I am using a program called openwebscope to track site use.
I am using a counter as well to track home page hits. Generally the counts recorded by my home page counter have been close in number to the unique hits recorded on the server web log stats. Yesterday the unique hits were out by a large number.
Can someone educate me on what the server is logging as a unique hit. Any ideas what could cause the discrepency in numbers. On the day in question there were a lot of hits shown from this computer cache-rr04.proxy.aol.com but the "rr04" portion was different. Would this indicate one person spent a lot of time coming back and forth to the site.
The only time the IP would change is if the visitor disconnected from his ISP and then reconnected thereto.
And this is only the case if the ISP dynamically assigns the user's IP upon connection to their service.
In many cases -- certain cable services, larger proxied ISP's, dedicated DSL's, many older ISP's, etc. -- a user's IP's may actually be static; or, at least, appear so in your logs since you may be seeing only the proxy.
This has rather interesting implications for pay-per-impression ad revenues, by the way; where you may have hundreds or thousands of visitors behind the same proxy.
Unique hits are usually defined as a unique IP per X period of time (usually 24 hours). So, if I visit yoru home page and hit reload 12 times, it's still 1 unique hit. But the server will log each hit as an new hit. Advertisers and advertising companies are more interested in the unique hits rather than all hits.