Plausible Analytics: A Fine Open Source Google Analytics Alternative

Plausible is an easy-to-use, fast web analytics platform that is based in Europe, which means it does not use cookies and is fully in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (CCPA) and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

Plausible Analytics Is Open Source:

Yes, Plausible Analytics is open-source, which means that its source code is unrestricted on GitHub, letting anyone check it out, read it, inspect it, and review it to comprehend how it works and guarantee that it keeps the data private and safe.

The concept of open source encourages collaboration, transparency, and development, as anyone can contribute to improving and enhancing the software.

Also, open-source projects often benefit from peer review and scrutiny, which can lead to more robust and secure software.

How I found Plausible Analytics

As a result of the Google Universal Analytics shutdown, I did a lot of studies on Google Analytics alternatives mainly because GA4 is thought to be complex and slow to collect data in real-time. But I still use GA4, and the biggest problem is slow data.

Therefore, I want to be a decent Analytics tool to acquire real-time and accurate data that is also simple to use. GA4 is quite complex and seems aimed at enterprise marketing rather than web analytics tools.

So I found multiple web analytics services, and Plausible is one of them. The problem is that all of them are premium and need paying for them, although Plausible offers a free 30-day trial with all premium features.

And I like the Plausible UI since it is so easy to browse anything without slowing down. Just click, and it works nicely. However, there are some problems.

So read this review to learn about the good, bad, and ugly.

Plausible Analytics Review

1. Is There A Free Version Of Plausible Analytics?

The simple answer is NO.

Plausible Analytics is a paid product because it’s privately funded and actively developed. There are costs involved with making something better, remaining in the industry, and continuing to put work into it.

Yes, I know that large web analysis services such as Google, Yandex, and others are free to use because of their financial power and gathering and analysing vast amounts of specific data from web users’ experiences for promotional purposes. Also, they are large corporations that provide many kinds of free products, notably Google.

Therefore, if you find a product independently, I am doubtful that you would want to offer it for free to people. Right?

However, plausible analytics provides a 30-day trial period. The best thing is that you don’t have to submit any financial details.

Plausible Analytics free trial

So let’s start with their free trial.

2. Getting Started With Plausible Analytics

It is very simple to get started with the plausible analytics process; simply follow my instructions: So, present your name, email, and password to start your free trial:

Getting Started With Plausible Analytics

Then you will receive a 4-digit code for the email address you entered. And then, fill out and activate your account.

Plausible Analytics activate your account

Now enter your website address, and then choose your time zone:

There are several ways to put this code on your website.

You can use the Plausible Analytics WordPress plugin if your website is built in WordPress. Also, most WordPress themes allow users to insert header and footer codes.

On the other hand, you can do it manually by inserting that code into your website’s section. After a few minutes, you will see Plausible start to collect data on your website.

Data import from Google Analytics

You can also import data from Google Analytics into Plausible.

It’s a simple process; simply get around to the Possible site settings for the website you want to import data from.

Click on “Continue With Google” on the General tab of your Plausible account, and you can link your Google account to your Plausible account.

Data Import from Google Analytics

Integration with Google Search Console

You can connect to Google Search Console to get your search results statistics, like the search terms people use to find your site.

Search Console integration with Plausible

You have to set up your site through Google Search Console and read their documentation on how to integrate Search Console with your site for the integration to be successful.

So that’s it.

3. Dashboard

The plausible analytics dashboard is very simple and easy to navigate. You don’t need to create custom reports or navigate through submenus. It only looks at the most important website stats. The chart lets you change the time unit.

You can compare your stats over time to another term, like the previous period, year over year, or a customized time. Also, you can match by weekday to bypass the weekend.

You can choose break options based on the date range you’ve selected. For example, if you choose real-time, you can view the stats according to the minute.

 plausible analytics real-time data

You can see sections like:

  • The main section: It displays your website’s primary statistics, such as unique visitors, total visits, page views, views per visit, bounce rate, visit duration, real-time visitors, and filter days.
  • Top Sources: Basically, this section displays your traffic sources, such as Direct, Google (other search engines), as well as other websites, social media, and referrals.
  • Top Pages: displays your most visited posts and pages and entry and exit pages.
  • Locations: Yes, it shows where your traffic arrives, such as countries, regions, and cities. It can also appear as a MAP.
  • Devices: This section contains technical data like the user’s browser, operating system, and screen size.
  • Goal Conversions: If you set goals, you can see data in this area, like Outbound clicks.

