Tracking Methods Overview

If you use Angelfish Software v2.4+, please use the new Help Center:


Angelfish can track website visitors with JavaScript code or with existing information in your web server log files. When a profile is created, a visitor tracking method must be specified. The available tracking methods available are described below.

If you have questions about which tracking method to use, please Open A Support Ticket


AGF: Angelfish Tracking Method (JavaScript-based)

AGF is the recommended tracking method for Angelfish, as it provides the most complete set of features and report data. This tracking method requires an HTML reference to a JavaScript file (angelfish.js) on each page of your website. When a visitor comes to your website, angelfish.js assigns a unique visitor ID and makes a tracking gif request (agf.gif) for each pageview. By default, this gif request is stored in your web server's log file.

During processing, Angelfish looks for agf.gif requests in the log and uses hit data to calculate visitors / visits / pageviews / etc.  The AGF method is further explained in this article: 


UGA: Urchin / GA Tracking Method (JavaScript-based)

The UGA tracking method is able to generate reports from the tracking requests generated by Urchin or Google Analytics tracking code. One of the many ways this tracking method can be used is to "migrate" data from Urchin to Angelfish. If you have log files that contain __utm.gif requests, simply reprocess them in Angelfish!

UGA can also be used by Google Analytics customers that keep a local copy of GA tracking requests. Setup instructions are here: 


SID: Session ID Tracking Method (log-based)

Many websites automatically assign a session cookie to each visit. The cookie contains a unique value and expires when the visit ends. Here are some examples of common session cookie names:

  • ASP.NET_SessionId

When using the SID tracking method, you need to specify the name of the session ID cookie. During processing, Angelfish looks for this cookie name and uses the unique ID to differentiate between visits.

The SID method is especially useful for tracking devices that block JavaScript and/or tracking gifs. 


USR: Username Tracking Method (log-based)

If your website stores a username in a cookie or in the username log field, the USR tracking method will utilize the username to identify unique visitors. The USR tracking method is also able to track unique visitors across multiple devices - the username is the visitor ID (no tagging required).

Attention SharePoint On Premises customers: IIS web logs contain the username log field by default! We recommend using USR with SharePoint. 


IPUA: IP Address + User Agent Tracking Method (log-based)

The IPUA tracking method has been used by web analytics products since approximately the late 1990's.  It works...but it's inaccurate.

Every device that visits your site has an IP address and a user agent. During processing, Angelfish uses each unique IP address & user agent combination to calculate visits.

There are number of issues with IPUA:

  • IPUA tends to treat spiders and robots as legitimate traffic
  • IPUA is not recommended for high traffic sites
  • Common Internet devices like proxy servers and NAT devices cause accuracy issues

We recommend using the "Ignore Inflated Visits" feature when IPUA is used. (it's enabled by default, max pageviews=100) 


IP: IP Address Tracking Method (log-based)

The IP tracking method is ideal for logs that use the CLF format, e.g. the Google Search Appliance log file. During processing, Angelfish assigns a visit to each unique IP address.

IP has the same issues as IPUA, and should only be used when no other options are available.

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