JAWStats is a free web statistics and analytics package. It reads log files created by the ever-popular AWStats web statistics software and outputs the information in it’s own format.
Why was JAWStats made?
There were two main reasons behind the decision to create JAWStats.
Firstly, with no criticism of AWStats whatsoever (if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be writing this, would I?), the way AWStats creates static HTML pages seems processor intensive. Like many developers, I have multiple websites hosted on rented shared servers, all requiring detailed stats; continually running AWStats eats up valuable resources on these machines. This does nobody any good. JAWStats attempts to take as much processing away from the server as possible, letting the web browser take over as much as it can.
Secondly, I simply wanted to see my data laid out differently. I like big, bold graphs, charts and calendars. That’s just me.
What are the benefits of using JAWStats?
Apart from the potential to reduce the processing overhead associated with AWStats, simply put, if you’re already using AWStats, adding this interface is incredibly easy. An experienced user can be running in under a minute; it only has one tiny file to edit and can handle as many or as few sets of statistics as you wish from one installation. If you don’t like it, just wipe it, JAWStats doesn’t interfere with AWStats in any way.
It is very easy to switch which month of stats you wish to view, it even remembers which page you were on so month-by-month comparison is easy. The ability to switch between the logs of different sites you may own is just two-clicks away also. For those of you who might not like the idea of this feature – a freelance web developer not wanting Client A viewing Client B‘s stats, for example – you’ll be pleased to know it is easily switched off!
Updating your stats via the interface is also possible (just as it is with regular AWStats), but it has an increased buffer of security. AWStats did (does?) suffer from vulnerabilities to malicious attack; I believe (hope?) I have removed that issue here.
In essence though, I’m not trying to “beat” AWStats. I haven’t rewritten anything, I just read the logs AWStats creates. I’d like to think that JAWStats provides – or at least will provide – greater depth of information than AWStats does by default. I’d like to think it does this in a more readable format.
Finally, although at the time of writing only a default design is available, JAWStats has been written very much with the idea of “themes” in mind. You are more than welcome to design your own JAWStats look and feel and skin it as you like. If there is enough interest in future, user generated themes will be made available via this website.
Only one that I can really think of, but it doesn’t bother me, so there!
Joking aside, there is more clicking (but less scrolling) involved. When you first view the page, the core piece of information you want to see is displayed: how many people are coming to my site at the present time*. 95% of the time, that’s all I care about. If, however, you want to go drilling down further for more information, then you have to click to do so. In the clicking vs. scrolling debate, I prefer clicking.
At the time of writing this software is firmly in beta. It currently works only with AWStats default settings. This is highly likely to change in future, but for now, this is the state of play.
* Actually, you can set the default page view to be any one you like.
What are the system requirements?
The sole requirement is that the server must have PHP installed; no databases or special includes or plugins are used or required at all. Obviously, AWStats must be already installed and working on the server too. You’ll need a half decent web browser get the best out of it.
How does JAWStats work?
AWStats is standalone software in it’s own right. It doesn’t need JAWStats or anything else to do it’s job. JAWStats however relies on AWStats log files to work.
JAWStats reads the log file(s) created by AWStats. AWStats must run as normal on your server, but the process of building HTML pages is no longer mandatory. If you choose to try, but not keep JAWStats, then simply remove it from your server and go back to having AWStats create the pages you view. All of this is discussed in detail in the JAWStats documentation.
Why is it called JAWStats?
How much does JAWStats cost?
Nothing. It, like AWStats, is free software released under the MIT Licence.