Tracking Traffic Yourself vs Using Google Analytics

I admit it. I’m an old-school programmer. You can probably guess that by the fact that I love coding in ASP classic. I also code in TextPad, which is like a fancier version of NotePad. It’s not drag-and-drop. It requires you to know what you’re doing and where everything belongs.

That suits me fine.

So, to go with that, from the time I launched my websites back in the late 1990s I always tracked traffic myself using ASP and MS-SQL databases. Every time a page was visited, I would increment a counter for that page in a database. At the end of the month I’d reset all the counts and start again. I knew for sure that the traffic being counted involved actual calls of a page. And only I knew those counts. No other third party was holding my data, where it could be hacked or mis-used.

Fast forward to modern times.

As much as I’ve resisted the Google onslaught for all these years, I am finally giving in. I’m putting Google Analytics on my sites.

Part of it is the server load. If I don’t have to be hitting that database for every single page for the traffic call, that saves a fair amount of wear and tear. I’m trying to reduce the amount of database activity.

Google Analytics also does quite a lot of reporting which is useful. It can divvy up the information by browser type, time on site, etc. etc. I did track that sort of thing for several of my sites but, again, it meant a lot of processing time and database time. If I can “offload” that for free onto Google, it seems a win.

And I also admit that I have given up on the idea of Google not knowing what my sites are up to. I do run Google ads which means they already know all sorts of things about the number of times the ads are called, where those visitors are coming from, etc. etc. I might as well just accept that Google has their mitts on everything like that and get the benefit of their reports and charts.

It does make me sad, though. It’s yet another loss of control and exposure of data to a third party.

What are your thoughts? Do you track your own data on things like traffic and browser type and so on? Or have you moved to using a third party like Google Analytics for your tracking?

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