There are already a lot of questions asking which analyzer is the best. I try here to invert the question. Instead of asking which analyzer has the best features I'm looking for what are the best features.
More interesting is to separate what an analyzer can do from what is useful spending time doing.

What are the most useful features I should look for in a web server log analyzer?

How are they useful, what problems can they solve?

  • That'd depend entirely on your business need. What do you need a log analyzer to do? What business are you in? – ceejayoz Jan 12 '10 at 20:18
  • My question is general since I guess that even though you could extract anything, there are some that people have found more useful. – hultqvist Jan 12 '10 at 20:23

Any reason for not using Google Analytics? The only one I see for using a log analyzer over Analytics is if you really need to log non-HTML views (such as images/scripts/stylesheets/binary files). Other than that, Google Analytics is the perfect tool:

  • It's free;
  • It has a ton of useful features -- just use the ones you need, they are almost certainly included;
  • It doesn't overload your server in any way -- everything is handled by Google's servers;
  • If your site is hosted on multiple servers, mashing up the data from all of them is really easy.

It really depends on your own requirements. What type of information do you want from the log analyzer?

SmarterStats from SmarterTools is a really good product. They also have a free version you can install on your server.

  • Are there any requirements that sound useful but really isn't? What makes SmarterTools a good analyzer? – hultqvist Jan 12 '10 at 20:47
  • It's a really easy product to setup, not much knowledge required and the interface is user friendly. – The Elite Jan 13 '10 at 21:10

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