This file contains the answers to some common questions that we get. If you are having problems using your counter, please make sure you read the online documentation including the Usage Page and the Troubleshooting Page.
Changes to Your Counter
- Do I have to download your script or install something in my server to get your counter to work?
Nope. All you have to do is fill out the form from the creation page to create your counter. Once it was been created, you include an IMG image entry in your HTML code which calls the counter program on our system and returns a numerical image to your clients.
- How much does the counter service cost?
For low-volume sites, we plan to always maintain free systems and services.
In addition we are constantly looking for advertising sponsors. Please see our Advertising Page for more information about such opportunities.
- How does it work?
When you create a counter with a starting value, the WebCounter server stores this value in its database. When someone accesses your page, they:
- Download Your HTML code
- Their client software (if configured to auto-load images) examines the HTML code searching for image IMG entries and then makes an additional request for each graphic referenced in your page.
- If you have your counter HTML code installed, their client software contacts the server directly (not via the server of your pages) asking for an image of your counter.
- After sending the numerical image to the client, the server increments your counter and stores the new value into its database.
- I would like to use my single counter on a number of pages. Can I do this?
Our new Policies concerning the use of free counters forbids this practice. We were finding organization who would list their counter on a number of pages to raise their position on the Top-10 lists.
- Help! I have lost the HTML code needed to run my counter.
Don't panic. See the usage page for more information about how to setup your counter on your page. It has all the HTML code examples you would want.
- Do text-only visitors get counted? Can I have lynx users see my count in the IMG ALT string or something?
Unfortunately the answer is no in both cases. After a client downloads your home-page from your server, they then can chose to either download all the images or not. If the images are not downloaded then my system never even gets a request and therefore can never count the access. In addition, there is no way to insert text or HTML into a page without it being preprocessed. For some more information, see the above section on how it works.
- I don't see my name in the Top-10 lists? How do I get in the lists?
Everyone who checked Yes when they created their counter will be shown in the Top Lists. One restriction with this is that no counters are shown in the Usage Top Lists for the first 24 hours because the values are often artificially high.
If you use the Query Page and your counter can be shown in the Top-10 lists and has enough average page views per day to be listed then you will be listed soon. Please realize that the Top Lists are generated every couple of hours during the day and are mirrored from our counter servers over to our home-page boxes so be patient if you just created your counter -- it may take a couple of days for your counter to show up on the lists.
Also, the usage for your counter is based on the average number of page views per day since your counter was created. If your counter has had an increase in page views recently, it may take a while for your average to go up due to this calculation.
- My URL is changing. What do I have to do with my counter to have it keep working?
You should go to the Change Page to keep your URL up to date. However, your counter does not care where your home page is located and will keep counting as long as you don't change your HTML IMG entry for it. Remember that it does not use any of the title, URL, or owner information that you filled out during creation in the actual counting process. This information is only used to build the top-10 lists.
Can I get a copy of your counter program and/or CGI bin script so I can run your counter on my server?
Sorry, no. We are not selling our software at this time. Even if we were, our server is a multi-threaded, multi-process configuration specially designed for the task and will build and run only on special platforms.
- Can I see who has been visiting my page? Can you supply me with a list of people?
Unfortunately we do not have the ability to do this with our free server.
- Is there a delay in creating the counter?
No, when you submit the form and the server responds, your counter has been created and can be used immediately. If you are getting an ERROR image then see below.
When I create the counter, it says that it was already created before?
There could be one of a couple things happening.
- There are thousands of counters currently maintained by our system and you might have indeed used a name already taken.
- If you think that this is unlikely given the string that you used, then there is a chance that the form may have been submitted twice by accident. Maybe you stopped the submission in the middle and resubmitted it or something or maybe the server had problems during the creation process. In either case, you could try using the counter that you tried to create. If you would like to resubmit the form, try it again with another counter name.
- Your counter may exist even if it is not in any of the Top Lists yet. See below.
- My counter started at much higher number than I create it with. What is going on?
Chances are that you are not using the counter that you just created. You might have inadvertently started using someone else's counter as a mistake because of typo. It is also possible that you are using the name counter. This happens a lot because people forget to replace the name string from the HTML examples in the Usage Page with their own counter name.
Verify that your HTML IMG code uses the counter name that you created. You can use the Query Page to see if your counter name is what you think it is.
- I get an ERR# image all the time where # is a digit between 1 and 9. What do they mean?
Please see the troubleshooting page about this.
- I get a server error when I try to get my counter image or my counter just does not show up. What does it mean?
