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2. Implementation and Setup > 24. Bust the Cache for Accuracy

Bust the Cache for Accuracy

Measurement solutions based on web server logfiles suffer from a variety of factors that decrease their accuracy. Caching devices are the primary culprits but, in some cases, the cache can be beaten and accuracy improved.

Web server logfiles suffer from a handful of accuracy issues, perhaps the most significant arising from caching devices on the Internet. A caching device is any piece of hardware or software designed to store temporary copies of a file, most often to improve delivery performance. There are two types of caching devices that create problems for web server logfiles: clientside caches and server-side caches.

Client-side caches are deployed locally in corporate network operation centers and at Internet Service Providers to improve performance. The most extreme example of a client-side cache is the browser cache, software built into your Internet browser that is designed to save local copies of files. Server-side caches are often placed in front of your own web servers to reduce load. (See Web Caching [O’Reilly] for a complete treatise on the subject, or, if you prefer going online, Wikipedia has an excellent entry on the subject at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_cache.)


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