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I will be out of the office from August 22th to September 1st I will try to answer your support questions as soon as possible but please be patient. Thanks Steve

Important Notice

If you have upgraded CoalaWeb Traffic to version 0.1.8 please make sure to clear your Joomla + Browser Cache and open and save the Component and Module Configuration Options. Please check the FAQ and Guide for more details.

Last Updated

Friday, 13 June 2014

Traffic Guide

Overview

CoalaWeb Traffic is a Joomla 2.5 & 3.+ extension to help you keep track of the visitors to your site.

Parts of the system

The system is made up of a Component, Module and two System Plugins.

This guide will help you set up this CoalaWeb extension quickly and easily taking full advantage of its features.When you install CoalaWeb Traffic all 4 parts of the system will be installed at the same time making installing, upgrading and uninstalling a breeze.

Table of Contents

  1. Component Guide
  2. Module Guide
  3. Plugin Guide
  4. Need More Help?

Component

Control Panel

The Control Panel as seen below it is designed to be an easy starting point, think of it as the components head quarters. While carrying out tasks you can easily jump from the Control Panel to the different sections and then return before moving onto the next one. [Figure-1]

Figure-1

Visitors

The next section is the Visitors section this is where all the visitors to your site are listed. The visitors are displayed with the following information.

  • Their IP address
  • Browser Type
  • Browser Version
  • Platform (Operating System)
  • Referer Link
  • The date they visited
  • The time they visited
  • Name assignment (optional)
  • Their Location (Only with the Geo Database Installed)

You also have filter and search options. To filter the visitor information you have the following options.

  • IP - Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • Browser - Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • Browser Version - Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • Platform - Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • Date of Visit - Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • IP Owner- Click to order descending or again for ascending.
  • Location - Click to order descending or again for ascending.

You also have a search box where you can choose to enter an IP, Date, IP Owner or location to search for specific visitor information. [Figure-2]

Figure-2

IP Categories

To make it easier to organise your know IPs you can create categories to associated them with. For example you could create a category called Bots and then add all the known robots in your Knownips list to this category. [Figure-3]

Figure-3

Known IPs

The next section is the Known IPs section which contains some powerful tools for controlling what is counted by Traffic. [Figure-4].

Figure-4

IP Formats

When adding IPs to a Known IP entry you have several options, you can specify an IP or IP range in the following formats:

  • Single IP - 192.168.1.1
  • Simple IP Range - 192.168.1.1-192.168.1.255
  • Implied IP Range - 192.168.1.

Scenarios

Your Own IP:

If you just want to keep an eye on your own IP for example you could create a new entry give it a Name and Description add your IP and leave Count to yes. Now in the Visitors view you can see your visits easily by look down the IP Owner column. [Figure-3].

Block by IP:

If you want to stop an IP from being counted by Traffic create a new entry give it a Name and Description add the IP and set Count to no. Now that particular IP will not appear in the visitors list as it is not counted by the system any more.

Block by Name:

If you want to stop a robot from being counted by Traffic based on it's Name create a new entry give it a Name and Description add the Robot Name and set Count to no. Now that particular robot will not appear in the visitors list as it is not counted by the system any more.

Note: The most reliable way to identify visitors is by their IP the name information comes from their user agent string which isn't always supplied.

GEO Location

CoalaWeb Traffic gives you the option to identify your visitors Countries and Cities of origin based on their IP addresses. [Figure-5].

Figure-5

How Geo Location Works

CoalaWeb Traffic uses the free MaxMind's GeoLiteCity database for determining the country and city information of your visitors. This file is updated very frequently, about once every month. Why so often? IP assignments to countries change all the time in fact by the time we release our extension, the database file is most likely already slightly out of date.

What Will This Affect

This could cause some IP addresses to be identified as coming from the wrong location. Updating the file regularly will give you much better country and city accuracy. MaxMind claims an accuracy of 99.5% for its free GeoLiteCity database so please bear in mind that this means that some IP addresses might be reported wrongly.

Do I Have To Install It?

No you do not. The system will continue to count and store your website traffic with out the database installed the only difference is that you won't see Country or City information associated with their IP addresses.

Note: It's a good idea to inform visitors in your privacy policy or TOS that you are collecting their information.

Installing the Geo Database

If you don’t have the GeoLiteCity database installed you will receive an notice message. To take advantage of CoalaWeb Traffics inbuilt ability to tell you a visitors country and sometimes their city follow the steps below. [Figure-5a].

Figure-5a

To make it easier to know if you will need to upload the database manually I have added a Upload Minimum Requirements check list that will display in the Geo Location view. [Figure-5b].

Figure-5b

If your system doesn't meet the minimum requirements but its close I recommend trying the easy way first and then moving on the the manual install.

Easy Install

First click the Upload GeoLiteCity Database blue button this will retrieve the latest version of the database from the Maximind website and upload it to your website's tmp directory. [Figure-5c].

Figure-5c

If everything went according to plan you will receive a conformation message that it uploaded correctly. [Figure-5d].

Figure-5d

The next step is to Unzip the file to the CoalaWeb Traffic geoip directory where it can be accessed and used to determine your visitors locations. If the database uploaded correctly in the last step you will now have a Unzip icon in the top tool bar click this to start the unzip process. [Figure-5e].

