WordPress.com statistics plugin

I always recommend using self-hosted WordPress instead of the free version, as you end up having much more control over your site. However, one area in which I’ve always felt a bit cheated with WordPress.org sites is the lack of built-in stats monitoring. I guess this is why most bloggers end up using sites like Google Analytics to keep track of things – myself included.

There are also third-party WordPress plugins available which provide some of this functionality – I wrote about one such statistics plugin a few months back. But a couple of days ago I stumbled across another plugin – that provides the bona fide WordPress.com stats within a WordPress.org blog! Now, this is not a new plugin – it’s been around for a couple of years already by the looks of it – but it’s the first I’d heard of it.

Plugin overview

As you can see, these are not statistics from my site. Because I only installed it a few days ago, it has not yet collected enough data to be of much use, so I lifted the screenshot from the plugin’s download page (I figured that was OK, since I’m promoting the plugin :) ).

The following information is displayed on the overview page:

  • Recent traffic
  • Referrers
  • Most popular content
  • Search engine phrases that have brought visitors
  • Links on your site that visitors clicked
  • Incoming links to your site

And each result allows you to drill down further to pull up more detailed stats on a particular post, referrer or search term.

Plugin installation and configuration

Installation of this plugin is very simple – copy it to your wp-content/plugins folder and activate it via the admin console as usual. The only slight complication is that you need a WordPress.com API key to use it – but this shouldn’t be a problem if you use Aksimet because you can use the same one. If you’re not an Akismet user, simply sign up for a free WordPress.com account to get one. It’s as simple as that.

As I mentioned earlier, it only starts collecting your stats once you’ve set it up, so the information you can get from it will be a bit limited for the first few days.


Because I haven’t had the chance to use it much yet, I’ll still have to see how the information weighs up against what I already get from Google Analytics. My feeling is that I’ll use the plugin stats mainly for day-to-day monitoring, but will use Analytics for more in-depth analysis.

If you’ve used the WordPress.com stats, either on a free or self-hosted blog, please feel free to leave a comment and share your experience, or add anything I’ve missed.

Related posts:

  1. WordPress statistics plugin
  2. WordPress Translation plugin
  3. WordPress Roles and Capabilities
  4. WordPress.com versus WordPress.org
  5. Easiest way to manage broken links

37 Responses to “WordPress.com statistics plugin”

  1. Gravatar of Tim 1 Tim

    I use this plugin on all my blogs. It is as you say a great daily snapshot tool, and then I use google analytics for the nitty gritty. This plugin is access from the dashboard, so it is really convenient. Also, you didn’t mention that from any one of your blog dashboards, you can use the dropdown menu to access info for any other blog you have this plugin on with the same API key. Now that’s handy!

  2. Gravatar of Joe 2 Joe

    I’ve always stuck with Ultimate Google Analytics because my biggest concerns with using a stats plugin are: 1) bloat, and 2) performance. I’d be interested in seeing how much table space this requires over, say 6 to 12 months. As for performance, can anyone comment on any perceptible issues?

    Thanks — it certainly is worth a look-see.

  3. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 3 Rodney Smith

    Tim: you’re right – that is handy!

    Joe: According to the plugin download page:

    …because all of the processing and collection runs on our servers and not yours, it doesn’t cause any additional load on your hosting account…

    It hasn’t created any additional tables that I can see either.

  4. Gravatar of Joe 4 Joe

    Funny, about two minutes after I left that comment, I noticed the same text you quoted above. :) I’m going to add this to a few blogs today. With all of the work I do on WordPress, I’ve never noticed this one before — thanks for the heads up.

  5. Gravatar of Martin 5 Martin

    Stats are definitly a must-have! I’ll be trying it out and comparing it to Google Analytics as far as stats. Its never bothered me surfing over to analytics and using an analytics plugin in the past, so initial impressions are that i’ll just let Google store the data on my behalf, for free. =) But if it turns out to be more good than google I’ll repost another comment here with my perceived results.

