Can there be difference between the stats from Google Analytics and Awstats?
That is what most will be seeing. Infact in most of the cases, Google Analytics will be showing only 1/3rd to 1/10th of the volume compared with Awstats.
Is this difference ok?
Yes. This is perfectly fine as they both work in a very different way. So infact if we are comparing their stats, we are basically comparing apples and oranges.
How does Google Analytics and Awstats work?
Google Analytics executes a java script on the client machine which is then used to log the information about the visitor on Google servers. Awstats works by reading the log files which are written by default on the website’s hosting server.
Why the stats from Google Analytics and Awstats are different?
There are tons of reasons why they are so different. The following are some of the few main reasons.
1. As said earlier Google Analytics expects the client machine to execute the java script. So if the client machine has restrictions in executing the java script due to security reasons, then those visitors will not be captured by Google Analytics. But Awstats will capture all visitors as everything is logged on the website’s hosting server.
2. Most of the proxy servers cache the webpage. So if a first visitor accesses a webpage using proxy server it is cached. When the second visitor tries to see the same page, it might be fetched from the cache in which case it won’t be logged on the website’s hosting server. Awstats will not see these visitors. The same logic applies when the client’s web browser has cache enabled.
3. Some browsers by default won’t execute the java script due to security reasons.
4. Firewalls can prevent the execution of java script i.e Google Analytics.
5. Spiders and Robots can’t execute the Google Analytics and they won’t be detected by Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is more for the non-techies and Awstats is more for the techies.