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Track your visitors, using PHP

Discussion in 'PHP' started by Kings, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Kings

    Kings New Member

    There are many different traffic analysis tools, ranging from simple counters to complete traffic analyzers. Although there are some free ones, most of them come with a price tag. Why not do it yourself? With PHP, you can easily create a log file within minutes. In this article I will show you how!

    Getting the information
    The most important part is getting the information from your visitor. Thankfully, this is extremely easy to do in PHP (or any other scripting language for that matter). PHP has a special global variable called $_SERVER which contains several environment variables, including information about your visitor. To get all the information you want, simply use the following code:
    // Getting the information
    $ipaddress $_SERVER['REMOTE_ADDR'];
    $page "http://{$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']}{$_SERVER['PHP_SELF']}"
    $page .= iif(!empty($_SERVER['QUERY_STRING']), "?{$_SERVER['QUERY_STRING']}""");
    $referrer $_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'];
    $datetime mktime();
    $useragent $_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'];
    $remotehost = @getHostByAddr($ipaddress);
    As you can see the majority of information comes from the $_SERVER variable. The mktime() and getHostByAddr() functions are used to get additional information about the visitor.

    Note: I used a function in the above example called iif(). You can get this function at http://www.phpit.net/code/iif-function.

    Logging the information
    Now that you have all the information you need, it must be written to a log file so you can later look at it, and create useful graphs and charts. To do this you need a few simple PHP function, like fopen and fwrite.

    The below code will first create a complete line out of all the information. Then it will open the log file in "Append" mode, and if it doesn't exist yet, create it.

    If no errors have occurred, it will write the new logline to the log file, at the bottom, and finally close the log file again.
    // Create log line
    $logline $ipaddress '|' $referrer '|' $datetime '|' $useragent '|' $remotehost '|' $page "\n";

    // Write to log file:
    $logfile '/some/path/to/your/logfile.txt';

    // Open the log file in "Append" mode
    if (!$handle fopen($logfile'a+')) {
    "Failed to open log file");

    // Write $logline to our logfile.
    if (fwrite($handle$logline) === FALSE) {
    "Failed to write to log file");
    Now you've got a fully function logging module. To start tracking visitors on your website simply include the logging module into your pages with the include() function:
    include ('log.php');
    Okay, now I want to view my log file
    After a while you'll probably want to view your log file. You can easily do so by simply using a standard text editor (like Notepad on Windows) to open the log file, but this is far from desired, because it's in a hard-to-read format.

    Let's use PHP to generate useful overviews for is. The first thing that needs to be done is get the contents from the log file in a variable, like so:
    // Open log file
    $logfile "/some/path/to/your/logfile.txt";

    if (
    file_exists($logfile)) {
    $handle fopen($logfile"r");
    $log fread($handlefilesize($logfile));
    } else {
        die (
    "The log file doesn't exist!");
    Now that the log file is in a variable, it's best if each logline is in a separate variable. We can do this using the explode() function, like so:
    // Seperate each logline
    $log explode("\n"trim($log)); 
    After that it may be useful to get each part of each logline in a separate variable. This can be done by looping through each logline, and using explode again:
    // Seperate each part in each logline
    for ($i 0$i count($log); $i++) {
    $log[$i] = trim($log[$i]);
    $log[$i] = explode('|'$log[$i]);
    Now the complete log file has been parsed, and we're ready to start generating some interesting stuff.

    The first thing that is very easy to do is getting the number of pageviews. Simply use count() on the $log array, and there you have it;
    echo count($log) . " people have visited this website.";
    You can also generate a complete overview of your log file, using a simple foreach loop and tables. For example:
    // Show a table of the logfile
    echo '<table>';
    '<th>IP Address</th>';
    '<th>Remote Host</th>';

    foreach (
    $log as $logline) {

    '<td>' $logline['0'] . '</td>';
    '<td>' urldecode($logline['1']) . '</td>';
    '<td>' date('d/m/Y'$logline['2']) . '</td>';
    '<td>' $logline['3'] . '</td>';
    '<td>' $logline['4'] . '</td>';



    You can also use custom functions to filter out search engines and crawlers. Or create graphs using PHP/SWF Charts. The possibilities are endless, and you can do all kinds of things!

    In Conclusion...
    In this article I have shown you have to create a logging module for your own PHP website, using nothing more than PHP and its built-in functions. To view the log file you need to parse it using PHP, and then display it in whatever way you like. It is up to you to create a kick-ass traffic analyzer.

    If you still prefer to use a pre-built traffic analyzer, have a look at http://www.hotscripts.com.
    1 person likes this.
  2. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Nice way to log the visitors and track them but I find the best method to store the log in database if you are using PHP to retrieve the same and display it. Writing to a file can be used by other parties to see what you may not want to display also.

    Shabbir Bhimani
  3. Kings

    Kings New Member

    I agree with you, but it's not always possible to store them in a database (e.g. when you don't have MySQL available).
  4. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    Thats true but I guess any hosting provider or seeker having php without MySQL cannot be thought of. If thats the case then PHP is not anything above HTML. I meant from dynamic content point of view.
  5. coderzone

    coderzone Super Moderator

    I must say a nice tip for PHP beginners.
  6. go4expert

    go4expert Moderator

    Really Impressive Kings. Dont mind having something like this more than just this one.
  7. BlasterBlang

    BlasterBlang New Member

    Nice Post.......i got great help frm you for my visitor tracking
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2006
  8. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    BlasterBlang, Confine links to signatures only
  9. manilodisan

    manilodisan New Member

    I will recommend this one to my visitors
  10. CoastPlumbing

    CoastPlumbing New Member

    Fantastic article this is very helpful. I have currently implemented this on my site and is working.

    A couple of questions though:

    1. How can you add a time stamp to each IP logged.
    2. Is there a way to include the geographic location of a visitor.
    3. How would you implement tracking a visitors movements throughout the site.

    Thanks :happy:
  11. lionaneesh

    lionaneesh New Member

    1. Time stamp can be added using the time() function , Check This
    2. You can use the free geo ip api from IPMango to check the geographic location of a visitor
  12. How to the visitors will be coming on my InfiniteVizionz website. Then how to i am using the PHP. Can you please help me.
  13. shabbir

    shabbir Administrator Staff Member

    I just don't understand your question. Can you share what you are trying to do?
  14. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist New Member

    Good advise.... But...
    Some websites don't support mySQL... If you are logging the visitors by writing to a file, we should use the .htaccess or chmod in such a way that the file can't be read by anyone except for the owner of the site...
  15. cyclop

    cyclop New Member

    Thanks for this but why would anyone would use if when everything can be tracked using Google Analytics?

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