Hits vs. Unique Visitors vs. Page Impressions – What You Should Know

Last modified on 26th September, 2007

Once in a while, I came across a blog post that proudly announces their blog or site is getting thousands of hits per month. Either they don’t know what hits mean or it’s like the bragging rights for those who don’t know better.

Hits shouldn’t exist in your vocabulary unless you are a server administrator. There are better metrics out there to gauge a site’s popularity and hits are irrelevant as far as the average site owners are concern.


So what’s a Hit?

A hit is generated when a file is requested and served on your website. The file can be anything from the ordinary HTML document, an image file, a video and so on. An HTML document with 10 image files on it will register 11 hits (1 HTML file + 10 image file) when the page is viewed by a visitor.

Therefore, a page containing 1000 images will register 1001 hits when viewed by a single visitor. The same visitor may reload the same page 10 times to register 10,010 hits instantly. Obviously, that doesn’t mean there are 10,010 people visiting your site

So really, using hits to gauge a site’s popularity is misleading and there’s nothing to brag about when you get thousands of hits per day. You might just as well talk about how much bandwidth your site is consuming daily.


What Is a Page Impression?

Page impression, also known as page view is just that. It shows how many times the page is viewed. For example, when you click a link and the page is loaded, that request is counted as one page view. When you click the back button on your web browser to return to the previous page, another page view is registered.

As you can see, there may therefore be many hits per page view.

Page impression can be used to gauge the ability of your pages to retain the visitors’ interest, sometimes called the stickiness of your website. High number of page view per visitor means your visitors may be browsing several pages during their visits. This can be a good thing to mention if you are selling advertising on your site.

Surely, most advertisers prefer to have their ads viewed as many time as possible.


What Is a Unique Visitor?

Unique visitors are what matters when you want to show off a bit 🙂

A unique visitor means a visit from a person to a web site, at least once, typically within a 24 hour period.

Several visits from the same person to that website within a 24 hour period are only counted once. The person is identified by his or her IP address and sometimes through cookies, which acts like an online fingerprint.

So, if a blog gets 1000 unique visitors per day, it means that 1000 different individuals have visited the blog within the 24 hours period. While several individual may have visited the blog several times during the period to read new posts or comments, each visit would be counted once only.

Next time if you’d like to talk about how popular your blog is, tell people how many unique visitors you have instead of hits.


An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

  • Paul Gupit says:

    So, pageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value.

  • noklpopl says:

    I thought page impression has something to do with google serps and means: how often your domain appears in google serps for a special period (doesn´t matter if your domain is one page 1, or 2, or 3, or whatever..)

  • Jim says:

    I got impressions and visits mixed up… Thanks for the clarification.

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  • dott-com says:

    lol..I never know that before..

  • phyzhoe says:

    Thank! now i know what unique visitors are. Instead of hits we require more unique visitor so more $$$

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  • sns says:

    hehe … guess i’m the guilty one!!! Didnt realize the full meaning of all those hits!! (though it sounded really impressive .. when you see thousands and thousands of hits!)

    Tks for the Xplanation … appreciate it! :)Now I’ll work to get the Unique Visitors to Increase!! Any suggestions … pls keep sharing!!

    p/s By the way how many unique visitors do sabahan.com gets a day?

  • keeyit says:

    Learnt some useful tips today !

    I have to work harder to get more unique visitors.

  • Kay Kastum says:

    I did understand a bit until you explained it here in laymen terms. Next goal is to increase the unique visitors! 😀

  • Thanks for sharing this info gaman, surely you have done your homework! 😛

  • Tim says:

    Thanks Gaman, now i know why my blog’s hits always larger than page view. I have about 60-100 unique visitors after blogging for 2 weeks, do you think is reasonable progress? or anyway that I can improve to get traffic faster?

  • eshark says:

    Woo like that ka! I’ve always refer to Alexa PageRank to see the popularity.. So far I got 3,681 Page Impression and 2,634 Unique Visitors as per my Google Analytics reading.

    • Gaman says:

      Alexa PageRank? Do you mean Alexa and Google PageRank?

      How many visitors do you get daily?

      • eshark says:

        Ya exactly! err.. according to my Google Analytics recently, the number around 210 – 280 a day, but this number has been reducing starting somewhere in July.

        Your blog have a great tips about web development, wish I can learn from you, especially how to make money online. Currently I make quite some money through designing, but I want to increase my earnings so I’ll don’t depends very much on my design site.

  • Alb says:

    At last a Guru’s telling us about this 🙂 No wonder when i check my Sitemeter, pageview is higher compare to unique visitors.. hehe. but i never post any post about this la… hehe

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