Google Analytics vs StatCounter

I’m wondering which of these two is better regarding counting unique visitors. Thank you in advance! Kezia

In terms of counting page views and unique visitors, Google Analytics and StatCounter are EXTREMELY similar. Here is a comparison from one of my own days:

StatCounter: 1,096 page views, 772 unique visitors
Google Analytics: 1,022 page views, 623 unique visitors

Here are some of the key differences between the two sites:

Google Analytics StatCounter
100% free. No catch, no upgrades, no limits. StatCounter has a limited “free” option and paid upgrades. The free version has a monthly page view limit (although it is pretty high at 250k), and only limited space for logging. That means they delete some of your data after a period of time. The “detailed logs” are only available for 11 hours before they’re deleted. You can upgrade to get more space for logging and keep track of more page views per month.
If someone has JavaScript turned off, Google Analytics won’t count them. This may result in slightly lower statistics. StatCounter picks up on visitors with JavaScript turned off.
Does not show any IP address information about your visitors. StatCounter reports some IP address information.

So in terms of pure numbers, the two sites are very, VERY similar. I think the one possible benefit that StatCounter has over Google Analytics is the IP information.. But really, how often do you even need that? Not very.

I think which one you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference. I mainly use Google Analytics because I find it to be more useful, presents information better, and has a few cool features (like the “Real Time” feature where you can see your visitors in real time as they’re on your site!). I also like how Google Analytics keeps ALL my data and doesn’t try to encourage me to upgrade to keep more of it.

But I know a few people who prefer StatCounter because they find it easier to navigate and/or understand.

The two platforms are so similar that I’d just recommend going with whichever one you feel most comfortable with.

What do you use to track your page views and unique visitors?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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66 comments

    1. Yeah Google Analytics has always been awesome. Hopefully they won’t try to “fix” something that isn’t broken. πŸ˜›

    1. Haha same here! I check Google Analytics occasionally, but never check StatCounter. I just like the e-mails. πŸ˜›

  1. I’ve been using just the WordPress Stats thingy available through Jetpack for the longest time. Then about a month ago I finally got around to getting my Google Analytics working (still kicking myself for not doing that sooner). I do like having two, just so I can compare the results. It also seems like Google Analytics only wants to track search engine terms from GOOGLE (or something?), because WP Stats seems to pick up on a lot more of them.

    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted: June Mini Reviews (2013)
    1. Hm interesting. Although I’d argue that Google is the only one that really matters because it totally dominates the search engine world. πŸ˜€

  2. I use Google Analytics b/c honestly, I had no clue Stat Counter existed 😐 Google Analytics gives me everything I ever needed I always thought I was under-utilizing it. But it always niggled in the back of my head that being a Google product, it could go by the wayside soon. Glad to know there’s a comparable product!!!
    Thanks for the awesome post!!!!

    Kristin @ My ParaHangover recently posted: Cover Reveal: Beyond Control by Karice Bolton
    1. I highly doubt that Google would get rid of Google Analytics. I mean, it’s sort of understandable that they’d get rid of Google Reader because RSS Readers are sort of a thing of the past. But Google Analytics is considered THE analytics source for websites and sooo many people use it.

    1. Fair enough! I find that Google Analytics just has tons more information. You can even get a widget for it in your dashboard that shows you top posts, search terms, and page views/visitors for that month.

  3. Thank you so much for breaking it down like this, Ashley! It made it so much easier to understand which would be the best choice for my blog. I signed Pop! Goes The Reader up for Google Analytics but unfortunately have no idea how to use it :X LOL. As I understand it I have to place the code in a number of different pages in order to start tracking my statistics and I haven’t the foggiest idea where to start.

  4. Fantastic post, Ashley! I’ve always used StatCounter and I find it really easy, especially when they send me those cute little weekly emails recapping all of my stats ;D I wanted to try Google Analytics a while ago, but I usually don’t keep track of my page views and I rarely go on the site anyway so I think I’m going the lazy way and staying with StatCounter πŸ™‚ *flops around* Summer just makes me feel so lazy and horrible but whatever!

