Some time ago, I wrote an article showing how much data is missed if you rely on only client-side web analytics numbers. To maintain this previous blog post in an actual state, I planned to update it from time to time. However, as you might expect, pretty soon, I got bored collecting manually Cloudflare and Google Analytics data and inserting it into a spreadsheet. As a normal human, I have decided to automate the process. Luckily, both systems provide the APIs that you can use to query and download the data. However, during the development of the data collection script, I discovered several limitations that inclined me to write a new blog post instead of updating the old one.
In the previous article comparing the JAMstack services of two popular providers, I have mentioned that one of my incentives of moving to Cloudflare was its basic server-side analytics provided even for the free tier users. Extended analytics is available on both Cloudflare and Netlify as a paid option: on Cloudflare you have to subscribe to one of the paid accounts (the cheapest is “Pro” plan that costs 20 US Dollars per month); on Netlify you can either subscribe to “Business” plan for 99 US Dollars per member per month, or you can enable this feature for every your site for just 9 US Dollars a month. If you need an accurate web analytics data, I definitely recommend you choosing one of these options because, as my analysis in this article shows, the client-side analytics solutions (e.g., Google Analytics, Yandex Metrica or Microsoft Clarity) overlook a large portion of visitors’ interactions due to different anti-tracking solutions (e.g., personally I use uBlock Origin plugin for my web-browser). In this article, I show how much data you may overlook.