Google Analytics is free, but there are other free and paid analytics options out there that could be a better fit for you. You might not want Google to know every details of what's going on with your websites. Or maybe you have some sites you'd rather Google not know belongs to you! No matter what your situation, here are some Google Analytics alternatives that are free or cheap.
Matomo is open-source analytics software that you can either install and run yourself for free, or you can use their cloud service for a monthly cost where you don't need to worry about installing. The cloud service is somewhat pricey compared to other analytics solutions.
For those who want 100% data ownership and privacy, especially if that's a reason you want to move away from Google Analytics, Matomo is an ideal choice. Whether you are installing Matomo yourself or using their cloud server, the data belongs to you and it will not get sold or given to anyone else.
If GDPR compliance applies to you, then Matomo makes it easy by allowing you to automatically configure it so you don't process any personal data.
2. Open Web Analytics
Unlike Matomo, Open Web Analytics doesn't offer the option of a cloud service, so the only way to use it is to install and run it yourself. As its name suggests, it's free open source software, so Open Web Analytics is not going to cost you anything. You will have an easy time navigating around your Open Web Analytics dashboard; it's straightforward to use.
Since you are installing it yourself, your data stays on your servers and belongs to you.
Clicky covers everything you'd expect from an analytics program, and real-time analysis in addition. You'd be using their service; it's not something you install yourself.
I love the pricing options: it starts at free, for which you get all the basic features for one website with a surprisingly generous traffic limit. Pricing goes up gradually depending on how many websites, how much traffic, and what extra features you want. Heatmaps are a premium feature, but to get that you'd still be spending less at Clicky than you would at most other analytics companies, so it's well worth the investment.
4. Lucky Orange
Similar to Clicky, Lucky Orange does both standard and real-time analytics. Yet Lucky Orange includes all the advanced features like heatmaps and form analytics, into even its most basic plan. Plans are very cheap, although if you love to run multiple sites the cost goes up quickly. Lucky Orange is going to be the best deal financially for you if you want very detailed data about one site. For multiple sites, I wouldn't recommend it unless you know you're earning enough from those sites combined to offset the cost. I guess I'm just not their target customer, but you might be if you only have a few sites. What I do love about it is the advanced features that come bundled in all plans; something you don't see with other Google Analytics alternatives. Heck, you don't even see it in Google Analytics!
5. AW Stats
I've left my favorite for last: AW Stats. This is my preferred alternative to Google Analytics, but please be aware it's not going to be the best choice for everyone.
The good news is that it's free, it runs on your server, and it's probably already pre-installed even if you're on the most basic shared hosting plan with a reputable host. Unlike the other solutions mentioned above, AW Stats does not require you to add a code snippet to your website to work. It simply pulls information from the log files on your server to generate your analytics data in a helpful and readable way. The downside is that AW Stats is more limited than the other Google Analytics alternatives shown above. You can certainly get all the very basics with AW Stats; number of visits, unique visits, country, most viewed pages, entry pages, exit pages, referring search engines, search keyphrases, referring websites, and more. The graphs are helpful too. A downside compared to mainsream analytics software is that AW Stats does not allow you to specify custom date ranges.
The huge advantage of AW Stats is that it's very privacy-oriented. You don't actually have any tracking software on your website when you use AW Stats. You simply have a program that combs through your server logs after the fact. That's great news if you want a privacy-oriented site for your users. Even if you don't use it as your primary analysis method, it can be helpful to use AW Stats as a secondary independent measure of traffic. If you're interested, take a look at my tutorial for how to set up AW Stats easily in 5 minutes.
There are plenty of cheap or free alternatives to Google Analytics. If you're currently using Google Analytics, you might want to run both GA and your new analytics method for a time to see how they compare, before switching completely over to your desired alternative.
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