Lets start by saying what web stats are.
Most web servers create what are called log files. These are files that sit on the web server and summarise all the activity that takes place on that server. Some of the information is gathered for technical purposes so we can spot any errors that occur and head off problems. Some is for commercial reasons so we can keep track of how much bandwidth individual users are consuming.
These log files contain lots of other information that is potentially of value to web site owners. This can include the number of visits the site has had, which pages the visitors looked at most often, even how long they stayed on each page. We can learn which sites visitors came from, which is mainly used to assess which search engines do us the most good, but is also very useful for measuring the value of reciprocal links from other web sites. We can even learn in some instances what phrase the visitor used to find us on a search engine.
Our lowest cost plan has some basic web statistics but all others have sophisticated traffic analysis software. Good web stats don't come cheap! Almost the entire cost difference between our Starter Plan and the Business Plan is accounted for by the cost of the web stats. This why you get nothing worth having with a free hosting service.
So who needs it? If you ask me everybody! But then I'm biased. If the purpose of your web site is to enable your cousins in Australia and Canada to see up to date pictures of Aunt Edith's new canary then I guess it's not necessary, but even then I'd be curious to know how often they took a peek and when and whether anybody else ever took a peek also. On the other hand, if your site has any commercial ambitions to speak of, you really should have the best intelligence you can get. Which pages work best for you? Did that last change bring more visitors or did it least make the visitors who did come stay longer?
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