Hits, Unique Vists, and Page Views: Which is best?

This original article was first published in The Dot Connector Magazine, Issue #10.

When it comes to web sites and the amount of traffic they claim to have, what is the difference between unique visits, page views, and hits per day? Which measure is the most honest?

A unique visit is when one person accesses content on a particular web site in a given time period, whether we’re talking about one image or 300 different web pages.

A page view is when a person views one particular web page on a web site.

Hits, on the other hand, are when any “user agent”, such as a web browser or search engine crawler, sends a request for some kind of data to a web site. One page load may consist of multiple hits: one hit for the main HTML page, one hit for the style sheet, and multiple hits for each image on the page.