What is the difference between a hit, a page view, a visit, and a visitor?
The following terms are key to understanding the significance of report metrics displayed in Webtrends. Although Webtrends is extremely customizable, the following terms form the foundation upon which advanced configurations are built:
Hit - A hit is any request to a web server. Each time a visitor downloads a page, clicks a hyperlink, views a graphic, or performs any other action on a web site, a call is made to the web server. The web server records each of these requests in a log file. These requests are commonly known as "hits," and the loading of a single web page can amount to many hits, due to all of the elements it contains.
Page View - A page view represents a hit to any file designated among the page file types. The most common examples are files ending in .html, .htm, .php, .asp, or .aspx.
Visit - A visit is a session of continuous activity where all hits are recorded in the log file for one visitor to a web site. The visit starts the moment of the first hit on the web site and continues until the session ends through inactivity. By default, if a visitor is inactive for 30 minutes or more during a session, the visit is terminated and a new visit begins when activity resumes.
Visitor - A visitor is a person who visits a web site. Visitors are generally tracked by either an IP address or a cookie, although other methods of "sessionizing" the data are possible. The stronger the session tracking method, the more accurate the visitor metrics will be. Authenticated User is a strong session tracking method because it is based on sessions where users are required to log into the web site, but IP/User Agent is a weak session tracking method because any number of users may be on subnets behind a certain IP address.
It is important to note that one visitor can generate multiple visits in a given time period by either being inactive for a period of 30 minutes before continued browsing on your site, or by leaving and returning. Visitors can also generate hits with zero page views, in the case of image crawlers (spiders) which request images (hits), but do not request pages. Visits with no page views will not adversely affect licensing.