Meaning of Hits, Visits, Page Views and Traffic Sources

There are many web app programs like Awstats, Webalizer in most cPanel and Plesk control panel web hosting server available that allow you to track visitors on your site, how they got to you and what they did while they were there.

Some time these statistics can be a little confusing so here is a little explanation on what you will be looking at and what each item really means.

Awstats Sample
Awstats Sample View
Webalizer Sample
Webalizer Sample View

1. What is Visit

A visit is one individual visitor who arrives at your web site and proceeds to browse. A visit counts all visitors, no matter how many times the same visitor may have been to your site.  

2. What is Unique Visit

A unique visit will tell you which visits from item 1 are visiting your site for the first time. The website can track this as unique by the IP address of the computer. *The number of unique visits will be far less that visits because a unique visit is only tracked if cookies are enabled on the visitors computer*  

IP Address - Unique Visit
IP Address – Unique Visit

3. What is Page View

This is also called Impression.  Once a visitor arrives at your website, they will search around on a few more pages. On average, a visitor will look at about 2.5 pages. Each individual page a visitor views is tracked as a page view.  

Page view
Page View

4. What is Hits

The real Black Sheep in the family. The average website owner thinks that a hit means a visit but it is very different (see item 1).  A Hit actually refers to the number of files downloaded on your site, this could include photos, graphics, etc. Picture the average web page, it has photos (each photo is a file and hence a hit) and lots of buttons (each button is a file and hence a hit). On average, each page will include 15 hits.  

Web Page File Hits
Web Page File Hits

To give you an example –  Using the average statistics listed above, 1 Visit to an average web site will generate 3 Page Views and 45 Hits.

5. What is Traffic Sources

How do visitors find your site

  1. Direct Navigation (type URL in traffic, bookmarks, email links w/o tracking codes, etc.)
  2. Referral Traffic (from links across the web, social media, in track-able email, promotion & branding campaign links)
  3. Organic Search (queries that sent traffic from any major or minor web search engines)
  4. PPC (click through from Pay Per click sponsored ads, triggered by targeted keyphrases)