Configuring AWStats on Ubuntu Server

By | 2008/01/16

Last nite I sat down and configured AWStats on my Ubuntu 7.10 server. I had previously been using statcounter, a free stat service, but I had noticed that it was one of the causes of slowdown on my page loads. Having to access an external site and javascript wasn’t helping. I also run the server so I have full access to the server logs, why not just use those directly.

So far I am really happy with AWStats. It appears to be running properly and pulling in a lot more data than statcounter ever did. It actually is showing me that I had much more traffic than I thought. I had mentioned 5,000 the other day, which I have long since surpassed based on AWStats output.

I’d like to share the steps I took for installing and configuring AWStats on my Ubuntu Server.

Installation

Ubuntu has the AWStats package available in the repositories, which we can install with:

sudo aptitude install awstats

This will install the basic files, but there is still a bit of configuring to do, so we’ll dive into that next.

Auto Configuration

From the tutorials that I found elsewhere in my searching there is a awstats_configure.pl file that will try to configure it for you. I did not use this personally, but if you’d like to try it you can run:

sudo perl /usr/share/doc/awstats/examples/awstats_configure.pl

The rest of this tutorial will discuss manual configuration, but if anyone can offer feedback concerning the configure script I’m sure many would be interested.

Manual Configuration

I configured my system manually, which I will outline below. The only requirements here are that you have access to the apache2 logs, or that you have custom log locations for each of your virtual domains (if used). For more information on custom log locations for virtual domains see my previous post, Configuring Virtual Hosting on Ubuntu with Apache2.

The first step is creating an awstats.conf file for your domain. This can be done by moving or copying the /etc/awstats.conf, and giving it a more unique name:

sudo cp /etc/awstats/awstats.conf /etc/awstats/awstats.domain.tld.conf

I created a unique file, using the syntax awstats + domain.tld + conf for each of the domains hosted on my server. Each of these also has their own unique log file as well.

We’ll then edit our new /etc/awstats with custom values for that domain. The main points you’ll want to look for within this file:

  • LogFile=”/path/to/your/domain/access.log”
  • LogFormat=1 (this will give you more detailed stats)
  • SiteDomain=”domain.tld”
  • HostAliases=”www.domain.tld localhost 127.0.0.1″

Once you’ve made these changes you’ll want to build your initial statistics, which will be generated from the current logs on your machine. We can do this using:

sudo /usr/lib/cgi-bin/awstats.pl -config=domain.tld -update

What this will do is scan the /etc/awstats folder for anything of the pattern awstats + domain.tld + conf, reading that config to generate its output. You should see some output here, and depending on the size of your logs it’ll take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes or hours. Each time it is run after that will be minimal, as it only updates the information, but the initial generation can take some time.

Configure Apache to Display AWStats

At this point our statistics should be generated (if not, go back and double check you haven’t missed anything!), but we need a way to see them. We’ll need to configure Apache2 to show us these stats. The way I did this was by using an Include in my apache2.conf, instead of cluttering up the default config file. This is generally my preferred method.

Apache2.conf already has a line near the botton Include /etc/apache2/conf.d/, which will read anything in there as additional data. What I did was create a new file in the /etc/apache2/conf.d/ directory called awstats, and filled it with the following content:

Alias /awstatsclasses "/usr/share/awstats/lib/"
Alias /awstats-icon/ "/usr/share/awstats/icon/"
Alias /awstatscss "/usr/share/doc/awstats/examples/css"
ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
ScriptAlias /awstats/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
Options ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch

This is basically creating some access aliases, and defining the cgi-bin paths, etc. Once this is saved you should be able to restart Apache2 and we’ll should be able to access our stats. Restart Apache2 using:

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

You should now be able to access your statistics using:

http://domain.tld/awstats/awstats.pl

Assuming you didn’t get any errors during your stats generation, and Apache2 didn’t complain when you restarted the service, you should see statistics at this point.

