There are a number of different ways to monitor website traffic hits, and the one you choose will typically depend on the exact information you are interested in. The simplest way to monitor hits is to install a script on a webpage that will count each time the page is loaded. This is a very basic way of monitoring website traffic hits, and you will not be able to extract any other useful data. You can also install a traffic monitoring suite on your server, or take advantage of an existing one offered by your web host. Many different web analytic companies can also provide you with tools to monitor website traffic hits in addition to a variety of other useful information and statistics.
Website traffic, when measured in hits, simply refers to the number of times a page or other file is requested and delivered. Each request counts as a hit, though not necessarily as a unique visitor. One visitor may request only one page and then leave the site, or he might stay and view a number of different pages, images and other types of files. The different methods of monitoring website traffic hits can each provide a different level of information about the behavior of individual visitors. Your method of choice may depend on how much information you want and why you need it.
There are a few relatively primitive methods of monitoring website traffic, such as examining the server logs or installing a web counter script. Server logs are raw data that show each time any file was requested or delivered, in addition to various errors that can occur. Looking at the server logs, or using a program to examine them, can provide you with an accurate picture of your website traffic hits for both webpages and other files. A web counter will show you the number of hits that a single page has accumulated. These methods will often suffice if your interest in website traffic hits is based purely on curiosity.
More advanced methods of monitoring website traffic often involve the installation of software onto your web host, though most hosts have some type of traffic suite available. These suites will typically provide you with information such as how many unique visitors your site has each day, week and month, the pages they visited and even the search terms they used to find the site. Other services require no software installation, since they can monitor traffic through methods such as packet sniffing. Analytics vendors also provide much of this same information, though they can also offer more in-depth insight into the behavior of your visitors. This can be helpful if you need to monetize your site in any way.