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About the developer

zgoat
1.9K Stars 64 Forks Other 1.4K Commits 38 Opened issues

Description

Easy web analytics. No tracking of personal data.

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Awesome Humane Tech

GoatCounter is an open source web analytics platform available as a hosted service (free for non-commercial use) or self-hosted app. It aims to offer easy to use and meaningful privacy-friendly web analytics as an alternative to Google Analytics or Matomo.

There are two ways to run this: as hosted service on goatcounter.com, free for non-commercial use, or run it on your own server. The source code is completely Open Source/Free Software, and it can be self-hosted without restrictions.

See docs/rationale.markdown for some more details on the "why?" of this project.

There's a live demo at https://stats.arp242.net.

Please consider contributing financially if you're self-hosting GoatCounter so I can pay my rent :-) GoatCounter is sponsored by a grant from NLnet's NGI Zero PET fund.

Features

  • Privacy-aware; doesn’t track users with unique identifiers and doesn't need a GDPR notice. Fine-grained control over which data is collected. Also see the privacy policy and GDPR consent notices.

  • Lightweight and fast; adds just ~3.5K of extra data to your site. Also has JavaScript-free "tracking pixel" option, or you can use it from your application's middleware or import from logfiles.

  • Identify unique visits without cookies using a non-identifiable hash (technical details).

  • Keeps useful statistics such as browser information, location, and screen size. Keep track of referring sites and campaigns.

  • Easy; if you've been confused by the myriad of options and flexibility of Google Analytics and Matomo that you don't need then GoatCounter will be a breath of fresh air.

  • Accessibility is a high-priority feature, and the interface works well with assistive technology such as screen readers.

  • 100% committed to open source; you can see exactly what the code does and make improvements, or self-host it for any purpose.

  • Own your data; you can always export all data and cancel at any time.

  • Integrate on your site with just a single script tag:

  • The JavaScript integration is a good option for most, but you can also use a no-JavaScript image-based tracker, integrate it in your backend middleware, or parse log files.

Getting data in to GoatCounter

There are three ways:

  1. Add the JavaScript code on your site; this is the easiest and most common method. Detailed documentation for this is available at https://www.goatcounter.com/code

  2. Integrate in your middleware; send data to GoatCounter by calling the API from your backend server middleware. Detailed documentation for this is available at https://www.goatcounter.com/api#backend-integration

  3. Parse logfiles. GoatCounter can parse logfiles from nginx, Apache, CloudFront, or any other HTTP middleware or proxy. See

    goatcounter help
    import
    for detailed documentation on this.

Running your own

The release page has binaries for Linux amd64, arm, and arm64. These are statically compiled, contain everything you need, and should work in pretty much any Linux environment. The only other thing you need is somewhere to store a SQLite database file or a PostgreSQL connection.

GoatCounter should run on any platform supported by Go, but there are no binaries for them (yet); you'll have to build from source if you want to run it on e.g. FreeBSD or macOS.

Note this README is for the latest master; use the

release-2.0
branch for the 2.0 README.

Generally speaking only the latest release is supported, although critical fixes (security, data loss, etc.) may get backported to previous releases.

Deploy scripts and such

If you don't have a Linode account yet then consider using my referral URL and I'll get some kickback from Linode :-)

Building from source

You need Go 1.16 or newer and a C compiler (for SQLite). If you compile it with

CGO_ENABLED=0
you don't need a C compiler but can only use PostgreSQL.

Compile from source with:

$ git clone -b release-2.0 https://github.com/zgoat/goatcounter.git
$ cd goatcounter
$ go build -ldflags="-X zgo.at/goatcounter.Version=$(git log -n1 --format='%h_%cI')" ./cmd/goatcounter

You'll now have a

goatcounter
binary in the current directory.

The

-ldflags=[..]
sets the version; this isn't strictly required as such, but it's recommended as it's used to "bust" the cache for static files and may also be useful later when reporting bugs. This can be any string and doesn't follow any particular format, you can also set this to the current date or
banana
or anything you want really.

To build a fully statically linked binary:

$ go build -tags osusergo,netgo,sqlite_omit_load_extension \
    -ldflags="-X zgo.at/goatcounter.Version=$(git log -n1 --format='%h_%cI') -extldflags=-static" \
    ./cmd/goatcounter

It's recommended to use the latest release as in the above command. The master branch should be reasonably stable but no guarantees, and sometimes I don't write detailed release/upgrade notes until the actual release so you may run in to surprises.

You can compile goatcounter without cgo if you're planning to use PostgreSQL and don't use SQLite:

$ CGO_ENABLED=0 go build \
    -ldflags="-X zgo.at/goatcounter.Version=$(git log -n1 --format='%h_%cI')" \
    ./cmd/goatcounter

Functionally it doesn't matter too much, but builds will be a bit easier and faster as it won't require a C compiler.

Running

You can start a server with:

$ goatcounter serve

The default is to use an SQLite database at

./db/goatcounter.sqlite3
, which will be created if it doesn't exist yet. See the
-db
flag and
goatcounter
help db
to customize this.

Both SQLite and PostgreSQL are supported. SQLite should work well for most smaller sites, but PostgreSQL gives better performance. There are some benchmarks over here to give some indication of what performance to expect from SQLite and PostgreSQL.

GoatCounter will listen on port

*:80
and
*:443
by default. You don't need to run it as root and can grant the appropriate permissions on Linux with:
$ setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' goatcounter

Listening on a different port can be a bit tricky due to the ACME/Let's Encrypt certificate generation;

goatcounter help listen
documents this in depth.

You can create new sites with the

db create site
command:
$ goatcounter db create site -email [email protected] -domain stats.example.com

This will ask for a password for your new account; you can also add a password on the commandline with

-password
. You must also pass the
-db
flag here if you use something other than the default.

Updating

You may need to run the database migrations when updating. Use

goatcounter
serve -automigrate
to always run all pending migrations on startup. This is the easiest way, although arguably not the "best" way.

Use

goatcounter migrate 
or
goatcounter migrate all
to manually run migrations; generally you want to upload the new version, run migrations while the old one is still running, and then restart so the new version takes effect.

Use

goatcounter migrate pending
to get a list of pending migrations, or
goatcounter migrate list
to show all migrations.

PostgreSQL

To use PostgreSQL run GoatCounter with a custom

-db
flag; for example:
$ goatcounter serve -db 'postgresql://dbname=goatcounter'
$ goatcounter serve -db 'postgresql://host=/run/postgresql dbname=goatcounter sslmode=disable'

This follows the format in the

psql
CLI; you can also use the
PG*
environment variables:

$ PGDATABASE=goatcounter DBHOST=/run/postgresql goatcounter serve -db 'postgresql://'

See

goatcounter help db
and the pq docs for more details.

Development/testing

You can start a test/development server with:

$ goatcounter serve -dev

The

-dev
flag makes some small things a bit more convenient for development; TLS is disabled by default, it will listen on localhost:8081, the application will automatically restart on recompiles, templates and static files will be read directly from the filesystem, and a few other minor changes.

See .github/CONTRIBUTING.markdown for more details on how to run a development server, write patches, etc.

Various aggregate data files are available at https://www.goatcounter.com/data

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