Deriving insights from the Hostnames Report in Google Analytics

by Jens Sorensen on December 7, 2010

A hostname is the name of the device where you receive your traffic from. Every time a visitor arrives at a page where Google Analytics is implemented, the information is sent to GA and the domain/hostname is displayed in the hostnames report (from the dashboard in GA click Visitors > Network Properties > Hostnames). For example my employers domain, GOSS, is http://www.gossinteractive.com so you would expect that if a visitor came to this page or any of the pages on this domain it would be displayed as:

Hostname report for GOSS

However, the hostnames report looks like this:

GA hostname report for GOSS

www.gossinteractive.com

As discussed, this is what you would expect considering it’s the domain name which hosts all the content. Therefore, it’s not surprising it has the most visitors.

translate.googleusercontent.com

This is Google’s translate service. Views from this hostname suggest there are visitors  who cannot read the English version.

www.web.com

This is a website hosting service.  This one is trickier, someone could have posted a copy of the webpage’s here.

gossinteractive.com

The same as no.1 but without the www.

webcache.googleusercontent.com

When Google crawls a website, it also saves the pages in its own cache.  Therefore, theses pages have been viewed from clicking the cached version in a Google search rather than viewing on GOSS.

209.85.229.132

This is Google’s IP address the same as www.google.com.

www.GOSSinteractive.com

The same as no. 1 but with the brand name capitalised, maybe from a referral link or someone following our brand guidelines J

login.innovantage.co.uk

Interesting one. It appears to be a website which supplies software and market research for recruitment agencies. Maybe they have some of our content regarding job vacancies or have scraped our site for market analysis.

74.125.153.132

Another one of Google’s IP address the same as www.google.com.

cc.bingj.com

The same as Google’s cache but for Bing.

mixi.jp

Another interesting one, appears to be a Japanese social networking site. Not sure why we have views from here?

209.85.129.132

Yet another IP for Google

honyaku.yahoofs.jp

Appears to be owned by Yahoo JAPAN Corporation, likely to be the Japanese translation of the site for Yahoo or possibly Yahoo’s caching for Japan.

So that’s it, a quick browse every month can derive a bit of insight and expose some unexpected or even spammy domains that maybe scraping your site.

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