    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** recently posted: God Help The Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    1. Yeah that’s a bummer about switching.. but on the bright side, Statcounter and Google Analytics are both MILES more accurate than those silly Blogger stats. πŸ˜›

  5. I used Statcounter from month 2 of blogging, so if only due to the fact that my total pageviews/unique visitor count is only counting from 2 months ago on Google Analytics (when I set it up) I haven’t used it much. I did find it was a lot more complicated to figure out your stats too. Like I still haven’t figured out how to check my monthly views that have passed – I only see the current month no matter what I check in those damn calendars. I only played with it maybe 10 minutes and swore against it though. I have a small amount of patience πŸ˜€

    Plus, my stats are much better with Statcounter – likely for the reasons your list – so I will be BFFs with the one who says I’m awesomer #Hairflip

    Giselle recently posted: Book Girls Don’t Cry: My Randomness
    1. Well there are two key differences:

      #1 – The Blogger stats are REALLY inaccurate. There are these things called web spiders/crawlers. They’re kind of like robots. Every site that appears on Google has to first be visited by the Google “crawler” so that Google knows it exists. So a “robot” visits each website to get information from it, then reports back to Google. But it’s not a real person. There are things like that for loads of sites (Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Since they’re not real people, sites like StatCounter and Google Analytics exclude them from stats. But Blogger does not. So your visitor counter on Blogger will be really inaccurate. It might say 100 people visit your blog but maybe 20 of those are actually those robots.

      #2 – The Blogger numbers are really limited. All they show you is page views. If that’s all you want, that’s fine. But StatCounter/Analytics show you popular search terms that lead back to your blog, what countries people are visiting from, what browsers/devices people are using, what the most popular pages are, etc. There’s TONS of information, whereas Blogger just gives you one piece of information.

  6. I’m using both, because Google Analytics is way out of my lead. It’s a total nosebleed, and I like how there’s a menu for everything in StatCounter.

    But hey, I wouldn’t mind if you made a guide to Google Analytics. *hint hint*

    Anyway, great post, Ashley! I didn’t really know StatCounter wasn’t fully free (I wonder how I missed that), and thanks a lot for bringing it to my attention.

    Shannelle (The Tracery of Ink) recently posted: Newbie Blogger: Adding Textures to Social Icons
  7. Good post!!
    We use both.
    For StatCounter we are still beginner, just started one week ago.
    Yet we do find StatCounter powerful at IP tracking. Recent visitor activity, recent pageload, etc, it’s a pity that Google analytics doesn’t have till now.

    Just have a question, to minimize the requests and speed up website, can we have a way to remove the 1px x 1px gif on the StatCounter JS codes?
    All suggestions will be highly appreciated!

    Bill
    bil@nbhuntop.com

    1. If you’re using WordPress, download the Google Analyticator plugin and add Google Analytics to your site that way. Then there is an option in the settings panel to not track admin visits.

  8. I use StatCounter and Google Analytics. I love to compare their stats. I like them both although i have a paid upgrade with StatCounter. It cost $5 a month for 5,000 log quota. I can down grade to free anytime i want. Great article and comments by all.

  9. I have been using using only Google Analytics for nearly 6 months and kind of comfortable with it. Just heard about statcounter and wanted to understand the difference b/w both.
    It really helped me, I’m gonna signup for statcounter and try it out.

  10. I use both GA & Stat Counter and find the stats are very different. When quoting to brands about working with my blog, I go with Google Analytics as is it considered (for better or worse), the “industry standard”.

    My Stat Counter stats were always way higher than GA until about November last year. Then something happened and my Stat Counter stats dropped dramatically and have never been the same since. I can’t work out why this is, and GA doesn’t show a similar drop. So I can only think something changed in Stat Counter at this time. I haven’t been able to find anybody else with similar findings at the same time though. One of life’s little mysteries!

