No Visitor totals for Most Downloaded Files

I am running a custom report for a website, and in the "Files" category in the menu under "Most Downloaded Files" I get N/A for a Visitors total. Do I have some settings amiss?

I changed the total number of entries in the table from the default to 100. But I don't think I have changed anything else.

I do see numbers in the Visitors column for each of the 100 entries, but there is no total.
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  • The same visitor may request multiple files, so he could be counted multiple times if the total number of visitors is calculated. That's why the program doesn't show the total number of visitors in this table.
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  • OK. How would you suggest getting the total number of downloads for files of a certain type, such as .pdf, etc?
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  • You can use the Access Statistics > File Types report. By default it doesn't show the number of visitors, but if you have the Professional or Enterprise version, you can change this report in Options > Report > Tables. You need to edit properties of this table and select the Visitors column on the Data tab.

    However, if you enable the Visitors column, it will count number of visitors that requested each file type. I.e. if a visitor downloaded two .pdf files, he will be counted once for this file type.
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  • OK, thanks. I run Enterprise, so that is very useful.

    I really like using Weblog Expert. It gives very good results, and the numbers make much more sense than my other (aging) logfile reporting software.
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  • Thank you, I'm very glad that you like our software.

    One note regarding the File Types table. If you modify it, you should also enable the "Block table updates" setting in the table properties, General tab. Otherwise the table will be overwritten with the default one if you reinstall the program or install a new version.
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  • Michael,
    After implementing the changes, I am still getting N/A as a total for the newly-added Visitors column in the modified File Types table. Any ideas?
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  • Yes, the totals won't be shown for visitors anyway. However, you can just use the number shown in the Visitors column for specific file type (e.g. .pdf) to estimate number of downloads for this file type.

    If you need to get total number of downloads for multiple file types together, not separately, it is possible to create a custom table with one row that will show the number of visitors that requested any files, please let me know if you need more information on it. However, in such case if a visitor downloaded multiple files, he will be counted only once.

    The reason why the program doesn't provide such statistics by default, is that it doesn't show information on "downloads" separately, it only shows statistics on hits, visitors, page views, bandwidth, etc. In most cases you can use the number of hits or number of visitors, depending on how you want to count downloads. However, providing totals for visitors may cause confusion, as some visitors will be counted in multiple rows and total number of visitors shown in such table may be higher than the total number of visitors on the site.

    The question is how you prefer to count downloads in your case. If you prefer to count each visitor that downloaded a file as a download (so if a visitors made 3 requests for one file and 4 requests for another one, it should be counted as 2 downloads), the only way to do it is to make the is to take the downloads table and to count totals manually (e.g. by creating a CSV report and counting it in Excel).
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  • What I would like to do is count the downloads for the following file types:

    arc, arj, bin, csv, gz, pdf, rar, sit, tar, z, zip

    I would like to count downloads from any user, multiple downloads from the same user should count as separate downloads.

    I assume that adding up the "Hits" totals in the "Most Requested File Types" table for each type would achieve this. But it would be nice to have one custom table with a total at the bottom so I can grab a single number and be done.

    Can this be done? Is that what you refer to in your previous response? A custom table sounds like a good solution. Thanks.
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  • Hits can be used to calculate number of downloads, but there is one problem with them. Some users use download manages that use multiple threads/connections to download files, so each full download may produce multiple hits (requests). Usually most of these requests are incomplete ones (they have http status code 206), but it is not possible to just count complete (status 200) requests, as in some cases there may be multiple 206 requests and no 200 request, while file may be fully downloaded.

    Incomplete requests are very common for PDF files, as Adobe Reader also uses multiple connections when it shows PDF files.

    Because of this problem, it seems that there is no reliable way to count full complete downloads from a visitor. In most cases we recommend to use the number of visitors to estimate number of downloads for specific file, as it will allow you to avoid the problem with multiple hits/incomplete requests per download. However, while it allows you to get number of downloads per file, the program currently doesn't have a way to show total number of per-visit downloads. It can only show a total number of visitors that downloaded files, but in this case it will count any visitor that downloaded any number of files just once, not depending on how many files he/she downloaded.
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  • This all makes sense. I know about the 206 issues as I have a *very* old version of Webtrends that I was using, and it counts the 206 partial downloads as being unique. As you can imagine, you get a pretty inflated count for "downloaded files". Once I figured that out, I filtered as best I could but it is still not a real number.

    Add to this the mobile apps that are downloading partial files, and you are right. It gets pretty confusing. I agree there is no exact number here, and no clear path to what I am after. But I do need a number to work with in some manner.

    Is it possible to create a custom table containing a rough idea of downloads for a given range of file types? I do not use the numbers themselves as values per se, but more an indicator of relative change over time. I think in that regard, the information is valuable.

    Maybe you can point me towards a tutorial for adding a custom table, and I can experiment a bit to see what kinds of numbers I get from various setups? Even having the stats for the scenario you describe in your last example would be helpful. Showing "a total number of visitors that downloaded files" would be helpful to me, even if they downloaded once vs. multiple times. I assume you meant this by file type?
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  • I recommend you to create a daily activity table for downloads.

    First of all you should specify all the download file extensions you need in Options > Analysis > Files. This setting will be used in all tables that show statistics on files.

    After it you can create a new table in Options > Report > Tables:

    1. Enter table name (e.g. "Daily Downloads"), choose category (e.g. "Activity Statistics") and enter section name (or just keep it set to %TableName%).

    If you don't want failed requests and/or requests from spiders to be counted here, you should enable the "Custom analysis settings" checkbox on this page, click Customize and then enable the settings you wish.

    Then click Next.

    2. Choose "Activity by date" as main data and choose the columns and base (sort) column you wish. Click Next.

    3. Add a new filter. Choose "Include filter" as filter type and "Requested file" as filter criteria. Enter %DownloadFiles% as filter value (so it will include statistics on downloaded files only).

    4. You can also enable the chart for this table.

    After it you need to reanalyze your report to show the table. If it's not shown, you should check that the new table is enabled in Options > Report > Contents (while it should be enabled here by default) or Profile Properties > Report > Custom report contents (if you use the custom report contents).

    You can also experiment with other tables. E.g. you can choose an existing table, click the More > Copy Table menu item in Options > Report > Tables and then change some settings, e.g. filters or columns. You can also modify existing tables, but in most cases it is better to create new ones and keep the default ones unchanged.
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  • We have added an ability to show totals for visitors in most tables in version 8.3 beta 2. This feature is available in the Professional and Enterprise editions.

    To enable showing totals for visitors, you need to open Options > Report > Tables and select the table you need (e.g. Access Statistics > Most Downloaded Files). Double-click it or click the Properties button. Open the Data tab and click the Custom button to the right of the "Main data" combo. Check the "Always show totals for visitors" option here.

    You can also enable the "Block table updates" setting in the table properties, General tab, otherwise your table changes will be overwritten if you reinstall the program. Alternatively you can copy the existing table or create a new one instead of modifying the existing table.
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