Continually Updating Your Stats

The last thing you’ll probably want to do is update your statistics via cron. This will allow you to have your site statistics updated on a regular basis, not requiring intervention on your part. What I have done is added a line to my /etc/crontab file telling AWStats to update every ten minutes. I have seen minimal system load even when updating a dozen sites on that interval. To update every ten minutes we’ll add the following line:

*/10 * * * * root /usr/lib/cgi-bin/awstats.pl -config=domain.tld -update >/dev/null

Repeat this line, updating the domain.tld value for any site you want continually updated.

Securing Statistics

If you’d like to make your statistics private you might be interested in one of my previous posts, Limiting Access To Websites & Directories with .htaccess.

23 thoughts on “Configuring AWStats on Ubuntu Server

  1. Martijn van Beek

    About securing AWstats. I’m able to secure AW with htaccess but every site has the same username and password because I can only secure the file awstats.pl.

    my htaccess:

    AuthName “Login Required”
    AuthType Basic
    AuthUserFile
    require valid-user

    Do you have a better solution, so every website has it’s own user/pass?

    Reply
  2. avb

    Keeeping awstats or any other oss web apps on their default /awstats location is lame and stupid. Automatically you becoming a victim of scriptkiddies.
    Changing address to /statz or /aws or /awz or any other helps a lot. Keep it as a rule. Never use a default locations for any dirty shit like this coz u never know when new hole will be found.

    Reply
  3. schwuk

    Nice, clean tutorial.

    You might include using it in conjunction with logrotate.

    @avb: You’re absolutely right about changing the default the folder. Going through my own stats today made me realise how many default path attacks people have tried on my site.

    Reply
  4. gna

    Awstats can handle Include statements. I use my heavy count of awstats statistics with a so called awstats.model.conf where i leave out everything whats unique for a site, but declare every common setting.
    The unique thins come into the awstats.www.domain.tld.conf like these things:
    LogFile=
    DirData=
    HostAliases=
    SiteDomain=
    AllowAccessFromWebToFollowingAuthenticatedUsers=
    Include “thepathto/awstats.headless.conf”
    And some Extrasection conditions after the include

    Reply
  5. sms

    When I restart apache I get the following warnings:

    [warn] The Alias directive in /etc/apache2/awstats.conf at line 1 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier Alias.
    [warn] The Alias directive in /etc/apache2/awstats.conf at line 2 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier Alias.
    [warn] The Alias directive in /etc/apache2/awstats.conf at line 3 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier Alias.
    [warn] The ScriptAlias directive in /etc/apache2/awstats.conf at line 4 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier ScriptAlias.
    [warn] The ScriptAlias directive in /etc/apache2/awstats.conf at line 5 will probably never match because it overlaps an earlier ScriptAlias.

    Any ideas what’s happening?

    Reply
  6. Gegemaw

    Although this thread has not been active for a while, I will post this in hope that someone will read it and help.

    I have followed this guide in setting up awstats on an Ubuntu 8.04-server machine and have only differed my setup in the following ways(for the sake of security): please let me know which one is giving me errors (error below)
    -changes in awstats.domain.tld.conf:
    Line: 327 AllowAccessFromWebToAuthenticatedUsersOnly=1
    Line: 338 AllowAccessFromWebToFollowingAuthenticatedUsers=”myuser”
    Line: 448 DefaultFile=”index.php”

    -Also wanted to use .htaccess for security but wasn’t sure where to create the .htaccess file, so I created it in /etc/awstats assuming the webserver will be reading that directory when generating the awstats.pl page
    -created my .htpasswd file in a location outside the webroot, but chowned the file www-data:\

    -changed ScriptAlias /awstats to ScriptAlias /something_else assuming this would have the following effect http://domain.tld/something_else/awstats.pl would work instead of the defaults awstats/awstats.pl

    So the error I am getting via my browser is “Error: Access to statistics is only allowed from an authenticated session to authenticated users.”
    Setup (‘/etc/awstats/awstats.domain.tld.conf’ file, web server or permissions) may be wrong.

    so where did I mess things up? or is everything I did done wrong?

