For my job, I recently researched and reviewed almost every major web log analyzer on the market. Almost every package provided the same basic level of detail, summaries of daily/monthly/weekly usage and aggregate statistics.
But we needed more detail. Much more detail. We wanted to track the paths of any user (authenticated or not) through the site, to see which pages they looked at, in which order, and for how long. We wanted to drill down to any time period, seeing who visited the site during that period and what they were looking for. Here’s what I found…
Nearly all the commercial packages I reviewed had the same basic information as their popular open-source counterparts — AWStats, Analog and Webalizer. The biggest differences were mostly skin-deep: ultra-fancy (but no more useful) 3-D graphs and pretty menus.
As you can see, all of the above are fundamentally the same: static summary reports. Only two packages were able to provide the individual clickthroughs we need. The first, Funnel Web Analyzer, provides the bare minimum of clickthrough detail, doesn’t run on Unix servers, and costs $1000.
The second choice was the best, by far: Flowerfire’s Sawmill (see a sample report). It does everything we need, is extremely customizable, and also has the single-easiest Unix installation and configuration process I’ve ever seen. Custom log filters, dynamic filtering of data, static pre-generation of reports, and on and on. It’s more powerful than any competitor by a factor of 10. It runs on Mac, Windows and Unix, and requires no additional software to be installed (including a web server or database).
(Thanks to Leonard for originally mentioning it to me. Honorary mention goes to Clicktracks, which sports the most unique interface I’ve seen: a browser-like interface with statistics overlaid on the web page, perfect for usability testing.)