Tracking the website traffic that a website generates can help a site developer decide how successful their marketing efforts are. Big content websites often hire third party companies to track their website traffic whereas smaller websites can use standard webtools such as Google Analytics or AWStats to get their desired results.
How AwStats and Google Analytics Operate
Though both programs display website statistics, the overall operations of each are different in the terms of operation.
AWStats is a program that is hosted on your server and would require the user to access the server's web based control panel to access the desired data. The web server would generated and store a log for every visit to each site hosted on the server. AWStats would process the log files to create its reports, hence why AWStats is often referred to as a log file analyzer.
Google Analytics Operations
Why Do the Results Differ?
When comparing the figures of AWstats and Google Analytics to one another, notice that the figures for AWstats are usually much larger. The reason for the higher numbers is that AWstats detects search engine bots that access or crawl websites to learn more about content, link structure etc., whereas Google Analytics cannot detect this type of traffic.
These days, crawl stats are far less important than back in the day, and information on how search engine bots see your website is readily available from major search engines, once you sign up to look into these services. Examples of these services are Google's Webmaster tools and Yahoo!'s Site Explorer.