Privacy-conscious web analytics

Now that my blog's back up, I'm looking into web analytics solutions before I add more posts and share them on social media. Privacy is important to me (a subject for another post in which I rant about the evils of Alexa), and the old standard, Google Analytics, is a privacy nightmare.

Luckily, there are a crop of new, privacy-conscious services out there. You have to pay for them, but that's the point -- free services are free because you're paying with your own privacy and the privacy of your visitors.

  • Fathom has been the darling of this space, getting a good amount of press. Their pricing is friendly if you run a number of sites, and it's fair. Unfortunately, the starting point is too high at $14/mo — it doesn't allow for low-traffic sites like mine to get started. However! They've got a self-hosted lite version that I might try. However, their comparison table in their OSS repo shows that the lite version uses cookies, so that's not great. Looking for a cookie-free solution.
  • Plausible has a more friendly starting price point of $5-6/mo. Their 100k pageviews tier is $12/mo, on part with the others here. It's lightweight, open-source, and I like their philosophy.
  • Matomo is open source and has been around since 2007. However, it's overkill for my needs. And it's made for larger sites — the hosted version starts at $29/mo.
  • Simple Analytics is $9-19/mo (annual vs yearly) and is fully-hosted. They, true to their name, have a set of core analytics and nothing else. I like their clear and transparent list of what they do and don't collect. They aren't open source, but they do open-source their scripts to let you inspect and verify that they're not doing shady client-side JS injection.
  • Insights is developer-oriented. They're in the same ballpark price-wise as the others on the list, but they have a free tier for <3k monthly pageviews, which is a much nicer onramp for small sites like mine. I'm not psyched that they're using Google's Firebase, though.

What I'm going to use

I'm starting with Plausible. Their approach to analytics is simple and they have a nicer starting price point. And their approach to business resonates deeply with me:

We're completely independent, self-funded, bootstrapped and debt-free. We're not interested in raising funds or taking investment. We choose the subscription business model rather than surveillance capitalism. We're operating a sustainable project funded solely by the fees that our subscribers pay us. And we donate 5% of our revenue.

Credit where credit is due: