When putting together a website, most owners will want a way to see how visits and by who their websites are getting. This is where an Analytics plugin comes in and is one of those needed for a website as discussed in this previous post. Analytics plugins can be divided into two categories, those that use Google data (and send data to Google) and those that keep the data on your site (does not send to a third party). Those that help with Google Analytics, including Google itself and those that are outside of Google, which includes a lot of open-source plugins.
Examples of Google Analytics Plugins
The first category are Google Analytics Plugins and most people just install these without a second thought. However, the data that you receive from your site also goes to Google. Oftentimes this brings up privacy issues and since your data is going to a third party, it is hard to tell what is happening to it once it leaves your site. Google has its own plugin, which recently came out, called Site Kit for Google. Aside from Google, there is a whole universe of plugins that utilize the Google data and make it easier for you to use. A list of the top five is below.
- MonsterInsights: This is one of the most popular of the plugins using Google Analytics. It has over 2 million installs on the WordPress.org repository.
- ExactMetrics: This is probably the second most popular of the Google Analytics plugins. This plugin, however, has recently suffered a lot of negative reviews, when data that used to be available is now only accessible from a paid version. In fact, it almost has twice as many 1 star reviews as 5-star reviews on the WordPress.org repository.
- GA Google Analytics: This is the third-ranked Google plugin by installation on the WordPress.org repository. It is actually open-source, but not by Google. It has a 5-star review.
- Google Analytics: Don’t let the name fool you, but this is the 4th ranked plugin and GA Google Analytics and is open-source. It has a 3.5-star rating on WordPress.org.
- Analytify: This plugin has over 70,000 installations and is 5th ranked. Like some of the others, it also has a 5-star review.
Examples of Non-Google Analytics Plugins
The second category are Non-Google Analytics plugins. These plugins are often open-source and generally place a premium on respecting the privacy of users and being GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant. These plugins occupy a smaller share of the analytics universe and are not as well known. In fact, the top plugins in this category only 10,000+ installations. Silphium Design, being dedicated to open-source and wanting respect users’ privacy uses one of the plugins, Koko Analytics, from this list. A list of the top five is below.
- WP Statistics: This plugin is most installed at 500,000+ users and stresses that it does not send data to a third party and respects users’ privacy. Recently, however, a number of reviewers have noted that there is a bug in version 13 of it. This looks like a good plugin, but be sure to watch to see if they can get the bug fixed. The dashboard is very Google-like as well.
- Matomo Analytics: This plugin is the closest to Google in breadth and look. Like the others in this category, it stresses the fact that the privacy of users is respected and the data collected is 100% yours. This plugin used to go another name (WP-Piwik). Silphium has used this plugin and has found that it can clash with some of the security plugins (Wordfence and All in One WP Security).
- Koko Analytics: Koko Analytics is another popular plugin in this category, being roughly equal in installation number to Matomo. It is described as a slimmed-down version of Matomo and just gives the data needed by most webmasters with a no-nonsense dashboard. A number of users also say that it is more lightweight than some.
- Clicky Analytics: This is the 4th ranked plugin and like the others is open-source. It offers a free and paid version and appears to have a higher installation rate in other CMS’s.
- WP Search Insights: This plugin stresses its privacy-friendly features and is also on GitHub. The data is presented in an easy to use dashboard.
* Note: Jetpack, which has analytics, would be the highest installed plugin. However, a lot of people get this plugin for other reasons and the plugin entirely exclusive to the self-hosted installation that most webmasters use.