|Java Is Not Suitable||Ideal Hit Counters|
|Types Of Counter||Links|
One of the most commonly requested Applets is one that will display the number of visitors to a page like this:
Unfortunately, it is not possible to write such a program in Java without the co-operation of a server, somewhere to centrally record the current value of the counter.
Hit counters may count hits just to one page, hits to the entire website or number of unique visitors.
Happily there are people who will provide you with free hit counters and free use of their server, usually in exchange for some advertising on the counter. Unfortunately, such pages slow down page loading. The other problem is you must set the up individually. When you write your own code, you can automatically set one up for every page on your website.
Commercial hit counters generally give faster response than free ones. Before you sign up see if you can find some of that vendor’s hit counters on other people’s sites and see how responsive they are. A sluggish hit counter can be very annoying to your visitors.
Some hit counters let you substitute your own set of ten gifs for the digits 0 to 9 to create the counter. With search engines, you can find hundreds of sets of free gifs to use.
In theory, you could create a Java Applet to display a hit counter. The central site could send the value of the count over in compact binary. However, this would be slower than using CGI since the browser would need to download the Java Applet containing contain code and a complete set of *.gifs for all the digits. Further, the browser user would need to load the Java interpreter. This would take considerably more time than just sending the count or the gifs needed to display the current count. The other problem is the count would not work for people who did not have Java installed or if their Java did not work, or if the Java Plug-In 1.2 had sabotaged the 1.1 version. If there were some way of caching Applets, this technique could be very fast. Perhaps we will see them in future, using smooth animations or other gimickry.
There are several possible ways of computing hits.
When the page is served to the client, the script invoked. It adds one to the number stored in a file called xxxx.cnt where xxxx is the name of the current file. It then inserts the incremented value in place of the SSI.
You can display the value of the count for a file with:
They did work properly. My ISP has never found the time to figure out why. It looks like the code does not always have permission to update the tiny *.cnt file for each actual file.
Counts are generated at the hit counter server and sent to the viewer in one of two forms:
Which should you choose?
Basically, if you can find text counters that look decent enough, use them in preference to PNGs. Also keep in mind the counter is not the most important thing on the page. You don’t want to draw too much attention to it with bizarre artwork. You might even try sending a hit-counter company a zip of a set of ten digits in PNG form and ask if they would consider supporting them.
|Hit Counter Prices|
If you have more than 9000 page loads a day they want you to upgrade to the pay version. Tracking HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer)) requires pay version.
You have a choice of hit or visitor counts. You use it by putting the visitor count widget on every web page. You can then configure speparate per-page hit counters.
You can’t use the same widget to count hits on more than one page. You would typically register separate widgets for each of your high traffic pages.
You look at a map of the world, see recent visitors and click to find out just which page they read and just where they came from and who wheir ISP was. You can discover that people in different parts of the world are interested in different parts of your site.
The HTML markup they ask you to insert contains a string that wraps over a line ending. It is best to correct this.
Click projects to view stats and configure control counters.
This is the system I installed on 2014-06-11 for mindprod.com.
See the orange counter at bottom left of this page. Click it to see the statistics.
Must leave a text free hit counters backlink to freecounterstat.com. They do not show ads, even though the website hints they might.
There is a very confusing part in the registration process. It shows you a dialog marked OPTIONS. You are not supposed to fill in the fields. Further it will not let you paste values into the fields as it commands. This display is intended as a hint on how to later configure the Chrome add-in.
It can place the counter at various spots vertically on the page far from the markup that generates it.
Oddly, it never asks for your website URL or a password. It gives you all kinds of stats, daily, monthly, cumulative, by geographic location, by browser, by OS , by page, by selected period… The graphics are beautifully done. They offer support in six languages. They are French themselves. They fixed a bug I reported within two days.
|Click the orange hit counter just below to see the statistics.
per month. Pay version gives you extra statistics.
PNG. Counters must start at 0. They offer several
optional wrinkles in the way they count people.
They send an unexpected HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) 303 redirect when you test the link. Tech support assures me it should work either way.
|See orange on black counter just below. (orange on transparent not available).|
Search for more hit counter services
Signing up for a free hit counter is a fairly quick process. You might want to experiment with several, primarily to see how much they slow down program loads before making your final selection.
Alternatively, a CDN (Content Delivery Network), such as CloudFront, could implement the counters via a type of SSI where the caching servers insert the counts and use a distributed database to consolidate the counts. Counts don’t have to be up to the minute.
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