This could be from any number of reasons but it may indicate that our free server is busy.
You should make sure you are auto-loading images in your browser. The digits that are returned are an image.
Many of the reported problems are caused by browser and/or operating system environments. One problem with Prodigy for example happens if the user places the counter on the page made under the "Basic" template. The counter will not work in this situation. If it is under the "Free-Form" template, then it should work fine. This information was provided by Chris Modzelewski <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Thanks Chris.
This also may be due to the fact that the counter web-system is offline. We apologize if this is the case.
- All I get is an image icon on my page. Why does my web-program not want to load in my counter?
Watch for missing or extra " (double-quote) characters and also make sure SRC is not SCR in your IMG entry. Please see the troubleshooting page for more ideas.
- Any links off the page with my counter bring up an error message from your server. What's going on? We are seeing this problem far too frequently these days. For some reason, your browser is sending its requests for your pages to our server. Your browser software is confused. First of all, make sure that your HTML code is correct. Watch for missing " double-quotes especially.
If you are running on Compuserve, we have gotten feedback from their customer support with a solution to problem. They recommend to upgrade your CIS software -- specifically the WINSOCK drivers. WINCIM version 2.0.1 contains a new CIS WINSOCK as well as a MOSAIC browser and the CIS interface programs. This also will fix the same problems with other browsers including Netscape. Thanks much to Goetz Kluge for sending us this information. Goetz has published a page with more details. Check it out.
If you are not a Compuserve user, we can only recommend that you talk to your Internet provider about this problem and/or send bug reports to your browser company. Feel free to send us feedback if they are saying that it is our problem.
I get a BUSY image once and a while. What does it mean?
The server is designed to return a BUSY image whenever a large number of requests are waiting for images. The count for your page was updated correctly but the image of the count would have taken too long to have been displayed.
We are constantly upgrading our hardware to stay ahead of the load. Please be patient as this occurs.
- My counter doesn't increment. It seems to be stuck on one number. Why?
The system does not increment a counter when it sees an access from the same computer (in other words the same IP internet number) twice in a row. This was necessary to stop people from abnormally incrementing their own counters. We have a flag that you can set via the Change Form which allows you to set your counter into record-every-hit mode. NOTE: this will remove your counter from the Top-10 lists.
You also should make sure that you are not specifying the -n option which puts your counter into no-update mode. This is a feature.
Another cause of this is the cache algorithms of the newer browsers. Netscape 2.0, for instance, has bugs in its cache algorithm which means that reload does not work correctly. Your browser may be pulling the image from your local disk or memory cache instead of from the counter system itself. Use the Query Page to see the true value of your counter.
- My counter increments intermittently or in large jumps? What is going on?
There are a number of possible reasons for this:
- Your counter may be getting a flood of page views because someone just added a link to you in a busy place or in a search engine.
- Your browser may not be updating the image every time so you are seeing the affect of the page views from days (or maybe weeks) at once when it finally does. See the not incrementing question.
- Someone else may have inadvertently started using your counter. You may have to create a new counter and switch your page to use it.
- Someone may be trying to drive up your counter's value on purpose. We would suggest switching counter names here as well.
- My counter does not seem to be incrementing as fast as the query page says it is. What is going on?
Your browser may not be updating the image every time so you are seeing the affect of the page views from days (or maybe weeks) at once when it finally does. Your browser caches the images to reduce your network requests and it may show the cached counter image instead of making a new request.
- When I compare my counts against my logs, my counter seems to be missing hits. Why is this?
The server counts every access to your image that it gets. However, it cannot register the users who are not loading images, who are using a text-only browser such as Lynx, or who do not wait for the counter image to be loaded before continuing on to other sections of your home pages. In dealing with the last scenario, raising the counter higher on your page may cause the counter image to be requested more often.
Also, there are times during the day that the is very busy so it may take a number of seconds before it responds. Users may not wait for your counter image to load and may move on to other pages causing a hit to be missed. We apologize about this but just do not have infinite network or computing resources to satisfy every request every second. In addition, the Net as a whole is constantly experiencing load problems so you may be experiencing general Internet bandwidth problems.
- I would like a larger border around my counter digits. How do I set this up?
You can use the border="2" (or more) IMG attribute in your HTML to accomplish this.
<a href="http://www.digits.net" target="_blank">
alt="Hit Counter by Digits" border="0" />
NOTE: The name in the above HTML code should be replaced with the name of the counter that you have created.
The above code will give you digits with a 2 pixel border around them. Feel free to change the 2 to another number till you find a border which looks appropriate.
Changes to Your Counter