WP Engine Billable Visits

Our pricing is partially based on the number of monthly visits to your site, we’ve provided as clear of guidelines as possible about which visits are considered billable. If you have any questions, concerns or disputes please reach out to our Support team.


Define Billable Visits

A raw visit in reality is any hit to any part of your site as that draws raw server resources. We do not count all raw hits to your site as a billable visit, however, because every hit to your site doesn’t necessarily represent any value to you. The following guidelines are laid out to make billable versus non-billable as clear and fair as possible.

  1. A single visit is one unique IP address logged per day (UTC). This means that a unique IP address can only count as one visit per day.
  2. Pages and other dynamic requests are counted as visits.
  3. Static assets such as images, css, js, and other files do not count as a visit, and are excluded.
  4. Known bot user agents and prefetched traffic are not counted as a visit.

Is This Event a Billable Visit?

  1. A human being first arrives on the site and loads the page, staying there for 31 seconds: Yes, because that’s an IP address.
  2. If that same human then clicks a link and sees another page: No, because that’s the same IP address, so it won’t be counted again.
  3. If that same human doesn’t have cookies or Javascript enabled in their browser. Yes, because we’re not using cookies or Javascript or any other feature dependent on the browser being used.
  4. If that same human loads the site with a different browsers on their computer: No, because it’s tied to the network IP, not the browser itself.
  5. If that same human bookmarks the site, then 11 days later comes back to the site: Yes, because we reset our notion of “unique IP address” every day.
  6. When a bot loads your site, our servers render it just like they would for a human visitor: We do not count bot traffic toward your billable visits.
  7. A human clicks a link to the site, then before the site has a chance to load the human clicks “back.” Yes, because we’ll still see the hit in our logs.


Exceptions

While visits do represent real traffic to your site, and real cost on our side to serve these requests, we also respect that sometimes these are out of your control.

Images

This is a visit which hits only static content (usually an image), but doesn’t hit a normal page on your site. This is common when not using a CDN, getting hot-linked, Twitter campaigns, or embedding images into email campaigns.

If you get a lot of this sort of traffic, we’ll reach out to you to understand what’s happening, and see if we can work together to create a solution that doesn’t involve so much traffic. This may be enabling our CDN, getting you signed up for a service like CloudFlare, moving content to a content service like S3.

Well-Known “bot” User Agents

When we see a known bot User Agent in the Nginx access logs, we do log the visit, but we do not include that as a billable visit. While we do not count bot visits toward billable visits, those bot visits would need to be coming from a User Agent that is a known bot User Agent.

If we see a large amount of this sort of traffic, we’ll reach out to you to let you know. Large amounts of bot traffic can actually cause bigger performance issues and likely needs to be reduced to keep things running swiftly.


Calculate Billable Visits

  • The number of unique IP addresses to the site in a 24-hour period is the number of “billable visits” – factoring out well-known “bot” user agents, and static requests.
  • The number of “billable visits” in a given month is the sum of those daily billable visits.
  • All sites on your hosting account are then added together at the end of your billing cycle.

There are additional cases too where the “right thing to do” is less clear. For example, take the case of a quick bounce. Suppose a human clicks a link to the site, then before the site has a chance to load the human clicks “back.” Does that count as a billable visit? Our servers still had to render and attempt to return the page, so in that sense “yes.” However a human didn’t necessarily see the site and Google Analytics isn’t going to see that hit, so in that sense “no.” In the end we need the notion of a “billable visit” to correspond to “the amount of computing resources required to serve traffic,” so we would qualify this as a billable visit.

This does mean there’s some cases where you could theoretically argue we’re counting visitors too often. For example, a person visits a site from work, then drives home and visits the site again later that day. That will count as two billable visits because the IP addresses will be different. But, we’d argue; (a) that doesn’t happen much, (b) it’s not terribly unreasonable for that to count as two visits, (c) those events are counter-balanced by times where we count only one visit where really it’s two, explained below.

What if two people in the same office visit a site from two computers? That should be two billable visits; even Google Analytics would count it as two. But we count it only as one because their IP addresses (from our perspective) are the same. So the cases where we count too few are counterbalanced — to the first approximation anyway — by those where we count too many, and therefore we think this is still a fair metric.


Google Analytics Discrepancies

It’s not uncommon that the visits we show do not match your visits in Google Analytics. Fundamentally there are two reasons why Google Analytics and WP Engine visits may not match.

  1. Google Analytics and WP Engine are tracking visits for different purposes
    • It can be difficult to truly judge what visits are actually coming into your site if you’re comparing visitor counts from different resources. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter where you look, each visitor count is filtered and sorted based on a certain set of goals.
      • For Google Analytics, the goal is to track “human” traffic in order to provide marketing and conversion analytics.
      • For WP Engine, the goal is the track “human” traffic in comparison to physical server resources used.
  2. Google Analytics requires a javascript to load to count the visit
    • This can be circumvented by spoofed user agents or users who have scripts disabled in their browser. Meaning Google Analytics wouldn’t execute or be able to track those visits. WP Engine, however, would track and count them as we use the raw server logs.

If you’re seeing large discrepancies between Google Analytics and WP Engine’s visitor counts, it may be beneficial to use a service like CloudFlare. The benefit of CloudFlare in these cases is that CloudFlare can filter out any kind of “spammy” requests based on origin IP, User Agent, etc (CloudFlare maintains an extensive database of what should and should not be trusted) at the DNS level so that those requests never make it to the server. After customers have done this in the past, the majority of them have reported that the visits we track falls in line much better with what Google Analytics reports.

If you continue to have questions or concerns, please reach out to our Support team for additional investigation steps.


NEXT STEP: Use the Monthly Reports in your User Portal to view a breakdown of visits

Still need help? Contact support!

We offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Log in to your account to get expert one-on-one help.

The best in WordPress hosting.

See why more customers prefer WP Engine over the competition.