Cloudflare Web Analytics is just one of a number of website analytics tools that claims to have prioritised the privacy of its clients. However, while most of these privacy focussed tools (such as Scale8) have to charge for their services since they don’t profit from the use of their clients data, Cloudflare offers a web analytics tool for free.
So how does Cloudflare manage to ensure your privacy with its free analytics tool without profiting from your data? And does it offer everything that a paid analytics tool might?
To find the answers to these questions, let’s compare Scale8 and Cloudflare Web Analytics to see which one offers the best analytics tool.
As both offer privacy focussed web analytics tools, there are inevitably some similarities between Scale8 and Cloudflare Web Analytics. Before we take a look at what sets them apart, let’s first examine their similarities.
Scale8 and Cloudflare both believe that a simple analytics tool is much more beneficial than a more complicated tool, even one which may include additional features.
Tools such as Google Analytics provide a long list of features, but most website owners will only use a handful of these. Scale8 has picked the ones that are actually needed, and implemented them in an analytics tool that is easy to use and not overly cluttered.
Since January 2022 when EU DPAs ruled that Google Analytics wasn’t GDPR compliant, many website owners have been looking for more privacy friendly alternatives.
So it is true to say that Cloudflare Web Analytics is a privacy focused tool in that no cookies are used and your data isn’t sold onto third parties. However, Cloudflare is making use of your data to improve their business intelligence and services, not to mention to try and garner more clients for their paid services. This is one of the reasons that they offer the tool for no fee.
With Scale8, you retain all of your own data, and so we don’t financially benefit from it in any way. We simply help you store it if needed.
After examining the similarities, it might be fair to assume that Scale8 and Cloudflare Web Analytics offer similar final products. This, however, is certainly not the case, as we’re about to see.
One big difference that appears to be in Cloudflare’s favour is that Cloudflare offers their analytics tool for free, whereas Scale8’s analytics tool is a paid service.
However, this free service does come at a cost, and many (including us) would say that it’s worth paying for an analytics tool that does everything you need, rather than a free one that only does half the job (more on this below).
Cloudflare Web Analytics has reduced their running costs by only giving you information based on a 10% sample. This means that the data you see isn’t 100% accurate, and instead only gives you an estimate based on that 10%.
What’s more, it looks as though Cloudflare doesn’t do much to exclude bot activity from your data sample, which only serves to skew the data even more. Evidence of this can be seen through a large number of unidentifiable variables when looking at data. For example when looking at top performing browsers, receiving a result labelled as “unknown” is an indicator that a bot could be influencing your data.
The issue is that when it comes to analytics, data is everything, and you want your data to be as accurate as possible.
Scale8 gives you information on 100% of a wide range of data, so that you can act on and analyse the data effectively.
Cloudflare has made a cutback on its reporting capabilities too in order to keep the running costs of its free analytics tool to a minimum.
Firstly, you can only view data from the last 7 days. This makes it extremely difficult to make decisions based on larger scale historical data. There are plans to extend this range to 30 days, but only for users of the paid business plan.
It also restricts reports to only show the top 15 results, making it even harder for you to get all of the information that you might need. You can filter your reports to make them as specific as possible in the hopes of getting the full picture, but this is time consuming and inconvenient.
What’s more, the reporting is missing a lot of insights that can prove invaluable to website owners. Some of these missing insights include bounce rate, visit duration, and no support for UTM tags, making it much harder to evaluate your marketing campaigns.
Scale8 offers extensive reporting with much larger timescales, so you can make the important decisions based on the full set of data.
Scale8 has all of its software available to view on Github for various reasons. We believe that open-sourced software leads to software that is more trustworthy, better tested, more customisable, and more transparent, making it more beneficial for everyone.
Cloudflare, on the other hand, is a closed-source product. This means that there’s no way for anyone to independently audit and verify the code.
In our opinion, Scale8 is the clear winner here. Although the Cloudflare Web Analytics tool is GDPR compliant and free, it misses out on so many key features that any website owner would need.
With this in mind, we strongly believe that Scale8 is the best option for any business owner who wants to effectively optimise and track behaviour on their site.
Our code is open-source and we are completely transparent about how we build our analytics products. Google Analytics does not provide any form of Tag Management. Scale8 allows you to run your website on its own with no extra account requirements or associated costs. It's also possible to track errors using other tools such as Sentry or Airbrake.Continue Reading →
Matomo does offer Error Tracking, which is a handy tool for tracking any potential errors. Scale8 and Matomo offer various monthly plans, with prices based on how many monthly views your website gets. Scale8 offers a 30-day free trial, which is longer than Matomo's 21-day trial. Matomo also offers a free version when hosted on their servers, but this requires you to opt in and pay for extra features.Continue Reading →
Scale8 is an open-source alternative to Google Analytics. Fathom is a simple and privacy focussed analytics tool that provides website owners with exactly what they need. Both products share the belief that protecting the privacy of website owners and visitors is their number one priority. Scale8 and Fathom both offer a 30-day free trial before committing to buying. While Fathom only offers a 7-day trial, Scale8 offers a 30 day free trial with no credit card details.
Scale8 and Plausible are both privacy focused alternatives to Google Analytics. Both aim to put the data back into the hands of website owners and users. Scale8 has found that many features offered by Google Analytics are never used by website owners. Scale8 and Plausible are two great alternatives to Google Analytics for website analytics. There are, however, some important differences that are worth exploring.
Scale8 offers a large number of plans so that you can find the one that suits you best. Scale8 is a great alternative to Google Analytics and Plausible. Our Tag manager has been designed to be efficient and easy to use. It also offers website owners the ability to easily clone and experiment with tags and preview any revisions made so that you can find what works best.Continue Reading →
Scale8's Simple Analytics package includes tag management, error tracking and analytics tools. Our easy to install tag manager makes integrating and editing tags on your site a simple process. With our plans starting from just $10 a month, you can get the whole package for less than it would cost you to get Simple Analytics.Continue Reading →