Although GA4 is free and packed with advanced features, it’s not without its draw backs. From questions around data ownership to some really clunky UX, GA4 is not for everyone.
If you are looking for alternatives, the open-source arena offers a number of appealing options.
In this blog post we dive deeper into seven renowned free, open-source alternatives to GA4, examining their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros: Known formerly as Piwik, Matomo has made a name as a success story of open-source analytics, offering a viable alternative to GA4. Matomo excels in the area of privacy protection, offering an advanced suite of features that provides comprehensive insights without infringing on user privacy. Unlike GA4, which only retains data for 14 months, Matomo gives its users complete control and ownership of the analytics data, assuring unlimited data retention.
Cons: The major drawback of Matomo is its complex setup. Although it brings a plethora of functionalities to the table, installing and configuring Matomo can be challenging, particularly for users who are not technologically seasoned. While Matomo can be used free of charge, the premium features, which encompass a range of advanced functionalities, are behind a paywall.
Read our Matomo Analytics review.
Pros: OWA is an uncomplicated, open-source analytics platform that is easy to install and configure. It delivers detailed reports on website traffic, user demographics, and behavior. Unlike GA4, data storage with OWA is not biased by a specific timeline, ensuring users have access to their past reports indefinitely.
Cons: Nevertheless, it’s fair to mention that OWA does not measure up to GA4 in terms of sophistication. Specific features like real-time tracking and data visualization are more basic in functionality compared to GA4. Also, user experience can be somewhat hampered due to the dated interface of OWA.
Cons: On the downside, AWStats offers less detailed analysis and a simplistic interface compared to GA4. A significant limitation of AWStats is its lack of support for real-time analytics, a core feature in GA4.
Pros: Specializing in real-time mobile and web analytics, user profiling, and crash reports, Countly is a superb open-source alternative to GA4. It provides in-depth tracking of user interactions within mobile apps – an area where GA4 currently lags. The use of a NoSQL database makes it highly scalable and effective for handling large datasets.
Cons: It’s noteworthy that Countly’s impressive features, such as push notifications and funnel analysis, are unavailable in the free version. Also, users might experience challenges in terms of usability as the Countly interface can be less intuitive than GA4’s for novices.
Cons: Fathom’s simplicity can also be considered a shortcoming. Its limited functionality only serves the most basic analytics needs. Advanced features like event tracking and segmentation, standard on GA4, are not part of Fathom’s offer.
Pros: Umami serves up a straightforward, simplified analytics experience. It’s lightweight and easy to set up, and unlike GA4, it does not track individual users, adhering to privacy-conscious users’ needs. And if you’re managing multiple sites, the single-dashboard feature is a neat tool.
Cons: Unfortunately, the simplicity of Umami is its Achilles heel. Its ability to provide comprehensive and in-depth analytics falls short compared to GA4. For website managers needing more detailed or intricate data analysis, Umami might not be up to scratch.
Cons: But Plausible’s privacy-focused approach also has its drawbacks. It does not offer detailed analysis and segmentation capabilities seen in GA4. Further, Plausible does not support mobile app tracking, substantially limiting its use for mobile-first businesses.
Read our Plausible Analytics review.
All of these open-source alternatives are increasingly embracing privacy as a significant selling point.
While GA4 provides robust and advanced analytics options, these platforms are engineered to meet various needs, especially when it comes to user privacy and full data ownership.
Whether you should switch or choose one over the other heavily relies on the specific needs of your website and your specific objectives for data analysis.