Web statistics with AWstats

A few months ago I set up a website, Memories of Korea, to showcase some slides I inherited. Naturally I was keen to find out how many visitors I’d had, so I set about finding something that could draw pretty graphs.

Based on my experiences setting up website statistics with AWstats, I’ve now prepared a guide for anyone else wishing to do the same.

This guide assumes you are running either Fedora or CentOS, with Apache httpd web server. The majority of the AWstats config will apply on any distro, and with several different web servers, but paths and installation procedures may vary.

Installing AWstats

First things first, let’s install AWstats. On Fedora:

sudo yum install awstats

On CentOS, you need to jump through a hoop first by enabling the EPEL repository:

sudo rpm -Uvh http://download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/epel/5/i386/epel-release-5-3.noarch.rpm
sudo yum install awstats

Tweaking your Apache logs

AWstats works by reading your httpd access logs. Somewhere in your httpd.conf you should have a line like this.

CustomLog logs/access_log common


CustomLog logs/access_log combined

If you have virtual servers, each server is likely to have its own log file and associated CustomLog directive, too. For now, just pick one set of logs to work with and do the rest later. If your CustomLog directive ends in common, change it to combined. This keeps the log format the same, but causes a couple of extra fields to be logged.

Don’t worry if you can’t change the log format for one reason or another – AWstats will still work but you won’t get quite as many juicy stats.

While you’re nosing around in httpd.conf, make a note of the path and filename of the access log – you’ll need it in a second. In my case it’s /var/log/access_log, which is the default for non-virtual Apache servers.

Go into /etc/awstats. There should be a sample config file called awstats.model.conf. This contains most of the default options you will need, so let’s make a copy of it and work on that. Give the copy the same name as your website

cp awstats.model.conf awstats.www.memoriesofkorea.com.conf
vi awstats.www.memoriesofkorea.com.conf

You don’t need to change many options to get it going, so I will outline the basics here. Find the following directives in the config file, and change their values appropriately. Leave everything else alone – for now!
Tell AWstats where your Apache log file is:


Leave this as 1 if you are using combined Apache logs. Change it to 4 if you are using common Apache logs.


Set this to the main name of your website.


If your website has other names, add them here. Usually the only “other” name is simply omitting the www. Leave in and localhost, which may be important if you access your website from the server it is running on.

HostAliases="memoriesofkorea.com localhost"

Save your changes and exit.

Run AWstats for the first time

When you installed AWstats, it was automatically configured to run and collect log information hourly, but you’re too impatient to wait for cron, run the first AWstats update now:

/usr/share/awstats/tools/awstats_updateall.pl now

Grant access to the AWstats page

You need to edit the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/awstats.conf. This just tells Apache who can view the statistics. Somewhere in the middle of the file there should be a block like the one below. By default only (the web server itself) is allowed to view the page, so if your web browser isn’t running on the server, you will need to change something.

You might want to add a single IP address, an IP address range (e.g. for a home network) or simply all to grant access to the world.

    Options None
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from
    Allow from
    Allow from all

Save the file and exit. Restart Apache.

service httpd restart

See your statistics

Assuming all went well, you should be able to view your statistics page at http://www.mysite.com/awstats/awstats.pl

Other options

You no doubt saw in the /etc/awstats.conf file that there are many, many more configurable options for AWstats, including user authentication to name but one.

The config file is well commented and there is plenty of documentation online to help you along.

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