What are hits and why are they different to visitors, page views or visits?

Narrative IndustriesGlossary of Web Terms

A single webpage will usually have multiple files in it – a logo, various images, javascript libraries, CSS files for layout, etc. Your browser sends seperate requests for each one of those files and the web server logs each separate request for a file as a “hit”.

A very basic, single web page with ten images, for example, will require at least 11 hits – one “hit” for the html file plus another hit for every image in the page. A more complex, modern page will be a lot more because f the various CSS (styling) and javascript files.

One page view can easily rack-up a lot of “hits” ths way. This page, for example, generates approximately 30 “hits” on our server every time someone views it.

Hits are a very useful statistic to understand the load on your web server, and to help you optimise pages for performance and load times, but they are completely irrelevant to the popularity of a page/website.

It’s surprisingly common for people to unintentionally use the word “hits” when describing the popularity of a website or page, when they should be using “page views” or “visits” instead. Sometimes this is a genuine mistake, but it is worth checking they are looking at the right data to get to their information.