Figure-5e

Once again if everything goes according to plan you receive a conformation message that the file was unzipped correctly and also the message at the top of the page will turn green with today's date. [Figure-5f].

Figure-5f

Now CoalaWeb Traffic will automatically add country and city information to your visitor records as they are collected. To keep the location information as accurate as possible just carry out this procedure at regular intervals.

Note: Please be patient when Uploading and Unzipping the database it may take some time due to the size of the file.

Manual Install

If you couldn't install the database the easy way no problem lets just do it the manual way by following these steps. The sizes I mentions in the following steps may differ but you get the idea.

Note: To avoid issues please follow these steps exactly as they are written.

Download the latest MaxMind GeoLiteCity database HERE. [Figure-5g].

Figure-5g

As you can see it should be at least 10.8MB in my case once using Linux when it was downloaded the system saw it as 11.3MB. [Figure-5h].

Figure-5h

When extracted my system reports it as 17.6MB [Figure-5i].

Figure-5i

Now all we are doing is converting the name to lowercase. [Figure-5j].

Figure-5j

Now don't rezip the file just uploaded it to:

administrator/components/com_coalawebtraffic/assets/geoip

Now you should have a file 17.7MB in size with 644 permissions in the directory. [Figure-5k].

Figure-5k

Now if everything went according to plan you should now start to see Country and City data in the Visitors view.

Export CSV Report

If you want to export the visitors currently stored in your database start by selecting Visitors from the menu bar or from the Control Panel. The main concept you have understand is what you see is what you get for example if I want all the records for the IP Owner CoalaWeb I would do the following.

First Type CoalaWeb into the search box and press enter. [Figure-6]

Figure-6

Now only records with CoalaWeb are listed next choose All from the bottom pagination select box. [Figure-6a]

Figure-6a

Now we have all the records with CoalaWeb as the IP owner listed on one page next click CSV Report from the top right menu. [Figure-6b]

Figure-6b

You should get a pop up that similar to the image below if not make sure it's not being blocked by something such as your browser settings. [Figure-6c]

Figure-6c

Next save the file to your local computer and then open it with your application of choice. In this example I will be using LibreOffice but the procedure will be similar with other applications. First I have to import it before I can work with the data so after a double click I'm confronted with the window below. [Figure-6d]

Figure-6d

I have chosen to import it with the default settings which results in the data being laid out in a sheet. [Figure-6e]

Figure-6e

You can now format, filter and save the data as you wish.

Note: Don't forget what you see is what you get! The exported file will contain what is displayed on the screen.

Inbuilt Help

In the control panel or the tool menu you have a help icon that when clicked will open a pop up wrapper of this specific guide. This gives you an easy way of checking the functionality of a particular item with out leaving the control panel. [Figure-7]

Figure-7

Extension Options

In the control panel or the tool menu you have a Options icon that when clicked will open a series of extension options.

General Options

The first option in this section is the Locktime this is the amount of time that must pass before a particular IP will be counted again. It is measured in minutes and 1440 (Full day) is the default. [Figure-8]

The next option is Week Start which allows you to choose which day you want the calculations for the Weeks visitors to start from. This only affects the week count in the front end module and the back end statistics area of the control panel. [Figure-8]

The last option in this section is the Preset Counter this number will be added to the current Total so its good for when you move a site or to bump up the visitors. This only affects the total count in the front end module and the back end statistics area of the control panel. [Figure-8]

Figure-8

Cleanup

In this section you can control the automatic clean up of the database to stop the tables filling up with data. I recommend having this set to on and the second option of how many Records to Keep will depend on your circumstances. [Figure-8a]

Figure-8a

Project Honeypot

Project Honeypot is a collective effort to detect spammers, email harversters and crackers. Its HTTP:BL service allows participants to query the IP addresses of their visitors and figure out if it is a malicious user behind it. If you enable this feature, CoalaWeb Traffic will check the IP address of each visitor and, if it is a malicious user, it will not count them. [Figure-8b]

Figure-8b

Note: CoalaWeb Traffic does not block visitors from your site only from being counted by the Traffic system.

Use Project Honeypot

  • This option is an easy one it turns the feature on and off

API key

  • Enter your HTTP:BL key. You can sign up for Project Honeypot and get your key at http://www.projecthoneypot.org/httpbl_configure.php.

Block suspicious

  • Sometimes Project Honeypot is not sure if an IP belongs to a spammer or someone who made a couple of bad decisions while surfing the web. In this case the IP is marked as "suspicious". The default behaviour is to not block these IPs.

Block Search Engines

  • If you don't want search engines being counted as visitors to your site you can turn this on. This does not guarantee that all search engines won't be counted but it's a good start.

Minimum Threat (0-255, default 25)

  • Project Honeypot uses a logarithmic "threat rating" to rank the possibility of a specific IP being a spammer. This options defines the minimum threat level an IP must have before it's blocked. A value of 25 means that this IP has submitted 100 spam messages on Project Honeypot's spam catching honeypots and is usually a safe indication that it belongs to a spammer. Do note that the rating is logarithmic. A value of 50 means 1,000 spam messages and a value of 75 means one million spam messages. Do not set it to values over 50, as you will most likely never block any spammer at all.

