I find web analytics invaluable. The insight I get from basic statistics (things like page view counts, referrers, and countries of origin) helps me understand which posts work and which do not. Knowing that my posts are broadly read is what keeps me motivated to write new content. For this reason, this site has and will continue to use web analytics.
The tracker on this site—EndTRACKER, a custom-made tracker designed to replace Google Analytics with privacy in mind—collects the following information:
- The page you are visiting so that I can know which pages are popular and which aren’t.
- The site you came from (referrer) so that I can engage in conversations that happen around the web.
- Your user agent so that I can tune the visual appearance of the site and can filter out well-behaved bots.
- Your country (derived from your IP), so that I know how “far” each post has reached and whether translations are worthwhile.
- A servers-side identifier derived from pseudo-unique information available in standard HTTP headers:
- This identifier is a hash of your client IP, your user agent, the site ID (to make identifiers untraceable across sites), and a secret salt (to make identifiers unpredictable to anyone looking at the code or past data).
- This identifier is not high-fidelity and thus not stable over time.
- This identifier is necessary to distinguish page views from the number of visitors and, more importantly, to prevent abuse in the interactive voting and commenting features.
The tracker does not use any form of client-side fingerprinting nor cookies and everything it collects is the same (or less) information available in the logs of any web server.