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07.01.22

Plausible – privacy-first analytics

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I have worked with many clients during my (still short) career. Since the GDPR rules were put into practice, many of them have reached out regarding cookie banners and tracking in general. In the start, even I was unsure, and I knew about it in advance. Even now, after seminars and courses, there are still cases where I am unsure what is allowed and what is not.

When it comes to website analytics, many use Google Analytics, and it was the go-to for me when I started. But the more you learn, the more you realize how much personal data GA tracks and how that data is being used/misused. So I started to look around for alternatives, and I was quick to find Plausible.

Plausible is a lightweight and open-source website analytics tool. It uses no cookies and fully complies with GDPR, CCPA, and PECR. It’s also made and hosted in the EU.

Plausible dashboard

Web analytics went from a simple, fun, and useful practice for site owners to a data grabbing machine for surveillance capitalism. Google Analytics is frustrating to use, difficult to understand, slow to load, and privacy-invasive too.”

Performance

Plausible is not only privacy-friendly, but it is also 45 (!!!) times smaller than GA. As someone who spends a lot of time optimizing, that was such a great feeling to get rid of that slow loading speed while waiting for GA. Being lightweight will help your site, as loading speed is one of the Core Web Vitals.

When GDPR came along, so did the cookie popups and banners. They are everywhere, and they are in your face the moment you enter a new website. They all need you to click “accept” before using the site. If you don’t, they can’t track you. Another thing, maybe for another post, is that many popups trick people into “accept all” with poorly phrased sentences and conveniently placed buttons.

If you paid attention when you entered this website, you might have noticed that you didn’t have to click on any cookie banner. That is because I use Plausible, and the tracking is completely anonymous. There are no cookies, no personal data collected, and no persistent identifiers, and no cross-site or cross-device tracking either.

Buying a product vs being the product

Plausible costs money, starting at $9/month and going up with more page views. GA is, of course, free, but that does not mean it doesn’t cost you anything. Likewise to other products, you are the product if you are not paying for it. The data you collect on GA’s platform is worth so much more for them than any monthly fee you could pay.

But if you are not willing to, or not able to spend money on Plausible, there is an alternative. You can host it on your own server for free. This does, of course, require setup, but Plausible has good documentation you can lean on. 

And one last tidbit, 5% of Plausible’s gross revenue is donated to environmental causes and open source.

Closing out

If you are currently using Google Analytics on your websites or planning to make new ones, I urge you to consider Plausible. It is an excellent platform with enough data points for most people, and it is privacy-friendly. 

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