-source software project, then you are probably not open source.
The only open-source thing about this is that the code is visible in a public repo. That's it. There's no invitation to contribute or requests to open PRs. There's no community of OS contributors, no open discussion about features, and no instructions on how to self-host (and according to their website, an explicit intention to never support or release a genuinely self-hosted distribution).
This is my personal opinion but just because your code is publicly available, that doesn't make it open source. It is at best transparent development tied to a permissive OS license.
- https://ackee.electerious.com/ (Node.js based)
- https://github.com/zgoat/goatcounter (Golang) (Commercial Licensed)
- https://snowplowanalytics.com (Core-ware)
- https://count.ly (Core-ware)
https://www.visitor-analytics.io is also a great GDPR compliant alternative (Not open source).
Small correction: it's not really "commercial licensed", it's completely Open Source/Free Software according to the OSI definition and "four freedoms", and can be used for any purpose including commercial (EUPL license, roughly similar to the AGPL).
Only the hosted goatcounter.com SaaS operates on a "free for personal use, pay for commercial use" basis, but there is nothing stopping you from running your own instance for commercial purposes.
I think I need to clarify the README on this a little bit, as I had someone else ask the same question yesterday as well :-)
All the other competitors of GA are hobbyists whining about not making enough money. Get a real job and stop complaining about GA!
GA above works for Google and goat.
The limitation of *K views per month only serves to introduce confusion into the buying process for me:
- I don't know how many thousand views per month my website gets, to begin with. This is not something I have ever had to be concerned about but with this product, suddenly I need to keep an eye on this?
- The first question that comes to mind is that what happens when I go over? I see you have a FAQ answer dedicated to this. (A lot of people won't bother to read the FAQ)
- According to the FAQ, a one time "spike" is OK, but if it happens two months in a row someone will contact me? This seems murky and introduces uncertainty. And not sure I want to sign up for a $6/mo. product where a vendor is going to be contacting me to "discuss upgrade options".
- That said, I don't know what "discuss upgrade options" means. Does this mean you'll contact me to force me to upgrade? Or is it just a suggestion? Is there a time frame in which I'd have to do it or will you cut off the service if a decision isn't made in a timely fashion?
- Your highest plan allows 1M pageviews per month. What happens if I go over that? Is there a higher, unlisted plan that I would be asked to upgrade to?
A lot of the above may seem silly but I'm trying to illustrate the kind of murkiness that might cause a user to think, "I don't know exactly what I'm signing up for" and move on to other solutions.
Browser (~3 lines of JS) -> API Gateway -> SQS Queue -> Lambda (ETLs queue into) -> Athena.
I was originally just going to use Postgres, but RDS/Aurora are expensive and running Postgres in EC2 is going to be at least as much work (configuring SSH, process management, backups, monitoring, logging, image building, networking, etc).
My custom plan is ~$3/month all-in provided I stay below ~1M requests per month, and even then it scales very cheaply. Also, this design is highly scalable, although I doubt I'll ever take advantage of it; it's mostly just icing on the cake. The main motivation is that these components are available on the free plan ("forever", not just the first 12 months) and/or the pricing model makes the charges negligible for my super-low-volume use case.
Note that this doesn't give me pretty dashboards; the interface is SQL. Fortunately, there are other analysis tools that I have at my disposal which can plug in to SQL.
Lastly, of course my $5 budget doesn't do justice to the actual value of my time; it's more of a fun challenge. If I really just wanted web analytics, I should shell out the $6/month for plausible or similar.
while it's a whole lot less signal per site, long-tail websites can provide more signal per visit than large ones. knowing you like kazakh folk music more uniquely identifies you for targeting than knowing you read cnn.
and for small sites, you don't often need a lot of data. just knowing number of visits and some basic visitor characteristics (country, time, etc.) on a per-page basis is usually as much as you need to make use of. depending on the business, a large site can and possibly should build custom analytics as a competitive advantage that doesn't have google (and facebook, amazon, etc.) looking over their shoulder.
nobody really needs GA. many don't even need realitme analytics afforded by a js library loaded on every page. you can just do log analysis, à la the original urchin analytics that google bought long ago.
