New Media Vocabulary: Raw Log Files
When speaking with podcasters (and other who need to track their web statistics) you may often hear the term “Raw log files.” While many of us use web statistic packages such as Google Analytics, Analog or custom statistics delivered by our blog hosting company (WordPress.com), Raw Log Files are the end-all-be-all of web site statistics.
Raw log files are text files created by your web server software. Depending on where and how you host your web site this might be done using the Apache program or Microsoft’s IIS (Internet Information Services). Whenever anything is accessed on your web site — HTML page, graphic, picture, audio file or video file – this access is recorded in the raw log file as a one line entry. Typically this line contains the IP address of the computer that accessed the file, the date and time, the name and pathname of the file, the browser they were using and, perhaps, which web site the user arrived from.
These raw log files are the input for statistics programs that can summarize and analyze all these individual entires into a human-readable report of activity and trends over time.
Sample Raw Log File Entry:
IP.IP.IP.IP – - [01/Oct/2012:14:18:08 -0700] “GET /career/video/2012/careercompass-2012.mp4 HTTP/1.1″ 200 21467820 “-” “iTunes/10.7 (Windows; Microsoft Windows 7 x64 Home Premium Edition Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)) AppleWebKit/536.26.9″
For New Media producers, though, raw log files provide one important piece of information — the number of downloads of particular podcasts, audio and video files. Statistic services such as Google Analytics cannot easily track these New Media downloads, so producers have to look to their raw log files for this information. These files are the only definitive way to track audience numbers for a podcaster such as myself.
It is important to note that if you a re using a hosted blog such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com, you do not have access to raw log files, but only the summary statistics that each of these services provides.
For more information on Raw Log Files…
- How to read a web site log file from Portent.com
- Server Log Files from MediaCollege.com
- Server Log from Wikipedia.org
Do you have questions, comments or clarifications to this New Media Vocabulary term? Add them to the comments!
Previously on New Media Vocabulary: