The problem of counting site visitors in Drupal

There are many ways to count your visitors in Drupal. Trouble is it reminds me of the old joke about how many opinions will you hear in a room containing six professors? The answer is at least twelve.

There are some obvious answers. Enabling the statistics core module will provide some answers. It is not the most sophisticated, and at various places comes with dire warnings about the impact on performance.

External to Drupal, the obvious answer is Google analytics. it's very detailed, nicely presented and any performance hits should fall on their servers, not yours. Trouble is, fairly or not, it feels like giving the wolf the key to the chicken run. And after all, as any Heinlein fan knows, TANSTAAFL - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

The matter was brought to a head recently by my most exacting client, my daughter, and her student blog - annalikestowrite.com. She wanted to know who what from where and why people were visiting her site, inspired by her Google Analytics reports.

My search for a solution came to rest with the visitors module (drupal.org/visitors). It integrates well with Drupal with predefined reports, tabs on each page, IP address monitoring to distinguish unique visitors.

It has become my counter of choice, but if you know better, please get in touch.