Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Stats Setup for monitoring the Website

Few days back, I needed to set up the monitoring for my front-end webmail server for bandwidth usage, number of hits, tracking of IP addresses, browsers etc... I looked into the number of options but inarguably found that Awstats is the best in this business.

AWStats is a free powerful and featureful tool that generates advanced web, streaming, ftp or mail server statistics, graphically. This log analyzer works as a CGI or from command line and shows you all possible information your log contains, in few graphical web pages.

The Setup consists of 5 major steps:

1. Installing Perl
2. The AWStats Setup
3. Setup IIS Logging
4. Setup AWStats Config File
5. Scheduling Log File Analysis

1. Installing Perl

Download the Perl binary for Windows. Grab the MSI version. GO ahead and run the install.
It will automatically create the Web Service Extension mapping in IIS. However you need to allow that from IIS manager.

2. The AWStats Setup

Now that Perl is installed, we can get AWStats all setup.

1. Run the Setup. Select all the defaults.
2. Copy the contents of its Bin directory to C:\Perl\Bin Folder.
3. Go into IIS Manager, create the virtual directory named stats under default Website for C:\Perl\Bin.
4. Give Execute Permissions, select Scripts and Executables from the dropdown.

3. Setup IIS Logging

Right click the website to be logged, go to properties, and then on the Configuration tab, check off
Enable Logging (if it isn’t already). Select W3C Extended Format from the dropdown, and then click Properties.
Proceed to the advanced tab and uncheck everything. There are certain items here that we’ll tick back off. Namely, the following items should be checked:

Date (date)
Time (time)
Client IP Address (c-ip)
Username (cs-username)
Method (cs-method)
URI Stem (cs-uri-stem)
Protocol Status (sc-status)
Bytes Sent (sc-bytes)
Protocol Version (cs-version)
User Agent (cs(User-Agent))
Referrer (cs(Referrer))

The IIS end is now done, the final step is to setup the AWStats.conf file.

4 . Setup AWStats Config file

It is already copied in the C:\Perl\Bin Folder directory. Copy the existing config file and save it as awstats.mywebsite.com.conf.
*mywebsite.com = name of the website you want to monitor.

The first parameter to setup is your log file item. The only important part is the final piece at the end with the date time codes. Here's the line from my config file below:


The config file and documentation say that one should specify LogFormat=2 for IIS. Unfortunately, IIS 6 does not follow this predefined format, so we’ll have to specify our own:

LogFormat="date time cs-method cs-uri-stem cs-username c-ip cs-version cs(User-Agent) cs(Referer) sc-status sc-bytes"

Then we have to specify the value of Site Domain. Site Domain must contain the main domain name, or the main intranet web server name, used to reach the web site.


5. Scheduling Log file Analysis

AWStats only analyzes log files when told to do so. It can easily be toggled from the command line, and running a scheduled task to do this is the best solution.

Here’s a command that look like:

c:\perl\bin\perl.exe awstats.pl -config=mywebsite.com –update

All set now, you can access the stats from http://mywebsite.com/stats