Piwik is leading the way when it comes to open source web analytics software. More than 1,000,000 websites are using Piwik for analytics, according to the current Builtwith assessment. The team has just launched its 2.0 release with a brand new website and redesigned mobile app. This release is the culmination of seven months of work from the Piwik team and community.
Haven’t heard of Piwik? That’s probably due to the fact that Google Analytics thoroughly dominates this space. But there’s something exceptional that sets Piwik apart from Google Analytics. Piwik is free and open source, affording you privacy and full control over your data. Piwik takes about five minutes to install on your server. You can track multiple websites and keep all your data in the same place on your own server, away from prying eyes.
Piwik: An Open Source Alternative to Google Analytics
The Piwik dashboard has everything you’d expect from a comprehensive web analytics platform, including recent visits, keyword information, visitor location map, browser information, referrer information, and real-time visitor stats, and more available via widgets.
I had the chance to chat with Piwik founder and lead developer Matthieu Aubry. Given that Google Analytics is considered the default choice for the vast majority of websites, I asked him what is the number one reason people choose Piwik over its more popular competitor. He replied, “There are many reasons but [pullquote]I think the number one reason for many choosing Piwik over Google Analytics is privacy and keeping control over sensitive user data.[/pullquote] This is becoming all too important. Another good reason may be that people like the simplicity of the UI and the openness of the platform.”
Part of that openness is that developers are encouraged to extend the platform using the Piwik APIs and many are already doing some creative things. “There are several businesses using the API to provide web analytics to many of their customers’ websites automatically (by creating website users and scheduled reports using the API),” Aubry said. “Others use the API to request data and display it elsewhere. The tracking API is also used to implement custom app usage tracking within Mobile apps. Finally, what we hope to help developers build 3rd party plugins similar to WordPress or other popular open source frameworks. This will be our chance to bring a lot of innovation in analytics!”
How to Use Piwik With WordPress
Piwik is licensed under the GPL, just like WordPress. The WP-Piwik plugin integrates Piwik into your WordPress site, adds the tracking code and displays a summary of stats in your admin panel.
What’s New in Piwik 2.0?
In addition to the new website, Piwik users will enjoy a host of new features with this 2.0 release:
- Launch of the Piwik marketplace for plugins and themes
- Browse and install plugins and themes directly from within Piwik
- New completely redesigned mobile app, allowing users to monitor web traffic on the go
- Piwik 2.0 has now been translated by volunteers into 53 different languages
The team has also launched a new Piwik Pro service that will offer professional analytics services for businesses, NGOs and governments, as well as cloud hosting and enterprise deployments. The service also includes custom integrations and support.
If you’re curious about Piwik but would rather try it before installing on your own server, check out the live demo. Piwik is not just for web analytics – you can also use it to track e-commerce, server logs and intranet analytics.
Many website owners are willing to trade privacy for the convenience of Google Analytics. But if you’re serious about owning your own data and protecting sensitive information, it’s nice to know that there are open source options like Piwik that can provide the same comprehensive level of analytics.