Webalizer on Debian 5 (Lenny)

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Webalizer is an industry standard statistics generation tool. It is useful to analyze traffic to your web server while still remaining lightweight enough not to hinder performance. Webalizer can even identify your user base using GeoIP services.

We assume you’ve followed the steps outlined in our Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance. All configuration will be performed in a terminal session; make sure you’re logged into your Linode as root via SSH. We’ll also be installing the Apache 2 web server with very minimal configuration. If you already have Apache installed and configured, feel free to skip these steps. If this is your first time installing Apache on this Linode, make sure to read the installation guide for additional guidance.

Set the Hostname

Before you begin installing and configuring the components described in this guide, please make sure you’ve followed our instructions for setting your hostname. Issue the following commands to make sure it is set properly:

hostname -f

The first command should show your short hostname, and the second should show your fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

Install Software

Make sure your package repositories and installed programs are up to date by issuing the following commands:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade --show-upgraded

Install Apache and Webalizer

Install Apache by running the following command:

apt-get install apache2

As mentioned earlier, you will need to go to the installation guide if you wish to configure your server beyond the default configuration.

Install Webalizer

At this point we’re able to install the required packages for Webalizer. Run the following command:

apt-get install webalizer

Disabling Unused Apache Sites

By default, Webalizer will create configuration files for the Apache 2 default site. Since many users will be utilizing virtual hosts, further configuration is needed for Webalizer to generate usage statistics for multiple virtual hosts. To do this, you must disable the default Apache virtual hosts. Issue the following commands:

a2dissite default
a2dissite default-ssl
/etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Configuring Webalizer for Virtual Hosts

This section assumes that you’ve already configured at least one virtual host. If you do not have virtual hosting configured, please refer to the guide for installing Apache to further clarify this process and create at least one virtual host. Then, webalizer can generate distinct statistic sets for multiple virtual hosts, using the webalizer command line with arguments to process statistics for different virtual host log files. The syntax resembles the following:

webalizer -n hostname -o /path/to/webalizer/output /path/to/logfile.log

To process multiple virtual hosts, you can create a shell script. In this case, there are three virtual hosts. Be sure to substitute the correct hostname and paths for your particular virtual host configuration.

File: /opt/webalizerScript.sh
webalizer -n tunahoagie -o /srv/www/example.com/public_html/webalizer /srv/www/example.com/logs/access.log
webalizer -n tofuhoagie -o /srv/www/example.org/public_html/webalizer /srv/www/example.org/logs/access.log
webalizer -n fuzzyshambler -o /srv/www/fuzzyshambler.com/public_html/webalizer /srv/www/fuzzyshambler.com/logs/access.log

Make the script executable:

chmod +x /opt/webalizerScript.sh

Once you are sure webalizer executes properly you can append >/dev/null 2>&1 to each command to prevent webalizer from generating interactive output.

Finalizing Webalizer Configuration

Now that we have created the configuration files, we must create the Webalizer directories in each virtual host’s document root. To do this, issue the following commands. Be sure to substitute the correct paths for your particular virtual host configuration:

mkdir -p /srv/www/example.com/public_html/webalizer
mkdir -p /srv/www/example.org/public_html/webalizer
mkdir -p /srv/www/fuzzyshambler.com/public_html/webalizer

Securing Webalizer Output Directories

Once the webalizer script has been tested, we recommend that you place some sort of security on the Webalizer output directories to prevent unauthorized access. Consider using rule based authentication or authentication based access control to limit access to these files.

Testing the Webalizer Script

Now that you have created a Webalizer script, you must make sure it actually works. First, you must give Webalizer an Apache log file to parse. One way to do this is to visit your site and refresh the page a few times. You can also accomplish this via the command line with the following sequence of commands:

wget www.example.com
wget www.example.org
wget www.fuzzyshambler.com

Then, issue the following command:


Check your Webalizer directory in each virtual host’s document root by pointing your browser to your website(s). In this case, it would be http://www.example.com/webalizer. Enter your password and take a look at the statistics. Repeat this for each virtual host to verify that your usage statistics were generated for each one.

Creating a Webalizer Cron Job

Many administrators generate their Webalizer statistics automatically every day. You can generate statistics daily using a cron job that runs the webalizerScript.sh script created above. Create a symbolic link from the /etc/cron.daily/ directory to the /opt/webalizerScript.sh file. Issue the following commands:

rm /etc/cron.daily/webalizer
cd /etc/cron.daily
ln -s /opt/webalizerScript.sh

Congratulations, you have successfully installed Webalizer! You can leave future usage statistics generation to cron!

Other Considerations

Even with a low traffic site, Apache logs can become large. If your logs are routinely large, processing those logs can be time-consuming. You should look into log rotation to prevent potential performance issues.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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