Here are some screenshots of the plausible analytics dashboard:

4. Site Settings

You can change and integrate additional technical features in the site settings section.

That includes:

  • General: This section allows you to change your website’s domain, update your report’s time zone, and import current info from Google Analytics.
  • People: This feature is useful for letting people you know manage your account.
  • Visibility: This section contains features such as publicly sharing your stats, privately sharing your stats via a shared link, and using shared links to embed your stats on any other website using an iframe.
  • Change Ownership: This lets you transfer control of a site to someone else.
  • Goals: Set up the actions you want your visitors to take, such as visiting specific pages, form submissions, outbound clicks, etc.
  • Funnel: lets you track a visitor’s journey from landing pages to conversions. The insights you get from funnels can help find possible cases and improve your site.
  • Integrate Search Console: As I mentioned, you can get all your search results statistics from Google Search Console.
  • Email reports: Get weekly emails and monthly statistics for multiple addresses. And can track unusually high visits to your site.
  • Danger zone: That’s a funny name, huh? Using this section, you can transfer ownership of the site, reset all stats, and permanently remove all stats and the site configuration.

See some screenshots:

Remove your visits from the analytics

The con of Plausible Analytics is that it tracks every visitor by default. You don’t want to record your page views and visits while working on your site.

And I don’t want any of my visits to be counted. Using their WordPress plugin, you can exclude admin views by default.

However, for others, there are technical configuration options or web browser addons such as uBlock Origin, which is uncomfortable. Check out this tutorial on how to exclude yourself from analytics.

I think I covered all the topics in this area of plausible analytics site settings.

5. Plausible Analytics WordPress Plugin

Plausible Analytics WordPress Plugin

I already mentioned that Plausible provides a WordPress plugin with some enhanced settings.

Here is the list of Plausible WordPress Plugin Features:

  • Connect your website automatically with Plausible: With this plugin, you can easily connect your website to Plausible Analytics.
  • Enhanced measurements: tracking hits on 404 error pages, tracking outbound link clicks, file downloads, and other custom events.
  • Bypass ad blockers: You can handle the Plausible script from your domain name as a first-party connection to track those who use ad blockers.
  • View stats in WordPress dashboard: statistics are accessible in the dashboard
  • Exclude specific pages: You can specify which pages should not be tracked. The point is that you can list of page paths that shouldn’t be tracked in the site’s analysis.
  • Track analytics for roles: Visits from logged-in users are not tracked by default. You can track visits for user roles such as Admin, Author, Editor, etc.

You can view Plausible stats directly in your WordPress dashboard. The first step you need to take is to create a private shared link in your Plausible account.

And paste your shared link in the shared links area to view your stats in your WordPress dashboard. You can then access your site’s statistics by clicking Analytics.

Here is the image after connecting:

Plausible stats in WordPress dashboard

Self-host Plausible Analytics

This plugin allows you to host Plausible scripts on your own server. But this isn’t important because Plausible isn’t a heavy script that will slow down your website. However, if you prefer, you can set your domain name as shown below:

Self-hosted Plausible Analytics

Bypass ad blockers

You have the option to execute the Plausible script directly from your domain, setting up a first-party connection. This allows you to approximate the number of visitors who use ad blockers.

Bypass Ad Blockers

The process involves utilizing the WordPress API with a randomly generated endpoint in wp-json through a proxy. However, this approach may conflict with caching plugins.

The stats may be inaccurate if you have conflicts with your WordPress site. Check that statistics are collected after you allow the proxy. Also, ensure that your security plugins support proxies. Also, make sure your CDN service supports it.

And check your host compatibility issues if your site is hosted on Kinsta, Rocket.net, WP-Engine, etc.

6. Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Uncomplicated: It’s easy to navigate and understand what we need without prior experience or instructions. Plausible reduces the mess by offering critical web traffic and statistics on an easy-to-understand screen.
  • Open source: As I mentioned, the Plausible source code is open on GitHub.
  • Privacy Focus: The basic idea of plausible analytics is to track website traffic without gathering data or using cookies while valuing people’s privacy. Plausible Analytics keeps data on European cloud hosting servers (Hetzner).
  • Fast: Plausible provides all the required website traffic insights without slowing down your website. In any metric, I never show that Analytics affects loading time.
  • Privacy compliance: This Analytics complies with privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and PECR.
  • Search Console integration: You can integrate Google Search Console to see what people search for to discover your site in your Plausible dashboard.
  • Free 30-day trial: You can try it for 30 days without a credit card.

Cons:

  • Expensive: Yes, it is too expensive for me; even with a small website with less than 10,000 page views per month, the cost is €9. There are cheaper alternatives like Fathom Analytics and Clicky. And, yes, we have good free options in addition to this.
  • Less insight: It’s less powerful than GA4, Matomo, Wide Angle, or Clicky.
  • Not suitable for large businesses: Plausible is not a good option if you have a large website and require a full-featured web analytics tool.
  • Not an all-in-one solution: Plausible is not ideal if you want more technical details and insight into your ads and marketing initiatives.

7. Google Analytics vs Plausible

 Google Analytics vs Plausible Analytics

Of course, Google Analytics is the most powerful analytical tool in the industry. However, if you are concerned about privacy and want something more uncomplicated or just want to try out new Analytical tools, Plausible Analytics is a good alternative to Google.

I know it’s not spectacular; however, you only need something fast and comfortable in some situations.

In contrast to Google Analytics, Plausible tracks website usage without collecting any personal data or using cookies while keeping people’s privacy in mind.

Plausible is simple to use, whereas GA4 is too much for the majority of webmasters. It’s an insightful but complicated tool that takes time to grasp. Also, data collection is slow because GA4 takes more time to provide insight into visits and other data on your website.

G-Analytics is a good choice for advanced users who want to gain a deeper understanding of other marketing purposes and more insight into the traffic source.

Google Analytics is free, which is a significant advantage because most of these services are not. Google is a large corporation that analyzes huge amounts of user information from web users to study marketing values.

Google Analytics script can cause your website to slow down, but the Plausible script is very lightweight and has no concern about website speed. However, the Google Analytics script can optimize or delay without affecting page speed with plugins like Flyingpress.

 Google AnalyticsPlausible
Freex
Simple to usex
Quick Data Collectionx
Robust Featuresx
Privacy RegulationsHave some concerns
Open Sourcex
Self-hostx
Proxy scriptx
WordPress Plugin
Deep integrationx

I’m aware that Google Analytics has some privacy concerns, but I still like it. And I still prefer Universal Analytics to GA4.

8. Fathom Analytics vs Plausible

Fathom Analytics vs Plausible Analytics

Fathom Analytics is very similar to Plausible, and it gathers critical website traffic data while respecting user privacy. I prefer Plausible over Fathom Analytics, but the price is too steep.

Unlike many other analytics services, Fathom doesn’t use cookies or store personal data about website visitors. Instead, it aggregates and anonymizes data to deliver insights into website traffic and other essential metrics without compromising user privacy.

In terms of simple and easy-to-use, Fathom is intended to be uncomplicated and user-friendly, with a brief setup procedure and an uncluttered design.

Compared to Plausible, Fathom has a little edge regarding real-time updates and insights about website traffic. You can also easily prevent counting your own visits.

Also, Fathom Analytics is less expensive than Plausible, which means that if you have a website that receives 100K page views per month, Fathom will only cost you $14 per month, whereas Plausible will cost you €19 per month.

Also, Fathom Analytics has more features than Plausible, such as:

  • Import your historical information: simple to import past statistics from Google Analytics into Fathom Analytics dashboards. Plausible Analytics also offers this.
  • Firewall: It’s a great feature of Fathom Analytics. Using the Fathom firewall, you can block specific pages from being tracked, block IP addresses, and block countries and domains you would like to track.
  • Monitor your events: It’s easy to track button clicks or when a specific page loads, like a payment page. Setting it up initially is a little difficult, but it works well.
  • Uptime monitoring: Fathom Analytics allows you to receive alerts in case your website goes offline or the SSL certificate is invalid at any time.
  • Export data: If you want to export all of the website data collected on your site dashboard as a CSV file, you can do so anytime.
Fathom Analytics Import your historical information

There are more differences between Plausible vs. Fathom Analytics. I will try to cover them in another article.

