Privacy-oriented alternatives to Google Analytics

Google Analytics is perhaps the analytics platform of our time. But should it be? It’s many features and the free plan is what made it popular, but its invasion of user privacy should not be overlooked. Here are some good alternatives for 2020.

First, I want to mention privacy-oriented self-hosted solutions. Their Open Source nature provides you an option to host them yourself instead of sending the data to someone else. Second, we look at some of the viable closed-source alternatives.

Open Source

Plausible

I learned about Plausible just recently, but they deserve to be on top of this list for me. Their platform is completely Open Source on GitHub under the MIT license. I personally also like that it’s written in Elixir.

As they say themselves:

Google Analytics collects a lot of personal data and it is a potential liability for your site. Many website owners fail to do this, but you should and must disclose to your visitors your use of Google Analytics to track them.

Plausible gets you cover if you need to comply with GDPR, CCPA, and PECR.

Their cheapest plan starts at $6 a month and for $12 a month you get 100k pageviews across unlimited sites. They also publish a roadmap to keep you up-to-date with what’s coming.

If I needed a JavaScript-based analytics today, Plausible would be my first choice.

GoatCounter

GoatCounter is another great option for privacy-oriented analytics not tracking users personal data. As Plausible is fully Open Source licensed under EUPL. The platform is written in Go.

A nice touch is a free plan with 100k pageviews/month for non-commercial use. A commercial plan with unlimited sites, custom domain, and 500k pageviews limit sets you back by $15.

Open Web Analytics

Open Web Analytics is an Open Source PHP-based web analytics software licensed under GPL. OWA has one strong advantage that puts it ahead of the others. Apart from implementing simple analytics, it does give you heatmaps as well.

On the other hand, the author does not offer a hosted variant, so you are on your own. If you are serving your static sites from platforms such as GitHub Pages, you probably won’t be setting up a separate server just to run OWA.

Offen

Offen brands themselves as “fair web analytics” and unlike the rest of the services on this list users themselves are in complete control of their data with their “opt-in only data collection”.

With Offen your users can see all the data that you have about them. All user data is also only stored for 6 months and then automatically deleted. This design probably led to no option for exporting any of this data.

Offen is only available as self-hosted with code on GitHub. Written in Go.

Matomo

Matomo, known to many as Piwik (original project name), is probably the closest self-hosted Google Analytics alternative. Unlike the alternatives mentioned above Matomo comes packed with features like heatmaps, session recordings, A/B testing, visitor profiles, and more. If you cannot live without these advanced features, Matomo is a good choice.

Matomo is a PHP-based analytics platform with a hosted cloud offering starting at €19 a month for 50k pageviews and 3 websites. Some advanced features such as search engine keywords performance are available for self-hosted variant at additional cost. WordPress integration will be plus for many.

Kindmetrics

Kindmetrics is another new addition on the self-hosted analytics list, currenctly in beta and bit off radar. Interestingly enough written in Crystal language on the backend and with Stimulus.js framework on the front-end.

Kindmetrics is free during beta but will later offer a 14-day free trial and plans starting at €6 a month for 50k pageviews.

Hosted

Fathom Analytics

Fathom started as an Open Source project and the original v1 version is still available on GitHub as Fathom Lite. The main issue of the Fathom lite is the use of cookies which requires a user consent under GDPR Fathom Lite is actually GDPR compliant. This most likely leaves you to look into hosted Fathom v2.

With starting price of $14 a month you not only get web analytics for 100k pageviews but also recently added uptime monitoring with SMS, email, Telegram and Slack notifications. All plans include unlimited websites.

Another specialty of Fathom is a very generous affiliate program. You’ll get a 25% lifetime commission of all payments of the customers you bring. This very blog is currently using Fathom. And no, no affiliate links were inserted in the links above :).

Simple Analytics

Simple Analytics was my original second contender for the analytics of this blog. The $19 a month starting plan with 100k pageviews is on the more expensive side, but their yearly deal gets you a better price than Fathom at just $9 a month.

What I also really liked about Simple Analytics is the non-aggressive “fair use” policy. They would only upgrade your plan if you overreach your monthly limit for 2 months in the row.

Metrical

Metrical is a new kid in the space of simple privacy-oriented analytics.

Metrical is currently free and in beta at the time of writing:

We are currently in Beta testing, and you can register for free and have up to 2 websites and 50.000 visits every month. If you want more, you can upgrade to 7$/Month or 50$/Year.

Their paid plan will give you 50k pageviews for $7 a month which is an awesome deal for people starting up and trying to get their projects up and running as 50k gets you far enough.

Any comments? Write me a DM on Twitter.