I’ve dumped Google Analytics for Matomo (formerly Piwik)

I’m a big fan of Google, I’ve always loved their products and I still do, from Search to Gmail and all over to Analytics. Also, they don’t look as evil as the other big tech companies. Look, right. Because in fact, like all the competitors, they hunt for people personal data to monetize them. In the end, as written everywhere, if you’re not paying for a (very good) product you’re being sold!

This love and loyalty for the brand is lately getting cracked by all the articles and information I read about privacy and personal information. So, even if as said above I’m in love with the G world, one piece at a time I’m trying to limit its hegemony by dropping one service at a time.

First was Search, as I’m now using DuckDuckGo (and StartPage).  Then Chrome: after months of Firefox, Opera, Vivendi I’ve settled with Mozilla Firefox (despite I still miss Chrome’s fast interface and rendering a little bit).
Then yesterday I started feeling guilty because I was feeding my (few) blog readers with Google Analytics cookies that I didn’t want myself, so I started looking for an alternative. Please welcome Matomo.I’m not heavily using Analytics. I don’t have targets or conversions to check, I’m just curious to see how many people show up, where do they come from and what are they interested in. So using services like AlternativeTo to find Open Source projects doing the same job as Analytics the first one showing up was this Matomo, which happens to be a new name for Piwik.

As said I wasn’t looking for something big. I could have probavly gone with AWstat, coming preinstalled and configured on ISPconfig, but I always like to try new stuff. And the first impression with Matomo is: stunning! It’s really awesome!

The installation is straightforward: a very nice wizard guides you in database configuration, and works like a charm. In less than five minutes the system is up and running, and monitoring your first web site.

Before starting I wanted to dig into the settings, to see what’s around and to make sure the monitoring is GDPR compliant and anonymized.
There’s a nice Privacy menu in the settings panel which group all the relevant stuff and GDPR tools. I’ve choosen the recommended settings of anonymizing 2 bytes of IP address and leaving anonymized visits. I also enabled the honoring of Do-Not-Track requests made by browsers.

That’s it… After that I installed the official WordPress plugin and it’s done!

Matomo analytics dashboard

There are plenty of features available, much more than I need. There are also additional plugins (not inexpensive, tough) which allows you to detect search engine search keywords and click+heat maps for your pages.

What’s missing from Google Analytics? Actually nothing. I’ll see in the next few days if there’s something useful not implemented in Matomo!

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