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Wordpress: Choosing Privacy-first Analytics

Simon Coulthard August 07, 2023

15 Minute Read

If you’re looking for a privacy-first Wordpress analytics plugin, you won't find a huge variety.

This is a shame. Thanks to cookieless tracking, these plugins enable you to collect more website traffic data than cookie-enabled alternatives. They’re also the best way to protect visitor data and remove the requirement to implement some complicated privacy compliance measures.

What’s more, many of the privacy-focused plugins available from the Wordpress directory oversell their compliance credentials.

For while some plugins are privacy-perfect straight out of the box, others are not.

The result?

Businesses need to establish how to use them in a way that meets data privacy requirements. But since these plugins lack privacy-by-design technology, this workaround can make them less accurate. And to state the obvious, this reduces their utility as a guide to website optimization.

This is a frustration for many website owners. But fear not! We’ve done a deep dive into your Wordpress analytics plugin options so you don’t have to. And in this article, we're summarizing our findings.

We begin by running through all the analytics plugins you can find in the Wordpress plugin directory, and then we list the nine that we identified as reliable, privacy-perfect additions to any website

We’ve also reviewed the nine privacy-perfect Wordpress plugins to help with your decision making.

Let’s jump in!


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Wordpress’ Plugin Marketplace: an Unorganized Mess

There’s a reason why Wordpress is the most popular content marketing system on the market. It’s free. It’s open source. It also offers endless customization possibilities, and gives users real control over the design and functionality of their websites.

The Wordpress plugin directory facilitates this, with 59,596 tools waiting to be discovered.

And if you don’t want to spend too much time choosing a plugin, you can simply search “website analytics” or “privacy website analytics” and install one of the first options.

But for those that want to go deeper to find your ideal Wordpress analytics plugin, the marketplace is difficult to search. The only categories are community and commercial, and there’s no filtering option. Nor are there recommended or popular plugins unless you’re using a self-hosted Wordpress version.

This does a disservice to the enormous range of plugins and their different features. Simply put, it’s all but impossible to use the Wordpress directory to identify an option that’s the right fit for your business.

Finding the Right Privacy-focused Wordpress Analytics Plugin

These gripes about Wordpress’ directory extend to most plugin searches.

And if you're on the market for other tools, we've already written about the 10 essential Wordpress plugins.

However, these gripes make finding a privacy-focused analytics platform particularly difficult. Website analytics is a huge market, and the options are all different in terms of the features they provide.

Defining a Privacy-focused Wordpress Analytics Plugin

Data privacy is a vital consideration for website analytics in 2023, and you can read more about this fascinating subject in our GDPR and Data Privacy Resource Hub.

These platforms are powered by website visitor data. Their capacity to collect personal data - and even personally identifiable information like names, IP addresses, and geographic locations - puts them squarely within the scope of GDPR and other data privacy laws.

Businesses can mitigate their responsibilities under data privacy legislation by choosing a privacy-first analytics integration. These will use cookieless tracking technologies that remove the need for explicit user consent. They’ll also ideally fully anonymize visitor data, scrubbing it of all identifiable information.

The data storage practices of these platforms is also important for data privacy compliance. This extends to the type of data they collect, how it’s stored, and whether it’s shared with third parties. It also extends to how transparent they are about these practices.

Today, there are some Wordpress plugins that fit this criteria. However, privacy has become something of a marketing buzzword in recent years. People often throw it around with little substance. Some integrations will claim to be privacy-compliant, but still use cookies to track website visitors.

Taken together, it’s a real headache.

It means that Wordpress users will need to be careful about how they set up many of the analytics plugins. And for those that use cookies, they’ll still need to ensure that they activate cookie banners. They'll also need to update their privacy policy, even if the platform claims to be data privacy-compliant.

Ideally, what they want is an analytics platform that is GDPR-compliant straight out of the box. However, these are few and far between, and you’ll find the list of them that we’ve compiled further down this article.

Wordpress Analytics Plugins: Introducing the Options

If you search for “privacy website analytics” in Wordpress’ marketplace, you'll find a huge number of options - 402 to be exact.

