Website Stats – What are Hits?
Most web hosting accounts come with website usage statistics so that you can tell what's going on with your website and how people are using it — but these can be confusing, not the least due to a distinct lack of explanation of the terms used!
What is a "hit"?
Sounds like a "hit" equals a visit to a web page, right? Actually, it's more than that. Part of the confusion about "hits" is caused by the way we talk about the Internet … we visit websites, we go to a website. It's a nice analogy, but we do not actually go anywhere; we are not airlifted across the Internet, as this vague analogy would suggest. Rather, websites are brought to us.
When you click on a link or type a website address into the address/location bar on your browser (the program you use to surf the Internet), your browser sends a request to the website for that particular page. The page is then sent across the Internet to your computer, where you view it in your browser. Technically, the page is being downloaded to your computer, for viewing in your browser.
Which is all by way of explaining what a web page request is. It's a browser's request for a web page.
So what, finally, about those hits?
Let's assume the page you have requested has nothing but text on it. That would be one item that the browser sends back to you, so that's one hit.
However, if a web designer or website owner adds a picture to a web page, that picture does not merge (become one) with the web page. Rather, it remains separate from — but referenced in — the page so that it displays where it is intended to display. Thus, adding one picture to a web page means two pieces: the page and the picture. That's two hits.
Of course, most website pages have more than one picture. If someone visits a page with 24 pictures, that's 25 hits. There are even more factors, but we've covered enough here to understand precisely why hits are not the best metric of how much visitor traffic a website is getting.
A more statistically logical question would be: how many pages are being downloaded?
8 Comments for "Website Stats – What are Hits?"
Leave a comment