Cloudflare Analytics vs Google Analytics

Now that Google Analytics is reaching its end of life, we’re all being asked to transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). But I think GA4 is a step backward, mainly because of the hours-long delay in reporting data. Finding an alternative to Google Analytics is hard. There are so many features in Google Analytics that most companies can’t afford to provide for free. But if you don’t need most of the fancy features, I find Cloudflare Web Analytics is the best alternative to Google Analytics for simple reporting. Here’s why.

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Getting Started with Cloudflare Web Analytics

Luckily, the Cloudflare free tier is already the best CDN. So most websites already use Cloudflare and have changed their nameservers for full Cloudflare integration. If you haven’t signed up for Cloudflare, now’s a good time to change your nameservers to Cloudflare. Cloudflare nameservers are likely much faster than the ones you currently use, so this is a free speed boost.

Once you’ve integrated with Cloudflare, go to your dashboard and under “Analytics,” choose Web Analytics as shown here:

Cloudflare Web Analytics - an Alternative to Google Analytics
Cloudflare Web Analytics – an Alternative to Google Analytics

In this screenshot, I have two sites under Cloudflare. For WP-Tweaks.com, I have a pro account, and for my blog, I have a free account. You can setup Cloudflare Web Analytics for both Pro as well as free accounts, but for free accounts, you need to manually add the code to your installation by clicking “Manage site” and clicking “Disable automatic setup”:

Installing the Cloudflare Web Analytics Snippet
Installing the Cloudflare Web Analytics Snippet

Paste this code to the same place you pasted your older Google Analytics code. Pro account users don’t need to bother with this step, as Cloudflare automatically adds the code for you when it serves your pages through its network:

Automatic Installation for Cloudflare Pro Accounts
Automatic Installation for Cloudflare Pro Accounts

Once you’ve added your code with a free or paid account, Cloudflare will collect data about your website visitors.

Cloudflare Analytics Pros:

Here are the advantages of Cloudflare Analytics over Google Analytics.

1. Cloudflare Analytics Measures Core Web Vitals

Unlike Google Analytics, Cloudflare Web Analytics measures your Core Web Vitals (CWV) based on actual user interactions instead. This is superior to measuring CWV through web.dev, PageSpeed Insights, or WebpageTest.org. Nothing beats collecting data from users in the real world, so the metrics you get better represent a visitor’s experience.

Cloudflare Web Analytics shows you the Core Web Vitals of your entire site, and you can filter down by page, country, and any other variable as shown here:

Cloudflare Analytics vs Google Analytics: Core Web Vitals Measurement
Cloudflare Analytics vs Google Analytics: Core Web Vitals Measurement

Cloudflare collects these Core Web Vitals statistics in real time, so you don’t need to wait several days to get feedback about your site changes, as in the Google Search Console. This is the best tool to measure your Core Web Vitals, and Google Analytics has nothing similar.

Unlike Google Analytics, Cloudflare also automatically sends you a weekly report about the performance of your site, with the Core Web Vitals as shown here:

Cloudflare Analytics Core Web Vitals Report
Cloudflare Analytics Core Web Vitals Report

This report lets you keep tabs on your website performance in case you forget to check it manually.

2. Cloudflare Analytics Has Easier Data Filtering than Google Analytics

Google Analytics lets you filter data too, but the interface is very…clunky. It’s not pain-free, and it discourages experimentation. With Cloudflare, you can instantly filter your reports by clicking the “Filter” button next to each metric like in the screenshot:

Filtering Reports is Easier than Google Analytics
Filtering Reports is Easier than Google Analytics

The process of filtering is so easy that you spend much more time “playing” with the data instead of looking at a few static reports. I think this interface is much better than Google Analytics.

3. Cloudflare Analytics vs Google Analytics: Privacy

Cloudflare Web Analytics respects your privacy far more than Google Analytics. While classic GA relied on cookies, the new GA4 relies on metadata to identify unique users. Cloudflare Web Analytics doesn’t use cookies or fingerprinting, making it an excellent alternative to Google Analytics for privacy-focused sites. As a result, you don’t need to place a cookie banner on your webpage asking users for consent.

4. Real-Time Data Reporting, Unlike Google Analytics

Unlike Google Analytics 4, which delays reporting by several hours, the data on Cloudflare starts registering as soon as the code is active. If you’re like me, you appreciate up-to-date data, which is another reason Cloudflare Web Analytics is superior to Google Analytics.

Cloudflare Analytics Cons:

Here are the major disadvantages of Cloudflare Web Analytics compared to Google Analytics.

1. Lack of Event Tracking

Google Analytics has advanced tracking functionality, and you can configure all kinds of tracking events. For example, I wrote about tracking visitors who disable JavaScript on Google Analytics and how to track clicks using the Google Tag Manager. The new Google Analytics 4 automatically tracks events like scrolls.

So far, Cloudflare has nothing similar. You can’t configure it to track how many people clicked on a specific type of link, which is very important for me. Until Cloudflare integrates some event tracking mechanism, it won’t replace Google Analytics for me.

2. Lack of a Mobile Application

This one isn’t such a big deal. The Cloudflare webpage renders perfectly on mobile and is incredibly usable. You can add the page to your home screen or as an app. But it’s an extra step that many people won’t take. I don’t expect Cloudflare to create an app for Web Analytics anytime soon with limited resources.

3. Less Data on Visitors

Unlike Google Analytics, Cloudflare Analytics only collects the most common data about visitors. It doesn’t capture screen resolution, mobile device brand and dozens of other metrics that you can find on Google Analytics. Part of the reason is Cloudflare’s commitment to user privacy, which is a good thing. Even though I don’t use most of the Google Analytics metrics, advanced users will be starved for the detailed insights that Google Analytics provides.

Final Thoughts on Cloudflare Analytics vs. Google Analytics

If you have simple needs and want to see who visited which page from where in real time, then Cloudflare Analytics is an excellent alternative to Google Analytics. It’s very privacy friendly, and integrating real users’ Core Web Vitals is a killer application. But Google Analytics has many more features than Cloudflare Web Analytics, and without the ability to track events, it will not replace GA entirely.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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