Leaving behind Google Analytics for open-source Plausible

Because Birds values data privacy and less-invasive website tracking practices. For years, this website has used Google Analytics to measure and understand website behavior and activity.

Plausible analytics dashboard example

Because Birds values data privacy and less-invasive website tracking practices. For years, this website has used Google Analytics to measure and understand website behavior and activity. Google Analytics is the standard across most of the web with more than 80% of the market share for analytics tracking.

Google collects too much data

Google collects a massive amount of data about users as they browse sites with Google Analytics and for smaller sites, this level and depth of data is, frankly, overkill. While it’s fun to look at and parse, it comes at the cost of user privacy and respect.

While working on a lot of site performance optimization lately, I made the decision to completely scrub the website of any Google scripts, including Analytics and Tag Manager. This helped speed up my site in combination with removing unnecessary javascript, style sheets, and serving up images in the webp format.

Plausible is open source

Plausible analytics logo icon

Plausible Analytics is open-sourced and a simple paid product unless you choose to host it own your dedicated server. The users are the customers not the product. After testing the 30-day trial of the cloud-hosted paid version, I made the decision to try hosting Plausible on my own server to reduce ongoing costs.

Because Birds was migrated last year from shared hosting with BlueHost to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) with Digital Ocean (called a droplet). The droplet VPS currently costs $5 a month and offers a lot of flexibility and better performance than shared hosting. I saw massive performance gains after migrating the website. This comes at the cost of managing the server and updates myself, which took some learning, but has resulted in minimal ongoing maintenance.

My Plausible instance lives on a Digital Ocean ’droplet’

After my great experience with the Digital Ocean VPS, I decided to spin up a new server to host the Plausible Analytics instance.

I followed a handful of different guides to set up Plausible on a Digital Ocean droplet. These are the guides I found useful:

In this process I set up a new subdomain for Plausible to live in, and integrated it with my WordPress website.

Plausible analytics login screen

To accomplish the installation, I used PuTTY to SSH and send commands to the new server and the console within my Digital Ocean account when I ran into roadblocks.

If you are interested in trying a droplet for your website or analytics server, you can use this link to get $100 in free Digital Ocean credits.