Flywheel determines which plan you require based on the amount of traffic to your site. Specifically, the number of “visits” to your site in a given month. We define a visit as:
Essentially, we count the number of unique IP addresses that visit a site in a given day. This is the number of visits for that day. We then add up all the daily values for the entire month, and that’s how we arrive at the number of visits for your site.
We feel that this is the most fair and transparent way to measure traffic. There are a bunch of ways to do it, but each have their limitations. We feel it’s important to be clear about how we measure usage, and not use ambiguous terms.
Because we only count each visit, it means that there’s no difference between someone who visits your site and views one page, or someone that views a hundred. Both cases count as “one visit” to Flywheel. So, the number of pageviews could be many times the number of visits, depending on how many pages your site visitors view each time they visit your site.
Like we mentioned, there are a ton of ways to measure traffic. Some hosting companies use pageviews, some use visitors, and some just make things up. Visits is an easy metric for us to measure on the server side, without having to inject any code into your site, which could potentially slow it down.
Yes! You can view information about the number of visits on your site, as well as CDN and disk usage on the “Stats” tab on your Flywheel dashboard.
There are several reasons for this, but the short answer is: in many ways, we’re counting different things, using different methods.
We both have our specific algorithms, and we’re both doing the best we can to be as accurate as possible, but we may filter (or more likely, notice) things Google doesn’t, and vice versa.
It isn’t that one is right and one is wrong, necessarily; we just have two different methods. We’re always improving our stats counting, and we don’t charge for overages, so even if there is a substantial difference in the numbers, it won’t reflect on your invoice.
For example: let’s say you host a podcast on your website. If podcast apps are “pinging” your site to download episodes or to get the cover art for your podcasts, that won’t be counted on your Google visits. But it will on ours, since it’s a unique IP address coming to the site and requesting data and/or files.
Another example: if you link to your site’s logo in your email address signature, every time somebody opens one of your emails, their email client will send a request to your site’s server to retrieve that logo from the site. Google won’t be capable of noticing or counting that visit, but our servers will see the activity and record it.
The same thing could apply with any files linked from other sites, feeds that pull in data from your site, and other kinds of connections from third parties or external services.
In this way, we’re sometimes counting things pretty differently than Google is. If we were to filter all those types of requests, we would get closer to Google’s method, and our count might be more reflective of visitors in a certain specific way. But we also might also be hiding lots of actual requests and very real traffic to your site—all of which matters and can potentially affect performance and bandwidth—and so we choose to display the IP-based number instead, as we feel it’s a more accurate reflection of everything that’s going on with the site.
Again, we don’t charge for overages, so if you feel this number isn’t consistent with your preferred tracking method, you’re free to go by another tracking service’s count, knowing your invoice won’t reflect the difference.
As always, if you have any questions pertaining to visits or how Flywheel calculates them, don’t hesitate to contact support!
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