An Internet traffic monitor is a general term referring to a device or software program created to monitor how the Internet is used. It is generally a tool used by information technology (IT) professionals or online content providers. Types of internet traffic monitors include monitors employed to measure the bandwidth used on a site, to track the pathways of web traffic, or to track attacks on a site or server that come from the web. Usually, an Internet traffic monitor is used to gather information that helps a company plan and design its presence on the Internet.
Generally, Internet traffic is the name for the overall actions of the collective users of the Internet. Traffic monitor tools can be used to track traffic to a specific site or to the Internet in general. With an Internet traffic monitor that reports general traffic information about the web, a user can determine where in the world Internet traffic is high or slow and what parts of the world are experiencing a high number of Internet attacks from hackers.
Information gathered by Internet traffic monitor tools when observing traffic movements on a specific website can include identifying information like the location, Internet service provider (ISP), and surfing pathways of each user. This can help a webmaster determine the demographics of the site's users. Information collected by an Internet traffic monitor can help webmasters identify problems on a website and focus the content on the site to better attract and satisfy the needs of web users. For example, if a webmaster notices that an Internet traffic monitor reports that users always exit without spending time on a particular page, he can make changes to the content on a webpage to it better retains the web traffic that surfs to it.
Internet traffic monitor tools can often tell a webmaster where a web surfer came from when they accessed the monitored site and where they went when they left the site. Web users who do not wish to have their identifying information appear on Internet traffic monitor reports can block the monitor from recording their information using proxy servers. A proxy server is essential for any user who wishes to remain anonymous when surfing websites.
Proxy servers are web servers that intercept information requests sent by a monitor and protect the web user's computer information. The intercepting proxy server may supply no information to the monitor, or it might supply the proxy server information rather than the user's computer information. Though high-end proxy servers can offer a high degree of anonymity from monitors when surfing, they cannot always offer complete anonymity if a website makes significant efforts to acquire the information about the user behind the proxy.