  6. Gravatar of Franklin 6 Franklin

    I’m also wondering about the long term effects of this plugin. I currently use Analytics (hard coded) into my wordpress themes. I’ve heard/noticed that stats plugins built into the wordpress platform like this can bog things down and even create some serious headaches down the road. I’m wondering if anyone with a long term blog with a wordpress stats plugin could chime in on whether or not this is a good solution.

  7. Gravatar of Caleb 7 Caleb

    This has been the one I always see for MarketSecrets Blog,but my CipherSearch Blog won’t show these stats and both are WordPress…I thought all this was an automatic thing, you mean I actually have to install it?

  8. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 8 Rodney Smith

    Caleb: they come bundled with free WordPress.com blogs, but with the self-hosted WordPress.org variety you have to install the plugin, yes.

  9. Gravatar of Lamborghini 9 Lamborghini

    Seems to be interesting tool. Personally I use Google Analytics and it also works great.

  10. Gravatar of Caleb 10 Caleb

    I just imstalled another one called wp-visitors which gives detailed visitor stats…once installed it appears in your WP dashboard titled “Visitor Details” ;)

  11. Gravatar of Sire 11 Sire

    For detailed statistics I always refer to Google Analytics but when I want some quick and easy stats I use the stats that comes built into WordPress.

  12. Gravatar of Caleb 12 Caleb

    Yea…looks like G-Analytics is the definitive because now I notice WP stats show zero for the last two days,yet GA shows far more. Also, visitors left comments on the afore mentioned days so something must be wrong with WP’s Stats….anybody else experienced this within the last 48 hrs :?:

  13. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 13 Rodney Smith

    My WP stats are showing up OK – could it be something to do with your site’s setup, Caleb?

    Google Analytics appears to report higher numbers than WP stats for my site. But WP ignores one’s own views when logged in, so this could account for some of the differences. I see them as complementary tools though – I mean, you can’t have too many stats, can you!?

  14. Gravatar of Matt Helphrey 14 Matt Helphrey

    I use analytics on a daily basis and love the detail.

    Another good one I use is Statcounter.com Its a free service for every 500 visitors. If you want to view beyond 500 there is a monthly fee. I don’t think Ill ever upgrade because I can use analytics for free, but Statcounter gives quick easy to click through stats and has a plugin for WordPress as well.

  15. Gravatar of Deanna Keahey 15 Deanna Keahey

    I use the Feedburner stats to see how many people are reading my blog. Is Feedburner the only one that picks up people who read via feed reader, or can this WP plugin or Google Analytics catch those too?

    It would be nice if feed reader stats were integrated with other tools instead of off on their own in FB, but I thought that was the only way to see them.

  16. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 16 Rodney Smith

    Deanna: Good question. I thought I’d read somewhere that this plugin does show you the feed numbers too, but now when I tried looking for that feature I couldn’t find it, so perhaps I was mistaken. I agree, it would be handy, but I guess this is not an easy thing to do because of the distributed nature of feeds.

  17. Gravatar of Mitch 17 Mitch

    I may add this to my new blog, since I haven’t added Analytics to it yet. Should prove to be interesting; thanks for reviewing it.

  18. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 18 Rodney Smith

    Mitch: no problem – I hope you like it. It doesn’t have to be either or though – why not use both? I do.

  19. Gravatar of Mitch 19 Mitch

    My mind would see it as having to assimilate, then compare, numbers, and if they weren’t the same then that would freak me out. Trust me, it’s best to only do one or the other at a time. :-)

  20. Gravatar of Diralia 20 Diralia

    Tengo la impresión que este artículo, así como los comentarios, han sido traducidos automáticamente al castellano.

    Aún así, debo decir que la recomendación del plugin de WordPress para mostrar las estadísticas lo encuentro realmente útil ya que como comentan, siempre tenemos que estar abriendo la cuenta de Google Analytics para poder consultar la misma información.