But scratch beneath the surface and options dwindle. Since the filtering system is so limited, the vast majority of these results are not privacy-focused. Instead, they’re any integration with the words “privacy”, “website”, and “analytics” in their description. Which, basically, is just about anything. 

Google Analytics Powers Many Analytics Integrations

Between the different iterations of Google Analytics - think Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics - there’s no shortage of plugins from Alphabet.

This makes sense, given the stranglehold that Google has over the market.

Many plugins from third parties also complement its official, first-party plugins. Some help users to, for instance, add Google Analytics’ tracking code to their site. Others allow them to see the analytics data in the Wordpress’ dashboard.

There are also a range of popular plugins that are powered by Google Analytics. These include MonsterInsights, ExactMetrics, and Beehive Analytics.

Google Analytics Isn’t Privacy-compliant

Regardless of how it is integrated into Wordpress or claims from integrations that have adapted it, Google Analytics is not data privacy-compliant.

Frankly, it's easy to see why.

Google Analytics uses cookies to website visitor personal data. It also stores data stateside, violating GDPR standards for the transfer of EU citizen data outside of its borders.

But privacy regulations don’t stop at the EU border.

The US government has the power to access personal data on request. Google’s storage of data there will consequently also violate other privacy laws - many of which, like California's CCPA, were modeled on the GDPR.

And unfortunately, it’s user businesses that are liable for the misuse of website visitor data by Google Analytics. Companies are now finding this out in court. Recent legal action in Sweden shows that they now face large fines and also need to deal with reputational damage in the eyes of internet users who are increasingly aware of the dangers to their privacy online.

Alternative Wordpress Analytics Integrations

Away from Google, there’s still a wide range of plugin options available to website owners. This is understandable given the popularity of Wordpress, with all software developers wanting a slice of the pie.

Of course, TWIPLA is a great alternative to Google Analytics. But we've identified 24 other Wordpress plugins that initially seemed to meet data privacy compliance requirements.

However, most of these suffer from similar privacy issues. Beehive Analytics claims to take privacy seriously, but it’s powered by Google Analytics so isn’t a serious option.

SlimStat also claims to be data-privacy compliant, but it uses cookies and is tight-lipped about its data storage and sharing practices. Clicky Analytics also uses cookies, as does AFS Analytics and Pikiwk Pro.

Likewise Advanced Page Visit Counter, which claims to take privacy seriously and yet is another platform that isn’t transparent enough about its cookie usage.

The list goes on. But simply put, most wordpress analytics plugins just aren’t really privacy minded. This speaks to broader issues in the market, as well as how difficult it is to create software that can effectively report on website performance within the restrictions set by data privacy laws.

Wordpress Analytics Plugins: Presenting the Privacy-first Alternatives

Given these issues, our 25-strong list of Wordpress analytics plugin options has been whittled down to 9. That’s a tiny fraction of the 402 results that came up in our initial “privacy website analytics” search.

And if anything, this highlights the paucity of options for such a vital website component from Wordpress’ directory that has just shy of 60,000 plugins.

However, we had to disregard any integration powered by Google Analytics. We also had to remove plugins that had less than 100 active installations, an indication that they aren’t trusted by the Wordpress community (for the time being at least).

This left us with only 9 analytics integrations to recommend. Some of these plugins will directly integrate into Wordpress. Others simply help users to add their tracking code to the platform - which they can then view in another page tab or app.

Our Recommended Privacy-first Wordpress Analytics Integrations

PluginCookieless?Data Storage
TWIPLAHetzner servers in Nuremberg and Falkenstein/Vogtland, Germany
Burst StatisticsOptionalWordpress server local to user
Fathom AnalyticsHetzner servers in EU/Canada*
Koko AnalyticsWordpress server local to user
Independent AnalyticsWordpress server local to user
Matomo AnalyticsOptionalUser's on-premises server or Matomo Cloud servers in Frankfurt, Germany
Plausible AnalyticsHetzner servers in Falkenstein, Germany
Simple AnalyticsWorldstream and Leaseweb servers in the Netherlands
WP StatisticsWordpress server local to user
*Canada has an EU GDPR Adequacy Ruling

As you can see from the table above, seven of our selection offer cookieless tracking by default. This is evidence that they have privacy by design.

