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Google Chrome artificially bumps up page hits.

As we've been shoring up our traffic module to show up referrer data and provide more analysis tools, we started to notice that Google Chrome artificially bumps up page hits and page visits - and there's little we can do. Actually, we have a fix - and it's complicated.

By how much does it bump up? Quite a bit actually. We were monitoring our live traffic on lvsys.com to confirm the behavior of our new referral stat system and we could not figure out why chrome would generate six to seven hits each time we started to type our website in the address bar and pulled up the website.

Quickly, we opened up Opera, Firefox, Internet Explorer and others to see if similar behavior was happening. Nope. Not one single difference: when we went to our home page, we were getting just one hit - as you would expect.

Then, we got worried. We shook the google tree and found out that others show the same issue.

http://www.viryatechnologies.com/Virya-Blogs/Entry/website-design/2011/06/18/google-chrome-to-artifically-increase-hit-counts-how-will-it-affect-your-business

So... yes, our stats can be questionable, but they actually reflect the true load on our webserver... Google Chrome does generate a real bump in traffic. 

There are several issues created:

  1. On initial website load, the browser creates 5 to 7 additional queries to the website that cannot be differentiated from normal traffic.
     
  2. Fake bump in unique visitors. In addition, Google chrome opens up 3 to 4 different sessions, meaning our one page visit turns into 4 visits.
     
  3. Can't smell, can't see, can't touch. Google Chrome does not change its header or its signature to help us identify these extra connections and flag them as robots. (We're working hard at it)
     
  4. These connections actually cost us bandwidth and DO reflect actual traffic - so we have to record it.

Stay tuned, we'll solve this.

-- Your dedicated LVSYS team.

Edit on 2011/12/7: Read our follow up article

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