Also, to reemphasize, the primary purpose of the blog and its infrastructure is to serve my own amusement and to indulge my technical interests.
Linux VM for $3.50/month: 512 MB RAM, 1 processor core, 20 GB SSD, 1 TB/month outgoing transfer. For $5/month: 1 GB RAM, 1 processor core, 40 GB SSD, 2 TB/month outgoing transfer.
Should be enough for a hobby blog, especially if static.
They have images for Amazon Linux, two Ubuntu versions, two Debian versions, FreeBSD, OpenSUSE, and CentOS.
They also have a few images with various things preinstalled and preconfigured: WordPress; Joomla; Drupal; Django.
Might not be very helpful in your case but I'd recommend thinking about using a simpler setup than SQS Queue + Lambda, if that works for you ️
I did try to find something simpler, and I remember looking at Fathom but I don't recall off the top of my head what my qualm was. Basically anything that involves a VM is more complex than the system I described and anything that involves Docker is considerably more expensive (Fargate/ECS/EKS pricing models).
It's a little more complex, yes, but running a VPS with a few services / docker is not really that complex in the grand scheme of things. It opens you to the world of open source and/or just running long-lived processes. You also could host your site on it, removing a dependency on github offering free static hosting forever.
And for my experience proxied websites (in free plan) are way slower compare to bare websites, like 300ms latency vs 50ms latency.
Nice site, too. Bookmarked :)
Wtf, this is the opposite of "up front." You had to poke around and figure it out yourself based on a suspicion. Up front means that they just tell you, no figuring out required.
Even if they had said in their very first sentence of the content "Disclaimer: We are a competitor to Google Analytics", I would have already known before that.
It's blatantly obvious, they didn't need to spoon feed me. This isn't some submarine article.
>"I am THE ONE. You only need to know me. I am better than all of you."
But maybe to you this was a similarly difficult task, so I apologize if I was being insulting by belittling it. Sorry!
You don’t have to read to the end of the article to know this, it’s communicated in the TOC at the very start. They could hardly be more transparent if they tried. This is not a submarine article, people are knee-jerk making this into something it isn’t.
I know a lot of people agree with the premise of ditching Google Analytics but don't necessarily want to read a biased pitch piece about it.
This has been the case as long as I've been here and probably long before.
Which is only true is there is no caching and I highly doubt that these files are configured not to be cached after the first load
By design, Google Tag Manager and gtag should not be cached. The behavior of those scripts can be configured from wizard interfaces, and there is an expectation that published changes take effect immediately.
Also, all of these scripts are deeply and thoroughly asynchronous. They are designed not to impact site speed. Not to say that they can't or won't (I've seen GTM do horrendous things when used improperly), but I would trust an actual timing metric over a file size metric.
As a marketer you would want as much data as possible available for remarketing. The wider your audience the better your conversion rate. Without Google Analytics you will be remarketing only to the remarketing list created in Google Ads but not any and every audience that is being tracked by your Analytics property.
Information search. The last time you looked up how to do something, for example, you bought a product off of a Google ad?
What do you define as a "conversion?" I specifically said "sales." People in the ad biz want to define "conversion" as something else- but those of us paying for the ads want to make a sale. If somebody (or a bot) who has no intention of buying clicks on the ad it's a mistake for both of us. Yet with Google anyway, any attempt I make to keep people from mis-clicking (by putting a price in the ad, for example, to indicate up front that if you're looking for free this is not your link) earns me a penalty by reducing something deceptively labeled as my "quality score."
I would love to see the numbers you are referring to, though. Maybe something would occur to me to help me see how to navigate the mess.
Where do you go when you want to buy something? Google? Probably not. That's why Amazon is dominating. Google can be used for branding, I'm told, and that's important- but requires a different mindset.
"Try our product instead!"
