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Type of data
The following data will be saved upon requesting a resource from this page:
- Your IP-Address at the time of the request.
- Time and type of your request
- Statistics on the reply of the server (Was the resource retrieved correctly? Which size did it have?)
- Information that get's send by your Browser (Which Browser? Which versions of specific libraries?)
Example of data
This example is entirely made up. A line in my logs might look like this:
127.0.0.1 - - [23/Mar/2019:12:34:56 +0600] "GET /coding HTTP/1.1" 200 5678 "https://www.pheerai.de/index""Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/72.0.3626.122 Safari/537.36"
Let's disassemble this:
- The IP-address at the time of accessing the page. In theory, it's possible to find out which landline has been used by connecting this with the date and asking your provider, but in practice this is highly unreliable and unecessary.
- [23/Mar/2019:12:34:56 +0600]
- Date, and time of your request. This is stored in the time of the server, so no hints on your timezone can be extracted from this.
- "GET /coding index HTTP/1.1"
- This is mainly technical data specifying the request you made. Most interesting is the actual resource you requested, which in this case is the coding-page located at /coding.
- 200 5678 "https://www.pheerai.de/index"
- Also technical, this stores information on the servers response. In this case, the request was succesfully served (200), the server returned some data (5678 bytes, to be more exactly), and you reached this page by clicking a link on my index-page.
- "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/72.0.3626.122 Safari/537.36"
- This information is send to me by your Browser. It contains information on which rendering engine you're using, and which other Browser it is compatible with. Sometimes, the webserver itself uses this to increase the chance of the request being succesfull.
How I use this
Honestly, in most cases I don't use this. There are, however, some rare cases where I might use this data for one of the following purposes:
- Blocking malicious Clients like Botnets. For this, usually the IP address and the request time get parsed by an automated tool (running on the same server, so no data will be spoiled here) and if too many requests occured, the IP's access to the site will get blocked for some time.
- Load analysis: Time, resource location and server response data can be used to find out about pages that are requested very often.
- Debgugging: If anything went wrong with a specific request, I can use the data to track down if there are problems with compatibility with certain browsers. This requires all of the data - IP and date to track the correct request, everything else to see what could've gone wrong and to "replay" the original request.
- Compatibility analysis: Using automated scripts, I can extract which browsers visit my page most often, mainly to see if certain compatibility hacks are worth the time.