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Hit Counters

bullet Introduction
Counters, counters everywhere! It seems that the hit counter is just about as ubiquitous as the web itself! Two simple counter CGIs, one text and one graphical, are presented in the sections below. The textual counter, was written by Jonathan Lewis. The graphical counter is simply a modification by Scott Pierce of the textual counter.


bullet Installation
To install the counters, connect to your Virtual Private Servers via Telnet or SSH and use the commands below that match your Virtual Private Servers O/S:
% vinstall counter


bullet Configuration
To configure the counters, do the following.
  1. Configure your Virtual Private Servers web server to recognize Server Side Includes. Do this by creating a file called .htaccess in the same directory where the page with the counter is to reside. The .htaccess file should contain the following lines.

    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks Includes ExecCGI
    AddHandler server-parsed .html

    You can either use the pico file editor to create the file on your Virtual Private Servers or you can create it locally on your own PC (using "notepad", for example) and then use an FTP client to upload it to your Virtual Private Servers (in ASCII mode).

  2. Initialize your counter with a start value. Do this by creating a file with the same "basename" as your .html file that you plan to put the counter on, but with the extension .count, instead of .html. For example, for a filed called index.html, create a file by the name of index.count. Put this file in the same directory as the index.html file. The .count file will contain just one number: the value from which you want your counter to begin (probably "0").

    You can create the .count File locally on your own PC (using "notepad", for example) and then use an FTP client to upload it to your Virtual Private Servers (in ASCII mode). Or you can do this while connected to your Virtual Private Servers by doing the following.

    % cat > index.count
      ^D (the control-D character)


bullet Usage
Now you are ready to implement your new counter. Place the counter server side include in the HTML of the page on which you want to have a counter. In the .html file include something like the following in the main body of HTML.
Textual Counter
<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/library/counter/" -->

Graphical Counter
<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/library/counter/" -->

Reload your web page and see if it works. Once you have completed the installation successfully, you will have a working counter like the one shown below.

Over   101108   Internet Customers Served.


bullet Graphical Counter Digit Sets
You have the flexibility of specifying a graphical counter digit set to be used to display the count if you are using the graphical counter. Several Digit Sets are included in the distribution. To use any of these digit sets, set the , , and variables as indicated. You will find the declaration of the , , and variables in the CGI on lines 9-11.

Many other digit sets are available. The definitive site for graphical digit sets is Digit Mania Have a look at the hundreds (literally) of digit sets available. If you find a digit set that you would like to use, it is a very simple procedure to configure the CGI to use your preferred images. Just follow these steps:

  1. Make a directory in the ~/www/htdocs/images/digits directory called SOME-NAME.

  2. Place the 10 images, 0.gif, 1.gif, 2.gif, etc., in the new directory, ~/www/htdocs/images/digits/SOME-NAME.

  3. Set the , , and variable appropriately. These variables are defined on lines 9-11 in the CGI.


bullet Docmumentation
Each counter is documented within the source code:
For technical documentation of CGI, see:

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