<closes tab in disgust>
I saw Plausible appeared after Simple Analytics launched their product. I'm glad to see GA alternatives becoming popular.
Here's a popular question these days: "when can I stop supporting IE 11?" With GA, the answer comes in a couple of clicks; revenue generated sliced by browser version. I don't even see the revenue generated section of Plausible, or really any way to associate any metadata with custom events. GA gives you this functionality without any coding.
If you don't want to use GA, try something like Amplitude, which has a lot more data manipulation options than Plausible.
Knowing where your traffic is coming from, if your new redesign helped or hindered users in finding content, and knowing which traffic sources result in the most sales sounds business critical to me.
I've seen lots of situations where when we look into analytics, it becomes obvious users are having trouble finding content or don't know the content is there to be found (e.g. putting an important link behind a navigation menu was a bad idea).
I feel people can overly focus on the more manipulative side of A/B test, but analytics is useful for improving your UX as well. Not everyone runs a personal blog without a care for monetisation or viewership either.
GA unique visitors: ~350
Cloudflare unique visitors: ~2900
So the difference is pretty overwhelming - I assume that cloudflare count some bot traffic as well or something?
Is it even a reliable source of stats (cloudflare)? If not, why?
> Give Plausible Analytics a try
Plausible Analytics is built with simplicity, speed and privacy in mind. We’ve used Google Analytics for years and understand its pitfalls
There are some misleading parts of the article, which makes it even worse (e.g. by default Google uses the data from GA to profile users).
You can't be serious. Who in this day and age reads an article and thinks "Hmm, that was useful, I'll send the author a note of thanks"?
This might have been the case in 1995 when there were only a few websites around, and Internet use was considered leisure time and not part and parcel of everyday life.
I do. Maybe you should, too?
I also pull comments from LessWrong and Facebook, though the FB comment integration is pretty temperamental.
Without that, you'll loose a really strong signal for self improvement, and your blog might become write-only...
Certainly if you're looking to build an audience, then the popularity of your posts is an important metric that will help you craft additional popular posts.
But it seems to me that the the only _quality_ indicator isn't a metric at all - it's actual feedback from people who have read what you've written.
You can delve into metrics like the time spent on a page but in the long run popularity is the king since it also reflects dwell time.
But metrics and statistics are the very foundation of science, and the graal of software engineering. I can't resist the temptation of knowing which browsers and the countries of the users of my website, or how many hacker news visitors come to it every other season, so many possibilities... sigh
No need to snitch on your visitors to big G.
That said, you state what many have been been saying for years - GA is overkill for most sites and gives a stupid amount of information to Google. But sites are giving up their users information to any 3rd party analytics package, not just GA.
Hosting your own analytics is the only ethical way to go, unless you really, really need the demographic data that GA provides (which you probably don't).
Having passive feedback that people are actually reading your posts is nice but a simple hit-counter would probably do the job and relieve your readers of losing another little slice of their privacy.
I'm going to take a leaf out of the poster's book and mention my own project in passing: https://sheep.horse/visitor_statistics.html
“Google uses the information shared by sites and apps to deliver our services, maintain and improve them, develop new services, measure the effectiveness of advertising, protect against fraud and abuse, and personalize content and ads you see on Google and on our partners’ sites and apps”.
The article's use of that verbiage is deceptive. I think it's not actually a lie, but it's misleading.
When you use the Google Analytics product, Google is a Processor under GDPR and a Service Provider under CCPA. They are contractually bound not to process that data beyond providing the service to you, which is dashboards. It is illegal for them to dip into this data for their own purposes without additional authorization from the customer. (Note that in contrast, when you include a Facebook share button, Facebook is a Joint Controller and not a Processor.)
Sharing Google Analytics data with Google is possible but optional. It's fairly easy to do and encouraged (it enables certain features), but those checkboxes have big legal terms next to them that tends to give people pause.
In particular, the Advertising Features setting allows Google to make a connection between Google Analytics data and Google Ads or DoubleClick data.
