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This term refers to the number of files that are downloaded from a web server and is most often used to refer to the amount of traffic a website receives.
Using hits to measure traffic to a website that can be misleading, however, as the number of hits a site receives is usually much greater than the number of actual visitors. That’s because a web page can contain more than one file. For example, each graphic element is a separate file, so a page with nine graphics would count as ten hits, one for each graphic and one for the HTML file. In this scenario, a page may have 10,000 hits, but only 1,000 visits.
Because of this, many tools for tracking traffic rely on page views or site visits to more accurately calculate the traffic a site is receiving. However, the term “hits” is often used incorrectly to refer to these more accurate measurements.
Frequently Asked Questions
If hits aren’t very accurate, why measure them?
While not particularly useful in calculating your site’s popularity, it can be a valuable measurement to use when determining your server requirements. For instance, if you are hosting primarily large files, such as images or videos, and your daily hits are steadily increasing, you will need to monitor your bandwidth to ensure you don’t exceed your server’s maximum capacity, or you may need to upgrade your plan to avoid over costs or, worse, page outage.
Should I measure hits?
For low or medium traffic sites, it’s probably not important to measure your hits. Likewise, if you are using an unlimited hosting plan, you don’t have to worry about your bandwidth…at least, not unless your site starts using up a highly excessive amount, but your web host will contact you before that happens. If you run a high-traffic site, it can be a good measurement of resource requirements, but for most purposes, and particularly for advertising, more accurate statistics such as your page views will be more useful.
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