    Reply
  7. Tags and title

    Thanks for the tutorial. I used google analytics as well and i noticed that i wasn’t getting all the analytics data like awstats gives you.

    Thanks for the Tutorial.

    Does anyone know of any awstats howto guides?

    Reply
  8. Martin

    Thanks for the tutorial! Keeping the thread warm:

    I did like Gegemaw:

    Line: 327 AllowAccessFromWebToAuthenticatedUsersOnly=1
    Line: 338 AllowAccessFromWebToFollowingAuthenticatedUsers=”myuser”

    , but in addition added the following to

    /etc/apache2/conf.d/awstats

    Require user myuser
    AuthType Basic
    Authname “Welcome, sire!”
    AuthUserFile /path/to/my/.htpasswd

    That seems to work fine.

    Reply
  9. Lee

    Hi,

    After restarting Apache and browsing to http://www.domain.tld/awstats/awstats.pl I get the following on a page:
    Error: SiteDomain parameter not defined in your config/domain file. You must edit it for using this version of AWStats.

    Setup ('/etc/awstats/awstats.conf' file, web server or permissions) may be wrong.
    Check config file, permissions and AWStats documentation (in 'docs' directory).

    It appears it's reading just the awstats.conf file and not the domain specific one I've created that does have sitedomain set.

    Please help.

    Reply
  10. Brian

    Very good post, it was helpful and swayed me from using Webalizer.

    I don't believe the ScriptAlias directive for the cgi-bin directory is required because the HTML output from awstat.pl doesn't use the cgi-bin directory in any of it's links. Also, if you restrict the directory by IP address (i.e. only for internal usage or your own hosted server), you can simply put all of the Apache directives in your host's default configuration file and restrict the IP ranges that have access to the directory:

    Alias /awstatsclasses "/usr/share/awstats/lib/"
    Alias /awstats-icon/ "/usr/share/awstats/icon/"
    Alias /awstatscss "/usr/share/doc/awstats/examples/css"
    ScriptAlias /awstats/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
    <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin/>
    Options ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from 192.168.0.1/24
    </Directory>

    Or if you have multiple hosts, restricting access via. .htaccess will probably be an easier solution (as the author indicated above).

    Reply
  11. fotoflo

    Thanks for the nice easy tutorial…

    where does ubuntu keep awstats data and tools directory?

    Reply
  12. LouisinLondon

    Error in the Crontab:

    */10 * * * * root /usr/lib/cgi-bin/awstats.pl -config=domain.tld -update >/dev/null

    Should be:
    */10 * * * * /usr/lib/cgi-bin/awstats.pl -config=domain.tld -update >/dev/null

    (REMOVED root from the crontab line)

    Thanks though!

    Reply
  13. Manoj

    Hi.
    I did everything correctly, the txt file created under /var/lib/awstats. When i access the web page its showing 0(zero) records.
    when i execute /usr/lib/cgi-bin/awstats.pl -config=myserver -update its created 8000 records
    but am not able to view the statistics in web page
    Please help me on this

    Thanks
    Manoj

    Reply
  14. Manoj

    @Manoj
    Hi i found the problem. my web server not run as www-data. so i assigned 755 permission for /var/lib/awstats directory.

    Thanks
    Manoj

    Reply
  15. unixlearner

    hey can you suggest me how can i specified any perticular port in the awstats.conf file.
    for eg i want to generate stats which counts hits to a specific server port. how can i do that?

    Reply
  16. websurfer

    @ unixlearner
    Probably the only way is to have a virtual host for that port with separate log files, and run awstats on these log files

    Reply
  17. RPM

    You probably used a set up (like rpm) that did an automatic configuration and already added the Alias lines into your httpd.conf. Then if you followed documentation and added the Aliases manually you would get these duplicate lines. Examine your conf file and see if you have duplicate lines (automatic configurations typically append the lines to the end of the file. Delete the duplicated entries and errors will go away. @sms

    Reply

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