As it should be abundantly clear by now, I am against profiling people on the Internet. The worst are the big data collectors that track users across multiple sites, and hence are in the position to create detailed profiles from the data.
There’s a less nefarious type of tracking, where visitors are only tracked on one single website, to see what pages they visit, how long they stay, which pages are being visited in sequence, and so on, with the goal to optimise this site to keep them as long as possible there. Attention is today’s gold everyone battles for, as it’s a limited good.
And, at the low end, so to speak, there’s tracking to see what types of devices people use, to be able to make sure the contents displays in an acceptable fashion, or if there are broken links and the like. This is the information that I am interested in, which lead me to first try the free “default” that most websites use, Google Analytics, to then switch to Matomo, as described here.
With a free test account, I had Matomo’s service switched on and off, simply to see what I get out of it, and also how it influences the page loading times.
Yesterday, I have decided that I will not use any tracking on this site. Period. I have disabled the inclusion of their tracking script in all pages. Consequently, this site will not leave behind any cookie.
Note that any existing cookie from my former dabbling of Google Analytics and Matomo will not be deleted automatically, or only after their expiration date, which is usually set one, two, or more years in the future. However, it will not be used without the scripts, hence it’s harmless. You can simply delete it in your browser prefs or inspector, or leave it. It does not matter.
For my purposes, I’ll use the webserver logs. They record only the data needed to make the Internet work.
For now, I use goaccess to analyse the webserver logs for technical problems, misuse, and attacks. Goaccess runs on my own server.
I’ll write more about webserver logs in a forthcoming post. You have been warned…