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Hits vs. Pageviews

Written by: Moser, James on Sep 12, 2012

Very often, prospective clients will tell me how many hits they have on their website, but when asked, they will not know how many pageviews. Hits is one of those cool sounding words that is often associated with some big number. The 'Hits' number tells you how many files were served by you web server. But here's the catch...most web pages are a composition of several files.

Let's think about what a web page has. At it's most basic, a web page is made of HTML, the markup language, or source code, that tells your browser how to render the page. But the HTML in most web pages pulls in many resources from all over the web site's file structure. A pretty basis web page might have:

  • An HTML file.

  • Two style sheets that control the look and feel of your page.

  • Two Javascript files that add behavior to your web page. Things like dynamic menus or funky navigational elements may be controlled with Javascript.

  • Let's say you have three images as well.

So, for the simple web page described above, your web server served up 8 separate files – yeah that 8 hits! A sophisticated page might require dozens of files. Your visitor, however, only saw one page.

Next time someone tells you about hits, ask about pageviews.

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