Completed Downloaded PDFs: can bandwidth determine the successful downloads?

Can I use bandwidth to figure out how many PDFs were downloaded from my website? If so, how would I do that?

Does the bandwidth include incomplete downloads?

Right now, we subtract the "Incomplete Requests" from "Hits" to get this number. However, we want to be more exact and confident. Is there any way at all to find out how many PDFs were successfully downloaded? Should we use "Visitors" instead?

I read that there wasn't a way to find out the number of successfully downloaded PDFs, but since the question was from a few years back, I am hoping there might be a way to do this now.

Thank you for your help,

Gina
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  • Unfortunately number of hits or incomplete requests cannot be used to estimate number of downloads, as Adobe Reader usually makes multiple requests to server to show a single PDF file. Bandwidth can neither be used to estimate number of downloads.

    In most cases number of visitors should be used to estimate number of PDF downloads/views. Actually it won't help to estimate number of incomplete downloads, but in most cases incomplete downloads (e.g. if determined by traffic) appear just because visitors view only part of PDF files and PDF reader also gets only part of the file from server, while no error occurs.
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  • Thank you for your help. I had read previously that some folks use "Hits" - "Incomplete Requests". Is the "Visitors" more accurate?

    Also, does the visitor number include multiple PDF downloads? So, if PDFa was downloaded twice by peopleA, then there would be a 2 in the "Visitor" column? Or, does it only count each specific download as 1 per actual file?

    Thank you again. Your help is very much appreciated.

    Gina
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  • The "Hits" - "Incomplete Requests" metric doesn't make much sense as there may be multiple incomplete requests without any "complete" hits while the whole file will be still downloaded. And in fact it is difficult to determine what are "complete" downloads for a PDF file. A visitor may successfully view a part of a PDF file and the Adobe Reader could download just this part. So only part of the PDF file is downloaded in this case, while no error occurred and the visitor successfully viewed the part of the PDF he/she needed. So in most cases using the "Visitors" metric is recommended.

    If the same visitor downloaded a PDF file multiple times, it will be counted as one visitor. However, please note that there is a timeout (30 minutes by default) used to determine visitors. The program determines visitors by the IP addresses. If a request from an IP address came after some time (timeout) since the last request from this IP, it is considered to belong to a different visitor. So if the same person downloaded the same file again after few hours, it may be actually counted as another visitor.
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