Website owners can set up the remaining two to collect data without tracking cookies. However, this can reduce reporting accuracy.

Crucially, they all either store data on a Wordpress server local to the website owner, within the EU, or in a country with an EU GDPR Adequacy Ruling. And since the GDPR is the strictest data privacy law in the world, this ensures that their data storage practices comply with all laws globally.

Introducing TWIPLA

Wordpress' Only Complete Analytics Privacy Plugin

Our research into the options available from Wordpress’ plugin directory confirms that TWIPLA is the only tool that is both privacy-perfect and also offers all the website intelligence tools required for effective digital optimization.

We’ve long been the number 1 analytics tool on Wix, the world’s most used website builder. TWIPLA currently has more than 2.5 million active installations. It also has a high 4.4 rating on G2 is mirrored across all other respected software review sites.

TWIPLA has prioritized privacy since before the arrival of GDPR made it a legal requirement for website owners. The platform has privacy by design, with an advanced cookieless tracking system ensuring that businesses can maximize data collection and insight accuracy.

This is also facilitated by a dynamic privacy center that can be easily calibrated to the privacy laws that businesses operate within, as well as those of the website visitors themselves.

Crucially, TWIPLA offers visitor behavior analytics tools like session recordings, heatmaps, and custom event tracking. It also provides visitor communication features and complete website statistics. This makes it the only complete website intelligence solution for Wordpress users that also meets data privacy requirements - enabling businesses to collect the insights they need for data-driven website optimization while keeping visitors safe.


Unlock Your Website's True Potential

Our advanced website intelligence solution will enable anyone to grow their website quickly - all while staying data privacy compliant!

GET STARTEDcircle-arrow-right.svg

That’s the Privacy-first Wordpress Analytics Plugins Explained!

As you can see from the findings of our Wordpress analytics plugin research, privacy still remains a niche part of the wider sector. However, this will undoubtedly change. Data privacy legislation continues to tighten. Data protection authorities are also enforcing violations in ever-increasing numbers.

Ultimately, privacy-first analytics is a social good that enables businesses to collect more website traffic data. It also allows them to do this while keeping visitor data safe. This mitigates security risks, and helps to build website credibility amongst internet users who are increasingly aware of the dangers the internet poses to their personal information.

Of course, the integrations we’ve identified were not all created equally. They each have different features, and different businesses will find them suitable.

We've reviewed the nine privacy-perfect Wordpress plugins to help you get to know what's available.

TWIPLA stands proudly as the best option available. It offers more features than any of the alternatives, and its advanced cookieless tracking system maximizes data collection and the accuracy of insights.

So sign up today and unlock your website's true potential!


How do I get analytics for my Wordpress website?

Wordpress offers a huge range of different plugins that you can use to customize every aspect of the website. To help, we've written elsewhere about the 10 essential Wordpress plugins. These can all be found in the Wordpress plugin directory. Some of these analytics plugins will integrate directly into your Wordpress dashboard, while others will show data in a separate app. Either way, functionality remains unaffected and choice is just a matter of taste.

What are my options for privacy analytics on Wordpress?

While there’s no shortage of analytics tools in the Wordpress plugin directory, the choice of privacy analytics remains limited for the moment. This is because most of the options are powered by Google Analytics, a platform that is illegal in Europe because it violates website visitor privacy. We’ve researched the available tools, and have reviewed the nine best privacy analytics options for Wordpress.

What can I use instead of Google Analytics for Wordpress?

Google Analytics is the most famous analytics provider. However, there are many different alternatives to choose from. But given the importance of protecting the personal data of users and the data privacy laws that will punish businesses that don’t look after their website visitors, it’s best to choose a privacy-first alternative to Google Analytics like TWIPLA. Learn why you should switch today!

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