Article Image
Article Image

Note: Piwik recently rebranded to Matomo.

I don’t trust Google, lately even less so. I’ve used Google Analytics on all my previous sites until 2012, even on this one — in its previous iteration.

My concerns are mainly related to Google business model, I’m wary of giving them everything they want to know about me - they already know too much1 without having to know everything about my site as well (they already do most with their search crawler and the webmaster portal, but not as much).

That said, I found a service that lets you host your analytics on your own server: Piwik.

System requirements:

  • PHP min 5.3.2 [recommended 5.5]
  • MySQL min 4.1
  • Your own web server of course.

The set up is pretty easy and straightforward if you’re anyhow capable of installing something over FTP and setting up a new database - but if not, don’t despair, we’ll get through them step by step.


  1. Download the zip file from the official download page (10.6 MB) and unzip it.2

1a. If you know how to upload a file via FTP skip to 2, if not go to your CPanel on your server. Open any kind of file browser your host provides and go to step 2.

  1. Open your FTP manager - if you don’t have one Filezilla is decent and free, if you have a mac Transmit is great.

  2. Upload the unzipped folder on your root (where your index.html/php/… and the rest of your site is, not the actual root where the FTP/CPanel starts on of course)

  3. Wait for ages for it to upload :P (Upload the whole folder

  4. Surf to http://www.yoursite.whatever/piwik/ That will start the automatic installation process. Make sure to have your database information handy (or in your password manager) and start.

5a. If you don’t have a database set up just go in your CPanel and create a database giving it a random name and password.

  1. Insert the details of your database, the details of your new account to log into Piwik and you’re done.

All the data is yours, on your server, and can be easily downloaded. After doing so you should provide a privacy policy stating what data you’re collecting from the user.

Examples for a basic visit tracker: “IP, General Location are logged as aggregate for statistic purposes. No other data is collected. This data will never be used to uniquely identify or track a user, is only meant to be used as aggregate. This site may use cookies only for the purpose of tracking recurring visits.” Or something along those lines.

Notice: I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Nice to see how after a year that I started using it now everybody seems to realize that Google Analytics is evil (like they didn’t know that already) and is switching.

Unfortunately I had to switch back to Google Analytics 3/4 months ago since Piwik had really a lot of bugs and I have no plans to switch back at the moment. Someday…

  1. I still have my personal email account on Gmail. It's just impossible to give up on it since all my accounts on other services are linked to it. Although I'm rerouting all new mail I can to my custom domain mail. I think this is one the big problems we have now on the internet - not at the same level of importance as net neutrality of course. There is no way to simply switch all of my accounts to another email address (like setting up a flag - some kind of .htaccess for emails with 301 redirects in place). Nope, this is not the same as what happens now; the only thing you can do is to forward all incoming emails to another address, but that still let all the mail through the other provider - in this case, Google and they can scan them anyway. There should be something at the root.

  2. I have a simple hazel rule to unzip every file in my download folder.

Blog Logo

Valentino Urbano



Valentino Urbano

iOS Developer, Swift, Writer, Husband

Back to Overview