9. Universal Analytics and GA4

  • In Universal Analytics, data is collected into sessions and hits. Sessions represent a user’s visit to a website. Each session can have multiple hits, such as pageviews, events, and other engagements.
  • Google Analytics 4 introduces a different data model. Instead of sessions and hits, it uses events as the primary data feature. And events can contain various concerns, such as page views, clicks, plays, scrolls, etc.
  • GA4 focuses on event-driven tracking and allows for more flexible data collection. However, I still prefer Universal Analytics.
  • Universal Analytics tracking is primarily based on cookies, which means it depends on third-party cookies for tracking users across different devices and sessions.
  • GA4 is created to work with a more privacy-centric approach. And uses first-party cookies, Google signals, and machine learning algorithms to better track users’ devices and sessions without relying on third-party cookies.
  • The interface in Universal Analytics is well-established and has been around for many years. And provides a wide range of routine reports and customization opportunities. I like how easy it is to use and how you can see real time data.
  • The interface in GA4 is different from Universal Analytics. While it’s continuously improving, it does not have the same level of maturity and ample features as U-Analytics.
  • GA4 is fine for me, but I’d prefer real-time data collection as accurate as UA because GA4 takes 48 hours. However, it does offer more advanced analysis options and better integration with other Google products. There are several differences between Universal Analytics vs. GA4.

10. How Can Web Analytics Benefit Your Business?

I believe that web analytics is critical for several reasons, as follows:

  • Insights: Web analytics provide practical data and insights into website visitors’ behavior. This data includes visit count, locations, demographics, devices, and page visits. It helps publishers tailor their content to meet readers’ preferences.
  • Optimization: By analyzing user interactions, you can identify which articles or other media are performing well. This data allows you to optimize existing content and create more interesting and relevant content in the future.
  • Measure your performance: Web analytics allows you to follow the performance of websites over time. You can observe key performance indicators such as page views, bounce rates, time on the page, link clicks, and conversion rates. As a result, we can evaluate the effectiveness of our marketing strategies and make data-driven decisions to improve our website.
  • UX Improvement: We can identify user experience problems with web analytics tools. You can monitor when users leave the conversion funnel by analyzing user behavior, and it can help to improve its navigation and user interface, creating a comfortable and active user base. It’s always my goal to improve the user experience.
  • Marketing Significance: Marketing helps you promote content and attract new viewers. Web analytics enables you to estimate the punch of marketing movements, track referral sources, and comprehend which channels drive the most traffic and conversions.
  • SEO: Yes, it is critical to analyze your web analytics if you do good SEO or if you are considering it. Personally, I check every day what are successes and failures so that we can understand improvements and losses. And we can comprehend some errors, such as penalties. You can also use web analytics to understand your dead content.
  • Monetization: Analytics can provide insights into which products, services, or content types drive the most revenue. This information can help refine our monetization tactics and focus on the most lucrative options. Also, most ad networks, such as Adx partners like Mediavine, ask for you to provide your analytical data to be approved.

Yes, there are a lot more advantages to using Web Analytics, and it also depends on user needs. Some only need it to look at traffic, while others require it for overall processes.

Web analytics like Plausible provide us with a tool to make better data-driven decisions, allowing us to better understand our audience, optimize content, improve the user experience, and maximize our website’s performance and revenue generation.

To Wrap It Up

It comes to wrapping up this Plausible analytics review. I still use Google Analytics, but GA4 is still uncomfortable for me, which is why I am looking into alternatives.

I am not overly concerned about digital privacy, but I know that it is important and that big businesses use our personal information for advertising purposes. However, we cannot ignore them because they are required in this industry to continue to innovate.

What would the internet be like if there weren’t companies like Google?

Who knows, it might be better, haha. No, I doubt it.

It doesn’t matter. We have to go our own way.

If you are looking for an easy-to-use, fast, and privacy-conscious web analytics tool, plausible analytics is a good option. It’s expensive but a good alternative to Google Analytics.

I like the UI because it is very simple. Also, the WP plugin is good and lightweight, not a slow plugin, and it is useful for analyzing website traffic and some movements, such as outbound clicks.

However, if you want a free or robust web analytics tool, I think you should use GA or another advanced web analytics tool.

Other Articles:


By Staff Author
By Staff Author