People who run web sites are very conscious of 'visitors'.  After all, it takes time and a little effort/skill to put together, what to the author [webmaster], is a masterpiece.

One sees from the ubiquitous 'hit counters'  displayed on countless sites, and from 'statistics' gathered on others, that 'visitors' do indeed come, and hopefully as time goes on, will come more frequently and in greater numbers.

So, if you have a favourite web site, and the counter is whizzing round, clocking up more zero's than are on your bank statement suffixed DR, what does it mean in real terms.

http://www.joebloggs.com

HELLO
and
GOOD MORNING

 

Look at this representation of a web page which you have downloaded by keying in http://www.joebloggs.com and then ENTER. The server for that site actions your request and on your screen appears Hello..............What you have on your screen is a PAGE IMPRESSION and NOT A HIT, because on this page impression there are no FILES. Thus, the system scores 1 page impression.

http://www.joebloggs.com

HELLO
and
GOOD MORNING

 

Click here for........

Click here for...

 

In this next screen, the download consists of a page impression which has two separate file on it.  If you were to click on each file in turn, the site will have scored 2HITS. Therefore, a hit is a visit to a file, and a page is made up of files. Some web pages have many files added to them, and although you visit the site just once and view one page just once, you can increase the 'hit counter' many times if the page is crowded with files each of which you visit.

BELOW is a screen shot from my own ISP's home page.  It is littered with individual files, and if you clicked on each and everyone of them, your clicking finger would ache.  What's more, the 'hit counter' would take off.

Hit Counters are therefore not a sign of quality, popularity or number of visitors to the site, they simply tell one how many files posted on pages have been opened, but not necessarily read or printed. Considering like with like, a group of 'visitors' visiting a 'large' site having many pages of facts and figures [text] but few files to open during the reading of the text, will by design, score fewer hits than will a site with the same number of 'visitors' having few pages [relatively] but lots of files on those few pages.

A 'hit counter' is only of use as a tool, if the number of files on all its published pages are known and made public.  Additionally, it is a pre requisite to say when the 'hit counter' commenced counting. If the counter shows 10000 hits, and the site has 5000 files which have been in the public domain for 2 years, it could be said that over the period each of the files has been opened ONCE: not exactly thrilling stuff!  In reality of course, some of the more popular files may have been opened many times at the expense of files which are not opened and which should be removed from the page in question.

I hope that helps in the understanding of internet jargon.

Best regards.