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FlashStats 2006

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are answered here. Unless otherwise noted, all of these questions apply to FlashStats 1.5. Users of older versions of FlashStats should upgrade to version 1.5 (it's free!).

Please let us know if you have questions that are not answered here.

I'm using IIS. How do I get stats for virtual servers on my machine?

    IIS stores the IP number of each virtual server in the log file (Standard Format). FlashStats recognizes this IP number as the "AuthRealm" in the IIS log file. You can specify that a FlashStats user account only seach a particular AuthRealm. Thus you would get stats for that particular virtual server alone.

    To do this create additional user accounts at the end of the FlashStats.ini configuration file and add the AuthRealm= parameter to each user account.

    For example: user=vserver1;password=;logs=c:\logfiles\in*.log;AuthRealm=

    For brevity some important parameters have been removed from this example (like "URL=" and "Title="). Also, remember that an entire user account definition must be one long line; do not insert any carriage returns or line feeds.

    The AuthRealm parameter should be set to the IP number of the virtual server that you want to restrict stats to for that user.

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Does FlashStats support the IIS version 3?

    No, IIS 3.0 is no longer supported. The minimum requirements are IIS version 4.0.
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Does FlashStats support the IIS 4.x log format?

    Version 1.4 of FlashStats will provide full native support for the default log file in IIS version 4 (W3C Log File Format). FlashStats 1.3.1 can support the W3C format as a custom format; see Chapter 9 of the documentation for information on how to specify a custom log format string. Note that the W3C log file format stores the user agent as a URL-encoded string, so FlashStats 1.3.1 will display it in this format (eg, Mozilla+4.0 rather than Mozilla 4.0).

    Also, you can set IIS 4.x to use the old "Microsoft IIS Log File Format" (which IIS 3.0 called the "Standard Format") instead of the W3C format which IIS 4 makes the default logging format. FlashStats 1.3 natively supports the Microsoft IIS Log File Format.

    The W3C Extended Log File format is a working draft proposed on March 23, 1996 that has not been adopted as a standard yet.

    You can download the current beta of version 1.4 from our Download Center.

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Does FlashStats support databases?

    No. FlashStats does not read log files that have been stored in a database. Only text-based log files are supported.

    Also, FlashStats does not store its information or results in a database.

Why do I only see client IP addresses instead of client host names? Does FlashStats do reverse DNS?

    FlashStats analyzes the information stored in the log file. If your web server does not perform reverse DNS lookup, then you will not be able to see the client host names.

    Users of Netscape servers can enabled reverse DNS lookup by using the Netscape Server Administrator. Under the first button (System Settings) choose Performance Tuning in the left-hand frame. Make sure that Enable DNS is set to Yes.

    If you are running O'Reilly WebSite, we recommend that you turn on reverse DNS lookup. (This is done in the main configuration dialog box; choose Control / Properties..., and look on the Logging tab.) O'Reilly states that you shouldn't use reverse DNS lookup because it slows down your web site. However, we have found that unless your web site gets heavy traffic the slowdown will not be noticeable. Therefore, we recommend enabling reverse DNS lookup. Monitor your site to ensure that its performance is acceptable with this option enabled.

    Users of WebSTAR or Quid Pro Quo on the Macintosh should choose X logging. Enable reverse DNS lookup. Include the CS-HOST field in the list of fields being logged.

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Do I need to rotate the web server logs?

    Strictly speaking, FlashStats doesn't require you to rotate your logs; it will work with any rotation schedule that you use. However, you can gain improved performance by rotating your logs on a reasonable schedule. A deeper understanding of how FlashStats handles log files will help you to decide how to rotate your log files.

    There are two distinct times that FlashStats scans your log files. The first is the start of every time that FlashStats runs. FlashStats will scan the directory pattern specified by the logs= parameter in the FlashStats configuration file. For each file matching the specified pattern within the directory, FlashStats will see if the file size has changed since the last time FlashStats ran. If the file size has changed, then FlashStats doesn't need to rescan the file. If the file size has changed, then FlashStats will quickly scan the start and end of the log file to determine the date and time of the first and last requests within the log file. This scanning is very quick, since FlashStats only reads the very start of the file and the very end of the file. Thus, for this phase FlashStats doesn't care how large your log files get.

    After FlashStats has determined the first and last requests for each file in the log= directory (and the current log file, too), it is ready to scan each appropriate file for requests that fall within the days required for the report that it is generating. FlashStats will open each file that has requests within the appropriate range and will read from the start of the file. FlashStats will continue reading through the file until it encounters a request that is past the last date required for the current report. Thus, if you never, or rarely, rotate your log files, then your current log will grow larger and larger, causing FlashStats to have to read through a lot of old data before it gets to the relevant data.

    The best strategy is to configure your web server to rotate your log files every day or so. Preferably your log files shouldn't be larger than 1 or 2 megabytes each. This allows FlashStats to read only those days that it needs.

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Why don't the Search Phrases and Bad Referrers reports return any results?

    You can have this problem if your log file format does not log the hit's "query" information. (This is the part of the URL after a question mark.) If you can change the log file format generated by your web server to include query information, then you will be able to start generating those useful reports.

    Check your web server's documentation to see if you can modify the log file format.

    We have found that version 1.x of WebSite does not output query information. Therefore, unfortunately, WebSite users will not be able to take advantage of the Search Phrases and Bad Referrers reports.

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