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I have a vanilla install of Apache/2.2.20 running on Ubuntu 11.10. I would like to provide two files that can be accessed anonymously (a readme.html and a 1.7GB download).

I would like use Google Analytics to track visits to myserver/readme.html, but provide an alternate path myserver/private/readme.html and myserver/private/bigdownload that is not tracked by Google Analytics or recorded in an Apache log.

My goals are in line with a standard requirements of scientific review, namely, that I provide anonymous download access. There are so few potential reviewers that even knowing the state or country could compromise anonymity.

I have thought of a few potential solutions but I relatively unfamiliar with Apache and web-server configuration:

  1. stop Apache from loging source ip addresses and/or other identifyable information for a specific directory (but, how?)?
  2. configure Google Analytics to ignore a sub-path (how?)
  3. find an anonymous browser that can hide location.

What is the easiest way to provide anonymous download access from a server?

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Have you considered just hosting the file on some 3rd party site where you don't have access to the metrics? I would suggest megaupload, but ... There are alternatives. – Zoredache Jan 25 '12 at 23:34
up vote 7 down vote accepted

In your httpd.conf file

<Directory /usr/local/www/myserver/private/>
    LogFormat "%f"

This will change the logged line to just the file name. So you'll have a record saying that it was downloaded, but no other record in the log file of who downloaded it or even the exact time.

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Looks promising, but after sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart, I get the following error: Syntax error on line 2 of /etc/apache2/httpd.conf: LogFormat not allowed here Action 'configtest' failed. The Apache error log may have more information.! (nothing recent in /var/log/apache2/error.log) – Abe Jan 26 '12 at 22:16

Run a separate VirtualHost that disables access logging.

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