Updated Feb 1 2021 :: by Alex Yumashev

I've been looking for a Google Analytics replacement since forever. For three reasons mostly:

Cookie consent: I'm fed up with cookie popups myself and I really don't want to annoy our users with it

Google: tracking our visitors

Speed and performance: Google Analytics script is bulky, slow and makes weird requests to external hostnames like stats.g.doubleclick.net. I tried making it faster, experimented with async and defer, even tried loading it after a 2-second timeout but still wasn't satisfied with my LightHouse timeline and the main thread workload. Ironically even Google's own PageSpeed Insights tool keeps complaining about Google Analytics being slow.

Alternatives we tried:

CloudFlare

Pros

  • privacy, no cookies
  • offers a "no JavaScript" option if you're already on their CDN, based on edge server logs, which sounded very exciting

Cons

  • limited UI, all reports are trimmed to 15 rows, have to experiment with search-filters to dive deeper
  • the data is limited to last 7 days only (30 days on a paid plan), unacceptable for us
  • if your website is behind CloudFlare CDN (even without using analytics) - you still need a popup, because CF adds their cookies

Marco Sarik did a nice detailed review of CloudFlare analytics if you're interested.


Fathom Analytics

Pros:

  • privacy, no cookies
  • simple UI

Cons

  • no API
  • no way to filter the data whatsover (by referer, path, hostname, country etc)

GoatCounter

Pros

  • privacy, no cookies
  • "no JavaScript" option (tracking pixel)
  • speed
  • free self-hosted option & free SaaS for non-commercial websites
  • open source

Cons

  • quirky and limited UI
  • limited filtering

Plausible (winner!)

Pros

  • privacy, no cookies
  • speed
  • free self-hosted option
  • open-source
  • Clean and slick UI + a dark theme ;)

Cons

  • No API, but (!) I easily reverse-engineered their frontend and discovered an endpoint sitting at https://plausible.io/api/stats/[your_hostname]. It obviously needs an authenticated session token, but that's fine, I only use it from front-end JavaScript anyway.

As a result, we're on Plausible. The SaaS version, not the self-hosted one, since we have enough devops going on already and it feels good to support fellow indie-developers like us. Plausible is a nice privacy-focused product that looks very simple on the surface, but lets you dive deeper with just a couple of clicks. One can optionally set "goals" and even integrate with Google Search Console. Which basically covers 99.99% of my analytics needs.

We did have an unusual requirement though - an API we could call from our internal dashboard. We need that to discover pages that receive no traffic and do regular content cleanups. Removing underperforming pages is one of the crucial SEO-tasks these days and no analytics product offers a report like that (for obvious reasons, if a page gets no hits - it's not in your analytics). That is why API was a must and Plausible (with a bit of Chrome Dev Tools magic) worked fine.


'We're off Google Analytics - here are the alternatives we tried' was written by Alex Yumashev
Alex Yumashev
Alex has founded Jitbit in 2005 and is a software engineer passionate about customer support.


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