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Web access statistics

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A simple overview of the access load can be seen by examining the number of accesses to the home page per day. These are shown in the tables below. The monthly links give a more detailed overview of who has been looking at the pages, and which are most popular. The numbers after the name of the month are the number of requests for the home page. This doesn't give much useful information and the graphs at the bottom of this page give a better idea of trends. So these numbers are no longer listed.

1995

   
   
   
April 240
May 304
June 404
July 434
August 432
September 456
October 518
November 415
December 461

1996

January 539
February 568
March 620
April 613
May 585
June 558
July 525
August 582
September 596
October 564
November 662
December 723

1997

January 962
February 875
March 983
April 976
May 965
June 983
July 936

1998

   
   
   

 

1999

January 1837
February 1880
March 1982
April 1943
May 2064
June 2185
July 2000
August 2031
September 2117
October 2225
November 2221
December 1691
         

2000

January 3415
February 2788
March 3036
April 2874
May 2538
June 2537
July 2432
August 2413
September 2527
October 2842
November 2735
December 2060

2001

January 3079
February 3320
March 3082
April 3044
May 2532
June 2456
July 2568
August 2693
September 2468
October 2681
November 2679
December 2234

2002

January 4360
February 3870
March 3448
April 3169
May 2976
June 2699
July 2740
August 2833
September 2998
October 2691
November 3113
December 2559

2003

January 3377
February 3611
March 3317
April 3028
May 3076
June 2913
July 2929
August 2828
September 2862
October 3117
November 2998
December 2428

2004

January 3652
February 3837
March 3523
April 3094
May 2763
June 2645
July 2754
August  
September  
October  
November 3530
December 2715
 

2005

January 3819
February 3832
March 3630
April 3142
May 3209
June 3047
July 2786
August 2882
September 2811
October 3146
November 3155
December 2427

2006

January 4234
February 4785
March 4069
April 3591
May 3300
June 2792
July 2725
August 2876
September 3272
October 3610
November 3427
December 2617

2007

January 3240
February 3604
March 3398
April 2989
May 2970
June 2838
July 2867
August 2684
September 2852
October 3369
November 3060
December 2527

2008

January 3386
February 3982
March 4023
April 3871
May 3180
June 3140
July 2996
August 3089
September 3099
October 3047
November 2818
December 1992

2009

January 3015
February 3199
March 2909
April 2437
May 2232
June 2117
July 2272
August  
September  
October  
November  
December 2025
 

2010

January 2929
February 12811
March 2943
April 2562
May 2373
June 2437
July 2419
August 2841
September 2623
October 2304
November 2726
December 1886

2011

January 2154
February 2581
March  
April  
May  
June  
July 1980
August 2118
September 2233
October 2161
November  
December  

2012

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2013

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July 2176
August 2212
September 2055
October 1976
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2014

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2015

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2016

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2017

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2018

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2019

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2020

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2021

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Today

 

Data transfer rate

The graph of total data transfer rate from our main site, shows an overall picture of usage. Figures for some months in the early years of the service have unfortunately been lost.

Size graph

The peak in Aug 2015 seems to have been problems with Drupal conversion on 14 Aug.

Server requests

The server requests graph shown the average number of successful requests per day. It does not include redirects or failures such as 404s. Requests include pages of html, images, css files, javascript etc.

Requests graph

The peak in April 2020 was when we transferred to Drupal 8 when there was significantly more robot activity and for a time we were not using consolidated css and javascript files.

Notes

These statistics are based on the web server access logs produced on our main server. Until our move to Drupal in 2015 most of the service was provided by a computer at Manchester University whilst a few counties were hosted elsewhere. So there was an increase in accesses due to the fact that everything was then all based at the same site. The migration into drupal did take some time to achieve and did not take place all at once.

The format of the data used to produce the statistics has also changed over time as has the analysis software used to produce the reports and at times this did not happen. They do though give an idea of trends as time has passed.

Since 1999 we have used the Apache web server and used a program called Analog to analyse the logs. Both have changed over the years and we have also had different ideas of what reports to produce. All are based on the data format of the Apache logs which contain:

  • The IP address of the browser requesting the page
  • The url of that page
  • The status code e.g. 200, 301, 404 etc.
  • The size of the page sent to the user
  • Information provided by the browser which can include
    • The url of the page containing the link to this one to this one.
    • The name of the browser or the robot fetching the page
    • The operating system it is running on

All these items apart from the last one seem to hold reliable data. Over time though the last one has changed according to the browser/robot used to fetch the page. Nowadays it seems to contain more than one browser as robots try and make it hard for servers to block them. It also seems to be a trend that the browsers mention all the operating systems on which they can run. So analysis and reports based on this data field can now only show overall trends depending on how complicated the Analog configuration are. The reports based on the the main data items though can give an accurate view of what is going on and the two graphs above are based upon those figures.

There are peaks and troughs in the graphs of course, some where we have made changes with unexpected consequences. In the earlier years there tended be be less activity in December with a big increase in January slowing down to a trough for the summer holidays.

Robots

It is not just real people sat with a web browser fetching our pages as there are also many robots fetching them as well. These consist of search engines fetching copies of our pages to use to build their indexes, and also software checking links to us in their web sites.The search engines tend to put a much heavier load on us than other robots, but it is simpler to just call both types a robot. It is very useful in any analysis of access data to be able to separate the real users from the robots as whilst we want users to find us in the search engines, we need to try and manage robot access so that it does not add such a load to the system that users experience poor performance. This was one of the factors in periods of poor performance after the move to Drupal 8 in April 2020.

Now the only way we have to help determine that an access is from a robot is that last unreliable field in the Apache logs. For many years we didn't try much to identify the robots so the statistics tend to have them just amongst the user data. The names of the robots have also changed over time and more keep appearing. The robot activity appears in The Operating system report under Known robots. There will be some further activity under the other operating systems for those with nothing to identify them in the log files.

Analog

We have some documentation about configuring Analog.