    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted: Spring Wardrobe Staples
  11. My statscounter stats are very high compare to google analytics ,statscounter shows apx 100 unique visits /day but GA shows only 20 unique . Does anybody know why this happens ?
    Ps : i have turned off bot counting at stats counter

  12. Thanks for sharing this info. Anyway I’m still confused in how counters work, G. Analytics shows big difference with Jetpacks or Statcounter, for explample: G.A: 600 visits vs S.C: 1500. Still not get it jeje πŸ˜›

    Cristian recently posted: I believe in God
  13. Hello Ashley, I just stumbled upon this post and find it very useful, thanks! I have one question: I have a blog on wordpress.com so I cannot efficiently use google analytics because I cannot manipulate my code. So I’m using statcounter that seems workinging but I noted a difference between page views reported on statcounter and page views identified by the internal wordpress stats page. Do you know why it happens? It could possibly be because of some problem in the tracking code? Thanks!

    1. It’s not going to be a problem per se. It’s just that every stats counter works differently. Since they use different methods of tracking then sometimes the numbers are slightly different. πŸ™‚

    1. Users don’t know if you’re using StatCounter or Google Analytics. Or if they do, it’s certainly the minority who go through the lengths to check.

  14. I’m not sure why, but Google Analytics only reports about 1/3 of the traffic that AdWords claims to be sending me. For instance, if I get 100 clicks from the display network through AdWords, Analytics shows about 40 sessions.

    I’m not sure if that indicates my tracking code is messed up or if the clicks are fraudulent.

  15. Hi ASHLEY,

    On my website there is a huge difference b/w google analysts and stat counter reports. I did not yet make any manual settings for google analysts. I think stat counter report is more reliable as it increment by one when i reload my web page. I need to know should i need to make any manual settings for the google analystics as to report right stat.

  16. Nice post. I am using both of them and I must say their results are very similar. Sometimes StatCounter record higher page views than Google Analytics and vice versa.

  17. Hey Ashley, do you happen to know anything about which one might be a bit “lighter” or faster on a site? I have both installed as plugins (I’m using the Google Analytics for WordPress). I recently disabled Feedjit with hopes of speeding up my site, but now I have two new plugins that will potentially slow it down. Thoughts?

    1. I don’t see Google Analytics on your site so I can’t compare these *exactly*. But comparing your StatCounter to someone else’s Google Analytics tells me that GA takes a bit more time.

      But honestly, you’re comparing two things that are some of the fastest elements to load on your site.

      StatCounter = 9.7 KB and took 12 milliseconds to load.
      Google Analytics = 11.6 KB and took 27 milliseconds to load.

      As you can see, both of those are practically nothing. You have much bigger concerns to worry about, including:

      – All those social sharing icons being loaded on every single post on your homepage. Every single one of those is loading two JavaScript files from Facebook. You should turn these off on your homepage. Or find a new plugin that doesn’t include those embed links when you hover over the icons (each of those is loading extra files).

      – You’re loading a ton of images. 2.61 MB of images on each page. That’s a lot. To give you some perspective on that, the size of my entire page (including images, scripts, stylesheets, etc.) is 0.5 MB.

      1. Wow, I honestly didn’t expect to get such a detailed, and helpful, answer. Thank you! I just turned off the social media sharing icon plugin and ran a speed cheek and my site is faster. Blast, I really liked that plugin…even though my share rate is next to nonexistent. Hmmm… Can you recommend a simple, user-friendly plugin for sharing?

        Also, you’re totally right that my site is WAY too slow. I do use a lot of images, but I resize them before upload to between 100-200 kb. I can’t really make them much smaller and at that size, they shouldn’t be bogging down the size.

        I’m afraid the big culprit is the Nomad Maps plugin I’m using. I love its function, but the developers stopped maintaining it well over a year ago, so who knows what kind of problems it’s carting around. I’m afraid to deactivate it to do a speed check because it’s essentially the “Table of Contents” of my entire site. All my blogs are linked to that map! Blast!

        Either way, thank you for your input! You’ve just created a new follower. πŸ˜‰

  18. thats very useful information b the way i am using both in my website and its showing me big differences in page views and visitors and some other data . i noticed on them in statcounter 492 page views, 232 unique visitors, 150 return visitors. and in GW 1200 page views, 700 unique visitors. its daily data and its showing me like this difference everyday.

    so whats wrong with my data if you have any advice or suggestion so please give me.
    Thank You

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