I finally shared a link to a blog post on my running blog yesterday, and I got a decent number of hits. According to WordPress’ stats, there were 30+ views, and 12 visitors. I was pretty excited that at least ten people were interested enough to check it out, out of all my 230+ FB friends. Then I wanted to know more. Who viewed it? What pages did they visit? Back when I had my website hosted with a shell account, I could access the Apache web log and see IP addresses, referring urls, user agents. I wrote a script to convert IP addresses to hostnames where possible, filtering out my own IP addresses, and enjoyed analyzing the results.
Usually there would be a bunch of lookups by various search engines, some of which respected my robots.txt, some that didn’t (they weren’t major search engines, so I didn’t really care about blocking them). And every now and again I’d get entries that were clearly someone that was interested in either me or what I had to say (perhaps stalking me?). Those were the fun ones. Who is the domain name registered to, or if the IP address could not be converted to a hostname, what entity is the address assigned to? Occasionally I was able to get enough information that if needed, I could have built the beginnings of a court case about someone stalking me.
Sadly, the web stats offered by WordPress just aren’t as comprehensive. Maybe they have an option to pay to be able to view the access logs, seeing how they like to charge for just about everything else. (What? seriously? you want me to pay how much per year just to be able to edit CSS? Okay, fine. Maybe I will.) But whatever the case is, you, my readers, are safe for now. I doubt I’ll be paying to read access logs anytime soon; the stalker in me will simply have to go back in the closet.