    Translation: I have the impression that this article and the comments have been translated automatically to the Castilian.

    Still, I must say that the recommendation of the WordPress plugin to display the statistics I find it really useful because as discussed, we always have to be opening the account from Google Analytics to get the same information.

  21. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 21 Rodney Smith

    Diralia: If you read this article in a language other than English, then yes, it was automatically translated. Apologies if it was a bit garbled, but hopefully you could get the sense of it.

  22. Gravatar of Agolf Cartson 22 Agolf Cartson

    I’ve used that particular plugin a while back but ended up deleting it as I didn’t feel that it provided me with anything that Analytics didn’t already cover. From an efficiency point of view I found that there were no reason for having to check the same stats twice.

    If people are not already using and checking Analytics I can see why they would want to use this plugin.

  23. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 23 Rodney Smith

    Agolf: It’s true they ultimately cover the same info, but I find the plugin has much more of a focus on the last couple of days, whereas I use Analytics for more of a long-term view.

  24. Gravatar of Agolf Cartson 24 Agolf Cartson

    But isn’t that just how you look at it. You can twist Analytics to whatever time frame you want. So I guess it is more a matter of taste than “real” value right?

  25. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 25 Rodney Smith

    Yes, I’m sure Analytics can give you anything the WP stats do and more. But you have to work for it a bit more. For instance, WP stats shows me at a glance which of my posts got the most attention, where my referrer traffic came from, search terms and links people clicked to leave my site. All this is in Analytics, but I have to click through several pages to get it.

  26. Gravatar of Geektwice 26 Geektwice

    Consiglio di integrare le statistiche con uno strumento in grado di effettuare del monitoraggio in tempo reale, del tipo lloogg.com o who’s amung.
    Ottimo blog, complimenti;-)

  27. Gravatar of Agolf Cartson 27 Agolf Cartson

    Rodney, I guess it depends on how actively you use Analytics. You know that you can design custom reports in Analytics and have them sent to you via email at any time interval that you want right?

  28. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 28 Rodney Smith

    I guess I’m aware you can do a lot of stuff with Analytics that I’ve never had the time or inclination to find out :)

  29. Gravatar of insideWebmaster 29 insideWebmaster

    I really don’t think I can move away from Google Analytics to some third party solution. I just don’t think I can trust them the same way as Google…

  30. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 30 Rodney Smith

    Inside: fair enough, but if you don’t trust Automattic, why do you use WordPress? You’re right not to have blind faith in any one provider though, which is why it makes perfect sense to use two, and see if they’re telling you the same thing.

  31. Gravatar of Karen M 31 Karen M

    Thanks for this, Rod. I’ve always wanted this function on my .org wordpress site, being addicted to it on my .com one. Heaven…

  32. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 32 Rodney Smith

    You’re welcome Karen. I find it very useful for getting a quick overview of what’s been going on, rather than delving into Analytics all the time (there is a time and place for that too, of course).

  33. Gravatar of Kevin Phoenix 33 Kevin Phoenix

    Rodney, thanks for the review. I use Google for the moment, but will follow the response to your post for a while before trying the plug in. There is only so much one can analyse, which may be to the detriment of actually getting on with the job of posting. ;)

  34. Gravatar of Make Money From Home 34 Make Money From Home

    Analytics is great. I use that and the free version of Statcounter. It also has a plugin for wordpress and is a best faster for use.

  35. Gravatar of SEO Services Company India 35 SEO Services Company India

    With Google analytics becoming more and more powerful each passing day (with its integration of enterprise features) there is no way one can stay without it du to its lack of real time data I use it together with statcounter.

  36. Gravatar of Dieta 36 Dieta

    Google Analytics is the best atm and since it’s constantly being developed I don’t think there’s a need to use any other service.

  37. Gravatar of Carol Williams 37 Carol Williams

    I have been using Google Analytics yet this one seems to be an interesting tool. Thanks for sharing it.

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