Legal action against a multi-billion dollar corp. is the most expensive and about the last option for defending privacy of normal people.
They’d just explain it away as an error and be given a few million dollar slap on the wrist.
It would be very easy for Google to make a plain language public statement about this and clear things up, the way Apple goes about their privacy/data handling.
It’s not a good sign that they choose not to.
and https://www.google.com/policies/privacy/ says under "Provide personalized services, including content and ads"
>We use the information we collect to customize our services for you, including providing recommendations, personalized content, and customized search results.
Google's usage of Analytics data is restricted unless GA is integrated with Google Ads.
I think section 6 may actually be referring to collecting data about the Google Analytics user's usage of analytics, not data about the website visitor. I.e. if Bob puts GA on his website and Alice visits the website, then the sentence you quoted is about Google tracking Bob's usage of GA, not about Alice's visit. But I am very unsure about that.
It's not really about an ego boost, and in any case, egos can take a pretty major bruising during the very anxious weeks.
Actually Google killed that report earlier this year. It's kind of a big deal, a lot of companies were using ISP dimension to distinguish external vs employee traffic.
No, and trying to make your content more appealing based on analytics is often a great way to tend towards SEO optimized blogspam.
0 value for my personal websites. All the value for Google.
No JS, no tracking, just basic analytics. Even if it's only a personal blog, knowing what people care about is helpful
If anyone has recommendations for something self-hosted like this, I'm in the market :)
Analytics are for optimizing your business and presentation, for finding out how big your audience is, how it responds to new content or features, etc. And for users it's not a loss of privacy if the data is anonymized.
Even for your personal blog, if you treat it as a tool for reaching an audience, then analytics are useful for growing that audience. When you put effort into writing articles, you want to see some results, after all it's an investment. And even if it's a hobby, seeing the size of your audience can serve as motivation. Even if it's a hobby, as long as you publish it online, you want others to read it, so it isn't a hobby that you can do in isolation without feedback.
In fact analytics can be a legitimate interest under GDPR. Usage of Google Analytics might be in a gray area due to it being a third-party and it's debatable if they are GDPR compliant, but usage of analytics in general is perfectly legit without explicit consent, as long as the data is anonymized.
Analytics requires a lot of trust to not screw you up. It's a third party script that you add in pretty much every page of your web site. I'm still looking for a provider that I can tame with CSP rules, and comes with the most minimal things I need to know. A pixel tracker would have suited majority of us.
> That customer model is a mental construct of said companies.
Well enough, but as I said, it's the one they care about. You seem to have a dualist view of customers where there are some things they care about that do affect economic behavior, and others they care about but which do not affect their economic behavior. I don't buy that model. I prefer the monist model where in competitive markets the customer expresses the totality of their preferences through economic behavior. I know it's incorrect, like all models, but I think it's least incorrect.
I doubt there's more than a tiny fraction of customers that even knows the existence of Google Analytics. Of them, only a small fraction of those has any idea of its capabilities. And of those customers, only an even smaller fraction even checks whether a site is using it before deciding whether to shop. The notion that a large fraction of customers care about the use of GA just doesn't fit with these other observations and conjectures. Please correct me with data if you think I'm wrong.
And anyway, whether you're right or me, the monist model encompasses everything companies have any incentive to care about, so it's the one that will be used to drive decisions. It's also the one that we can use to predict company behavior.
With the web there are a lot of crusade like topics that while technically correct the maelstrom of finger waving blog posts really don't seem to change much and few really offer workable solutions to accomplish the goals that doing the thing they don't want you to do accomplishes.
I do like that they did actually include some alternatives that still were analytics.
If you do care whether people are reading what you write, then analytics is the obvious way to find out.
But even if all you want are traffic stats, a client-side analytics package is still a better way to gather that information.
Google Analytics--and similar client-side analytics packages--supplanted server-side log analysis for a reason. It's much easier to implement, and gives you much more accurate counts of real people visiting your site, as opposed to spiders, bots, scripts, and other automated traffic that doesn't matter.