Using Plausible for website analytics

Using Plausible for website analytics
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

What feels like an eternity today, I wrote about removing Google Analytics from my blog in early 2021. I've stayed away from Google Analytics in all its incarnations since then, and I'm happy.

However, I then switched to Cloudflare Analytics. While I initially appreciated it, I soon learned it had too much data that I didn't need. Today, I'm utilizing Cloudflare only for DNS proxying, and that's it.

But, I still felt I could use some analytics for my website. What content seems interesting to my readers? What content is not read at all? Some brave souls self-host website analytics tools. I considered that, but running a production-grade - often Docker-based - utility with many dependencies didn't sit well with me and my limited resources. Web analytics is, I feel, something that "has to work," and there is no debate about it.

I then surveyed what's available on the market. There are not many demands from me - the data HAS to reside in the EU, and it has to be cookieless. Then, I found it Plausible. It's a SaaS service that fits my demands: cookieless web analytics, privacy-focused, GDPR-compliant, hosted in the EU. What's not to like?

Setting up Plausible

I'm using Ghost as my platform, and setting up Plausible was easy. Once I signed up for Plausible, it generated a small JavaScript snip. You can embed that within Ghost, under Ghost Admin > Code injection:

Web Analytics in Plausible

How do the analytics look like, then?

I'm a little bit shy to reveal my hard numbers. There is nothing to be ashamed of there, but at the same time, I feel they are primarily helpful to me right now.

The Plausible interface does not have a lot going on, and that's key here: you can view real-time visitor numbers, the last year/year to date/last 30 days/last 7 days, and so on. You can see your top pages, sources, devices, and locations. That's it.

You cannot see visitor IPs or anything that would identify your users.

You can also subscribe to email alerts and reports, set simple goals, and add custom properties. Sans email alerts, none of these are anything I need or use.


And here is the last significant detail - pricing. It's not free, for sure. Google Analytics has always been free, at least for hobby users like myself, because you and your data fed the machine (for free).

Plausible pricing starts at 9 €/month for up to 10,000 monthly pageviews. The price doubles (to 19 €/month) when you need to go beyond 10K monthly pageviews; the next cap is at 100K. And from there, every +100K pageviews adds about 10 € to the monthly rate.

If you hit a cap, such as 10K, you're given an extra month with the current plan - and for the next month, you'll need to upgrade to the next tier if pageviews continue on the growth path (or exceed the current plan).

Then there's also a Business plan that brings funnels, better support, and some e-commerce capabilities. It starts from 19 €/month.

All prices exclude VAT.

In closing

So, even at its cheapest plan - at 90 €/year - Plausible is not free. The price I pay, I feel, is both fair and affordable for the service. It's rock solid, I don't need to pester my users with cookie popups, and I don't have to worry about Google's intricate mess of settings to figure out, "Do I have anyone on my website reading my stuff?"