Web Page Hit Counter
Web Page Hit Counter
If you had a web page hit counter with another provider, it was probably a .gif image
loaded seperately from the page. These are generally implemented with a cgi-bin program
that returns a graphic. It graphic is ugly and looks out of place on your page. Worse, it
doesn't work for folks who don't load the images or have text-only browsers and it ties up
expensive processing resources on the server.
We have a better way. We added a server side include
"counter" function, built in to the server. Now you can have a page hit counter
with none of the traditional problems. In fact, its so efficient that we can afford to
offer it to all of our web customers.
How to set it up
First, turn your HTML document into a SHTML document.
The first thing you have to do is adjust the filename extension of your web page so
that the server recognizes it as containing server-side includes. Just change the
extension to .shtml. So, for instance, if your web page was named "index.html"
or "index.htm", your new web page should be named "index.shtml".
Next, create a file to hold the value of the counter.
The first thing you have to do is create a file to hold the value of the counter. This
is an ASCII text file which contains one line on which the the counter value is stored.
This file must always have the extension ".cnt". The file can begin
with any name, but we recommend that you use the same base name as the .shtml file you
intend to use it in. So, if your web page was named, "index.shtml,"
then name the counter file, "index.cnt". Put this file on the
server, with one line containing the number you want the counter to start at.
When you put the counter file on the server, it must have special "access
permissions." It must be set read/write by user, group, and other so that the HTTP
server can read and update it. You can use the chmod command to do this from your FTP
program or from the Unix shell prompt.
On the @NAME@ web server, you should use the countifier
program instead. This will convert all .cnt files in your directory into counter
Finally, add the counter to your SHTML document.
Add the counter directive in your web page where you want the counter to appear. This
directive looks like a HTML comment. In its simplest form, its "<!--#counter
file="filename" -->". Filename should be the base name of the
counter file, without the ".cnt" extension. So, if your counter file is named
"counter.cnt", the counter directive you would use is "<!--#counter
file="counter" -->". There you go, you now have a counter in your
page. Open your web browser and try it out!
You can do quite a bit more with the counter than just add one to it for each hit. You
can keep track of page hits silently, adjust the appearance of the counter, and even do
things like rotating your home page through several backgrounds. Here is the list of
options you can give the counter directive:
<!--#counter silent="no" width="0"
nocommas="no" min="0" max="2147000000"
rollover="no" increment="1" ith="no" gfx="#"
file="counter" include="file%i.html" debug="" -->
- silent: Whether or not to show the value of
the counter to the person accessing the page. yes - Don't show the counter to the
page's accesser. no - Show the counter to the page's accesser (default).
- width: The minimum width of the displayed
counter (padded with 0's if necessary).
- nocommas: Whether or not to insert commas into
the number for readability. yes - Don't insert commas. no - insert
commas (default). If width is not 0 then no commas are inserted regardless of the setting
- max: The maximum number to count to. When the
counter reaches this number, its behavior is controlled by rollover. By default the number
is near two billion.
- min: The minimum number to count down to. When
the counter reaches this number, its behavior is controlled by rollover. By default the
number is zero.
- rollover: When you hit the maximum or minimum
allowed number, what do you do? yes - Flip to the other endpoint. I.e. if at max,
change to min. If at min, change to max. no - Stop counting. Do not add or
subtract any further from the counter.
- increment: The number to add to the counter.
Default: 1. You may also use the keyword "random" which means that the next
value of the counter should be a random number between min and max.
- ith: Whether or not to append st, nd, rd, or
th as appropriate to the end of the counter (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd,
4th, and so on.) yes - Add the extension. no - Don't add the
- gfx: Use graphics (i.e. GIF files) to display
the counter number instead of using a text counter. Put the html markup to include the
graphics where "#" is the digit to replace. For example, if your counter were at
1,234 and you used the following line: <!--#counter ith="yes"
gfx="<IMG SRC=\"gifs/#.gif\">" file="counter" -->
then it would be replaced by the html markup: <IMG
- file: The name of the file (minus the .cnt
extension) to store the counter in. (For example, if your filename is "home.cnt"
then you should use file="home".) Warning: the "file"
directive must come after everything except include and debug.
- include: The "base" filename (where
%i is the counter) of a file to include in to the document based on the value of the
counter. (For example, if you want to include pageX.html where X is the value of the
counter, use include="page%i.html".)
- debug, if it exists, means print out the
internal variables at the point in the command to assist in figuring out why the counter
isn't working. This is provided for expert users... If you don't understand what its
saying, don't use it.
Oh yeah. By the way, you are the person to read this page.
Basic hit counter
Add this to your web document:
Welcome, you are the <strong><!--#counter ith="yes"
file="counter" --></strong> person to access this web page.
And create the counter.cnt file. It looks like:
Welcome, you are the 1,234,567th person to access this web
- Added yes/no and 1/0 as valid in addition to true/false
- Added "gfx" option.
- Upgraded to function with Apache 1.1.1
- Added "random" setting to increment option
- Added "yes/no" options for all tags. Previously the existance of the tag with
nothing in the quotes meant do the opposite of the default. This action is preserved for
- Upgraded to function with NCSA httpd 1.5.1
- Added "ith" option.
- Upgraded to function with NCSA httpd 1.5a
- Upgraded to function with Apache 1.3
- Upgraded to function with Apache 1.3.26