Google Analytics on private site?

I am building a private photo website to show pictures of the Holidays with some select individuals.

To keep these photos private, on the home page of my website I have a login screen so that only chosen people can view the photos.

I would like to hook up Google Analytics to this site to keep track of WHO visits this site, WHERE they go, and HOW LONG they stay.

Google Analytics seems like the best choice.

My question is whether I can get Google nalytics to work if everything other than the home page is behind a firewall of sorts?

I realize that if I was worried about SEO, that Google cannot crawl web pages behind a login screen/pay-wall/etc. However, my goal is not SEO, but rather to simply keep track of my visitors.

(This site will be shared with maybe 200-300 people, so that is a large enough group that it would be beneficial to track things.)

Will Google Analytics work for my needs, and if so, do I need to do anything special settings it up?

(I used Google Analytics about 5 years ago for a website that I built someone else, but that is so long in the past that I have forgotten how all of this works! Plus my needs for this project are different.)

Have you tried inserting the Google JavaScript onto the users view pages and don’t forget to also upload the validation html page.

I would hazard a guess, even put money on that if the pages are rendered then Google’s JavaScript will send the necessary information to their analytics pages.

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Before I go give my DNA sample to Google and get an account, I figured I would ask here first to see if what I need is even doable.

So you make it sound like even pages behind a login screen will still “phone home” to Google, and so I will get the tracking that I want, even if Google won’t crawl those pages and thus help with SEO - which doesn’t apply in my case?

As far as I know crawling has nothing to do with Google Analytics. The Google analytical data is gathered from rendered JavaScript results.

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So by virtue of having the Google widget on each web page - even if they are behind a login - then I can gather visitor data?

Also, do the stats appear instantly, or does it take days or weeks - like getting your website crawled - before you’d see results?

Yes the widget will transmit page information.

From memory it used to take about 24 hours before any data was available. Google has recently introduced an update which may reduce the previous delay.

Let us know your results.

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Does that mean that anyone that visits my website in the first 24 hours won’t get captured, or just that I will have to wait a day or so until I can see who visited from the moment I went live?

I have no idea, guessing and think the wait is until there is data available.

The longer delay will also delay the statistics.

Register immediately because I think they work weekends :slight_smile:

I’m asking because I am trying to wrap up this website and show it to people next week, and I’m running out of time.

If Google Analytics kicks in right away, then I’d probably create a Google account and learn how to set things up because I want to get feedback on how popular this site is, and which pages/photos are the most popular.



Google Analytics also has a real-time feature, so you’ll be able to see who’s browsing from the moment it goes live (although as John says, you’ll have to wait a short while to see more detailed info).


Google Analyitics has real time as mentioned above so you can see exactly what is happening at that point.

The other non real time reports, like page views, usually take about 2-3 hours to catch up after the event happened.

Although you won’t be able to monitor ‘who’ visited your website or what they viewed, without doing a bit more detailed work to set up user ID and tie that to your login process somehow… more on that here

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Does the user ID relate to “browser fingerprinting”?

I’m not an expert on that. Essentially google analytics is collecting a lot of data about users with the basic set up but it is all anonymised and not shared elsewhere.

In your original post you mentioned you want to see ‘WHERE they go’ - if you want to track the behaviour of an individual user you’ll need to use user ID to dop that.

If you are happy to analyse user behaviour with combined anonymised data - for example 100 people viewed page A and 60% of those then went to view page B - then a standard GA set up will do that without user ID.

If you use user ID you need to ensure your cookies/GDPR notifications etc allow the user to block that cookie if they wish. Although as this sounds like a site for 300 friends then that may not be an issue.

Hope that helps


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For my photo site I don’t need that level of detail. But for another business website that I am working on, I will need that.

Since my other site requires accounts, I guess I can track the behavior of individuals, huh? For example, Matt landed on the home page, then went to the catalog, then went to men’s shirts, and so on, right?

And, I guess I will need to read up on GDPR and the California Privacy Act too!


Since my other site requires accounts, I guess I can track the behavior of individuals, huh? For example, Matt landed on the home page, then went to the catalog, then went to men’s shirts, and so on, right?

To track usage like this you’ll need to implement the User ID feature. Without that all usage it totally anonymised.

Unless of course your URLs include a unique identifier for each customer.



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