What is a hit in web traffic & does it mean anything?
What Is a Hit In Web Traffic & Does It Mean Anything?
For those who think the term hits in web terminology means the number of people who visit a website, the bitter truth is they are dead wrong!
The good news is that You’re not the online. Most people have no idea that hits are nothing but nonsense. A ” 2million hits” does not mean that 2 million people visited a website. It really doesn’t tell you anything at all about the volume of the traffic — the real number of visitors could be close to the 2 million or it could be less than 2000. There’s just no way of knowing it.
In this page, I’m explaining in simple language what the term “hits” really mean.
What Is a Hit?
It is is a request for one file from a web server. For example, if you request (i.e. visit) a single webpage that contains only text, the server will send you that page as a file and such process is called a hit. See images below
In the good old days of the Internet, hits were a common way of tracking how many pages were viewed. Each page then was one file, so hits evened page views or the proximity was close enough.
But in today’s Internet, each page is typically made up of multiple files. Each time someone requests a page he or she receive a whole bunch of responses each of which counts as a hit.
So, no surprise to see one visitor generates dozens or even hundreds of hits during a single visit.
In my personal opinion, hits are a complete exaggeration of the number of visits, but it does not stop here. Because websites nowadays are designed so differently, there is no common baseline for determining how many hits an average visitor may generate.
For instance, If a website uses 30 icons in their navigation menu, it will generate a lot more hits than a site which uses a single image file. Such makes hits absolutely useless when it comes to reporting traffic volume accurately.
Can Visits Be Measured Properly?
Till now, there is no accurate way to measure visits but there are certainly much better ways than hits. The standard method is to use a software application which analyses high volumes of different statistics and makes good estimate of the number of individual visitors.
There is numerous terminologies to the number of visitors such as- “visits”, “unique visits”, or “sessions”. plus other terms as well, but these are the most commonly used in todays internet. I recommend using the term “visits” as it is intuitive and descriptive, and more likely to be accepted by the majority.
If Hits Are So Inaccurate Why Use Them?
This is no doubt a legacy problem. As hits slowly became less accurate, no-one seem to want to stop using them because everyone else is still paying then full attention. It makes it harder for one webmaster to say they get 200 visits when another one with the same traffic is reporting 30,000 hits.
There are 4 types of people still using hits Term
- Those who still want to live the past.
- People who don’t know what it means.
- People who want to make their website seem busier than it really is.
- The Server administrators, who actually do have genuine reasons for knowing the number of hits for technical improvements and upgrading systems.
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