access log

An access log is a list of all the requests for individual files that people have requested from a Web site.

An access log is a list of all the requests for individual files that people have requested from a Web site. These files will include the HTML files and their imbedded graphic images and any other associated files that get transmitted. The access log (sometimes referred to as the "raw data") can be analyzed and summarized by another program.

In general, an access log can be analyzed to tell you:

  • The number of visitors (unique first-time requests) to a home page
  • The origin of the visitors in terms of their associated server's domain name (for example, visitors from .edu, .com, and .gov sites and from the online services)
  • How many requests for each page at the site, which can be presented with the pages with most requests listed first
  • Usage patterns in terms of time of day, day of week, and seasonally

Access log keepers and analyzers can be found as shareware on the Web or may come with a Web server.

This was first published in September 2005

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