Data Collection — Server Logs

When a user clicks on a link to a web page or enters its URL, the page is requested from the server by the user’s ISP (internet service provider). During this exchange, the ISP shares user’s information with server. The server saves this information in what are referred to as server logs or web logs.

The data entries made by the server each time a user accesses a web page, contain the following user details:

  • IP address of the client (visitor’s) computer.
  • Time, date.
  • URI (unique resource indicator) of the requested resource.
  • URL (unique resource locator) of the webpage that the request emanated from.
  • Information about the client’s browser, operating system etc.
  • Information about the requested resource — file size etc.

This essentially provides a source of data for web analytics; however, it does have a number of drawbacks that are outline in the following sections.

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