Maximum Age

  • Project Honeypot reports when was the last time this IP was caught sending spam messages. The older this is (the higher the age is), the less likely is that this IP is still used by a spammer. You can chose here what will be the maximum reported age that will be blocked. The default value of 30 means that IPs which have submitted a spam message in the last 30 days will be blocked.

Obsolete

The options in this section are obsolete and have been included to allow users an opportunity to transfer them to the new system. [Figure-8c]

Figure-8c

Permissions

Lastly you have the permissions used to control access to the CoalaWeb Traffic component. [Figure-8d]

Figure-8d

CoalaWeb Traffic Module

The CoalaWeb Traffic module has a huge list of options so we have broken them up into several sections which are explained in detail below.

If you have a multilingual website please leave text fields found through out the module configuration blank and instead use language files to control the text.

General Display Options

To make it easy to explain I have broken this section up into two parts.

Part 1 Digital Counter

First you can choose if you want to display the digital counter section at all maybe you only want to display individual counters. Next you can choose how many digits you want to be displayed. The last option in this section is to choose a theme for your digital counter. [Figure-9]

Figure-9

Part 2 Individual Counters

First you can choose if you want to display the individual counters section at all maybe you only want to display a digital counter. The next option is to choose a theme, this will affect which icons are displayed along side the individual counters or you can choose to have no icons.

Next you have the ability to turn on or off the display for today, yesterday, this week, this month and total it's up to you which ones you want to display. Under each of these options is a text box here you can assign a word to be displayed next to the item but if your site is multilingual leave these blank and use the language files to control what is displayed. [Figure-9a]

Figure-9a

Module Layout Options

The first two options control the width of the counter section and the overall module width.

The next option is the module layout you have three options to choose from.

  • Default - The vertical layout allows both the counters and visitor info.
  • Horizontal - The horizontal layout only allows counters.
  • Compact - The compact layout only displays the horizontal text and the total counter.

The next option is the horizontal text this will display to the left of both the horizontal and compact layouts. The last option is the separator this will display between items in both the horizontal and compact layouts. [Figure-10]

Figure-10

Visitor Display Options

This section controls what information about the visitor will be displayed within the Traffic module.

To make it easier to explain I have broken this section into two parts.

Part 1

First you can choose if you want to display the visitor information section at all. Next are the Title configuration options, you can to choose to display one including the title text, it's format and it's alignment.The next option turns on or off a horizontal line to separate the counter items from the visitor information. [Figure-11]

Figure-11

Part 2

In this section you have the option to turn on or off the following items as well as choosing their label text. [Figure-11a]

  • IP
  • Browser
  • Operating System

Figure-11a

Who is Online Options

Due to the flaws in the Joomla method of tell who is online I have created my own that uses cookies and a database table to keep track of who is online. The data is then retrieved and displayed in this section of the module.

First you can choose if you want to display the who is online section at all. Next are the Title configuration options, you can to choose to display one including the title text, subtitle text, it's format and it's alignment.The next option turns on or off a horizontal line to separate the counter items from the visitor information. [Figure-12]

Figure-12

Advanced Options

The CoalaWeb Traffic module also has a few of what I consider Advanced Options such as the option to assign a Unique Module ID to stop conflicts, a Module Class Suffix or whether to use Cache including the Cache Time. This next option allows you to display the Date and Time at the bottom of the module as well as choosing its Format.

The last option is whether to display a Link Back to CoalaWeb which is always appreciated but its up to you plus you can choose what text to display next to the link. Note: If your site is multilingual leave blank and use the language files. *[Figure-13]

Figure-13

Plugins

There are several plugins crucial to the proper functioning of the CoalaWeb Traffic system. They are explain in detail below.

System Plugin - Count

This plugin is crucial to functionality of the system it quietly counts the visits to your site and then records them in the database. It allows you to count the traffic to your site even with the module unpublished and also ensures all traffic is record regardless of the part of the site that they visit.

This plugin also takes care of blocking visitors from being counted based on your setting in the CoalaWeb Traffic component.

Note: To ensure proper functionality of CoalaWeb Traffic please make sure this plugin is installed and publish.

System Plugin - Clean

This plugin carries out the automatic database clean up but only if you have it turned on in the Component Options. It will run in the background keeping the current data but delete out the old entries and then add them to a running total. It is recommended to turn this feature on.

Have you chosen automatic database clean up? Then this plugin needs to be installed and published.

System Plugin - Online

This plugin will count and then supply the information so the Traffic module can display the currently online visitors. It uses it own database table along with cookies to keep track of visitors.

Have you chosen to display Who is Online? Then this plugin needs to be installed and published.

Need More Help

Do you have a question that wasn't covered by the GUIDE? Try the FAQ.

Do you have a question that wasn't covered by the GUIDE or the FAQ? Then it's time to drop by the Forum I'm sure we can help.

  • Written by: Steven Palmer
  • Tuesday, 23 April 2013