Popularity Contest

A week or so after Safari debuted, I took a look at my access logs to find out how many Daring Fireball readers were using it (along with numerous other common browsers).

I just did it again, looking only at my logs from the first 16 days of February 2003:

Browser        Unique Visitors
-----------    ---------------
Safari             4,013
Camino             1,121
IE Mac               909
Mozilla Mac          244
IE Windows         3,737
Mozilla Other        713


  • It is not possible to accurately count “unique visitors”. What I do is count each originating IP address once (once for each browser, actually). This means that if you’re using DHCP and get a new IP address from your ISP, you’ll get counted twice. Similarly, multiple visitors coming from behind the same proxy or router (like if you have several machines sharing a cable modem connection at home) will only be counted once, because in the logs they’re sharing a single IP address. It’s a good estimate, though.

  • Browsers can lie about what they are in their user-agent descriptions. For example, many minority browsers claim to be some version of Internet Explorer or Netscape in order to get past stupid browser-detection scripts that would otherwise prevent these browsers from accessing a site’s content. Thus, I’m no longer bothering to count browsers like OmniWeb, Opera, and iCab, because I don’t believe there’s any way to do so accurately.

  • I’m still amazed by the number of Daring Fireball readers who are using Windows. I suppose some of you are here because of SmartyPants, but my guess is that many of you are reading Daring Fireball from work. Good for you.

  • The content of Daring Fireball is such that the readership surely skews toward enthusiastic Mac nerds. I still think these numbers are interesting, but in no way do I (nor should you) interpret them as being indicative of browser usage amongst Mac users in general.

  • Camino”, in case you haven’t heard, is the new name for the browser formerly known as Chimera. Though others seem to dislike the new name, I like it. It’s got style.