I’m running the current version of WPP and WP on our themed site and this wonderful plugin/widget I now have to report, isn’t working as it should.
I have the settings set to 24 hours and no matter how I look at the analytics (via Google or WP/Jetpack) what the widget reports isn’t at all matched by what the analytics show.
I have, for example, two posts on slashcomment.com that are special features and they are always first and second in the popular list. However, neither of them has gotten even a single read the last few days and yet they’re still first and second on this list.
We also review movies and each Friday we put up new reviews and those reviews are always the hottest reads on the site. However, they don’t show up for days in the widget.
What am I doing wrong? This used to work well.
Ditto. I’m having the same experience. WPP is no where close to accurate (as compared to Google Analytics). This has been going on for awhile in my case.
The sad part is, I can’t find a replacement that does what this plugin does so we’re really stuck.
To the OP: please, when creating a topic make sure you use a descriptive title related to the issue / idea / suggestion in discussion. That way, future users (and myself) can find the information easily.
About Google Analytics and WordPress Popular Posts:
The way the GA works is a lot different to what WPP does. Google Analytics, for example, won’t increase the page views count of a given page if the viewer is a recurrent visitor (eg. someone who refreshed the page / came back to the page shortly after leaving it). WPP, on the other hand, counts every page view no matter if the visitor is recurrent or not. I don’t know if GA detects and counts visits from bots / spiders (probably not), but WPP does (which probably shouldn’t, IMO). These are the kind of things that creates differences between GA statistics and the ones calculated by this plugin.
I did think about adding visitor detection to the plugin, use sessions / cookies to know whether someone has already viewed a page before incrementing its pageviews count (and more stuff) – but then again I’d be just replicating what GA does already. If you need a more accurate, detailed statistics about your visitors use GA because is a much more evolved tracking system.
I haven’t completely discarded the idea of improving visitor detection though, but if it happens it won’t be anytime soon.
Thanks so much for the response Hector. It doesn’t explain the problem though.
For example, I have a page on my site that GA is showing with 20 unique pageviews for today. WPP shows only 2 views in the last 24 hours. Based on your explanation WPP should be showing at least 20, if not more for that page.
I have another page that GA is showing with 1 pageview over the last two days, while WPP shows 35 views in the last 24 hours.
I am running W3 Total Cache. Wondering if that could be contributing to the problem.
W3 Total Cache here too.
Also, similar examples as above. As noted, it’s now been three days since anyone had clicked on one of the items in WPP as verified by Jetpack and GA and yet, there it is, still number 1 ahead of many items including stories with many visitors.
Possibly, yes. I haven’t tested caching plugins thoroughly enough, only to make sure WPP actually works (eg. the popular posts list is not being cached by the plugin and the results displayed are current), so there’s the possibility that something may be messing up with it.
When developing the plugin, I work on a very vanilla WordPress setup: no other plugins active (except for WP-PostRatings, which WPP supports to display posts ratings), the latest default theme and that’s about it. That way, I can make sure that the plugin is as stable as possible and that’s up-to-date with WordPress changes. If WPP works with “stock” WordPress, then it’ll likely work flawlessly under most circumstances. This is basically the reason why I put this on the FAQ:
I need help with your plugin! What should I do?
… If you’re having problems with WPP, my first suggestion would be try disabling all other plugins and then re-enable each one to make sure there are no conflicts. Also, try switching to a different theme and see if the issue persists…
You might want to try disabling W3TC (and maybe clear it’s built-in cache, too) for a couple of days and monitor the stats. Of course, please keep in mind that you’ll still find differences between GA and WPP because of the reasons mentioned above.
Thanks for the dialogue Hector. Will run some tests and see what I can find out. I love this plugin (thanks!) and often recommend it to folks, so it would be great to get it sorted out.
Hector, it’s now been three weeks with W3TC off and still no change. Our site is very new so the following was very easy to see as an issue:
New Mexico Expedition: Part 2 0 comments | 787.00 views per day
China: Part 1 0 comments | 787.00 views per day
Dragon’s Crown 0 comments | 31.00 views per day
Identity Thief 0 comments | 18.00 views per day
When The Key Doesn’t Fit 0 comments | 14.00 views per day
About 0 comments | 10.00 views per day
Contact 0 comments | 8.00 views per day
Search 0 comments | 6.00 views per day
Rectify 0 comments | 5.00 views per day
Rogue Legacy 0 comments | 5.00 views per day
Notice the oddity? The first two items are showing 787 views a day when the site is only getting about 100 views a day right now. These two items are in a category as a Special Feature and are part of our theme’s special widget to display Featured Posts. However, nothing about that should be creating a situation where you believe those posts are getting 787 views. Google shows no such reality. Jetpack Site Stats shows no such reality. Only your widget is seeing that.
We had to turn off the widget over this for now as I suspect anything that goes into that widget will suddenly skyrocket to the top of the list.
Is there any way you can help us to overcome this so that we can go back to using this very useful widget?
I should also point out that both of those errant posts ALWAYS match for as long as both are featured in the aforementioned sidebar. They just jumped to 790 views when someone visited the site. I suspect that somehow you’re seeing these are being visited simply due to the front page being loaded (even those it’s not being seen 790 times a day).
Alright, can you do something for me? Please downgrade to version 2.3.2 and let me know if the problem persists. I have an idea of what it might be the cause, but need to know for sure.
I’d also like to inspect your
wp_popularpostsdatacachetables to see if there are that many views count or not. Is there any way I can gain acces to this info?
Actually, please disregard my last comment. It seems the problem is actually related to this bug, which basically duplicates the views count of some posts under some conditions I still don’t fully understand. I’m pretty sure this is the very reason why you’re seeing such high views count only on some posts.
Good news is that I managed to fix it locally. Bad news is I can’t push a new update at least for the next 8-10 hours until I get home.
I’m an old QA professional (I owned a major third-party quality assurance company) so I’ll work with you in any way that would help moving forward.
I noticed that it is going up by threes but I will also say that I SUSPECT there might be yet another element at play as even 790 isn’t divisible by 3 and, on top of that, 263.3 views per day of that is still WAY more than either of the two had.
Additionally, both items are always getting the same number of daily “views” which just isn’t accurate.
Perhaps you’re already ahead of me on this and it’s related to the other bug but different. I just wanted to be clear that it’s not just a case of 3 views for each 1.
As far as a push 8-10 hours away, that’s anything but bad news. A fix days away would be fantastic so hours away is just incredible.
Thanks for listening.
The bug adds +1 view to the post viewed by the visitor, and also +1 to the closest two posts (previous and next published ones). So, imagine if two or more people view the same page (or adjacent ones) – views statistics then get messed up. “Fortunately”, this only happens for people who has disabled the Ajaxify feature in Settings > WordPress Popular Posts > Tools.
Alright, as promised I made a couple of minor changes to the plugin that should fix the weird views update issue.
On a second thought, however, I decided not to push an update yet. If you don’t mind, could you please help me test it? Please go to the main plugin file on GitHub, right-click on the Raw button to download a copy of the updated PHP file (Save link as…) and upload it to your wp-content/plugins/wordpress-popular-posts folder. After that, disable and re-enable the plugin again.
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