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Package goatcounter

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The latest major version is .

Published: Aug 24, 2020 | Licenses: EUPL-1.2 , ISC , MIT | Module:


Build Status Awesome Humane Tech

GoatCounter is an open source web analytics platform available as a hosted service (free for non-commercial use) or self-hosted app. It aims to offer easy to use and meaningful privacy-friendly web analytics as an alternative to Google Analytics or Matomo.

There are two ways to run this: as hosted service on, free for non-commercial use, or run it on your own server (the source code is completely Open Source/Free Software, and it can be self-hosted without restrictions).

See docs/rationale.markdown for some more details on the “why?” of this project.

There’s a live demo at

Please consider contributing financially if you’re self-hosting GoatCounter so I can pay my rent :-)

GoatCounter is sponsored by a grant from NLnet’s NGI Zero PET fund.


  • Privacy-aware; doesn’t track users with unique identifiers and doesn’t need a GDPR consent notice. Also see the privacy policy.

  • Lightweight and fast; adds just ~5K (~2.5K compressed) of extra data to your site. Also has JavaScript-free “tracking pixel” option, or you can use it from your application’s middleware.

  • Easy; if you’ve been confused by the myriad of options and flexibility of Google Analytics and Matomo that you don’t need then GoatCounter will be a breath of fresh air.

  • Identify unique visits without cookies using a non-identifiable hash (technical details).

  • Keeps useful statistics such as browser information, location, and screen size. Keep track of referring sites and campaigns.

  • Accessibility is a high-priority feature, and the interface works well with screen readers, no JavaScript, and even text browsers (although not all features work equally well without JS).

  • 100% committed to open source; you can see exactly what the code does and make improvements.

  • Own your data; you can always export all data and cancel at any time.

  • Integrate on your site with just a single script tag:

  • The JavaScript integration is a good option for most, but you can also use a no-JavaScript image-based tracker or integrate in your backend middleware.


  • Fast: can handle about 800 hits/second on a $5/month Linode VPS using the default settings.

  • Self-contained binary: everything – including static assets – is in a single ~7M statically compiled binary. The only other thing you need is a SQLite database file or PostgreSQL connection (no way around that).

Running your own

The release page has binaries for Linux amd64, arm, and arm64. These are statically compiled and should work in pretty much any Linux environment. GoatCounter should run on any platform supported by Go, but there are no binaries for them (yet); you’ll have to build from source for now (it’s not hard, I promise).

Note this README is for the latest master; use the release-1.4 branch for the 1.4 README.

Generally speaking only the latest release is supported, although critical fixes (security, data loss, etc.) may get backported to previous releases.

Deploy scripts and such

A $5/month Linode is more than enough to run GoatCounter unless you’ve got millions of pageviews. And if you don’t have a Linode account yet then consider using my referral URL and I’ll get some cash back from Linode :-)

Building from source

Compile from source with:

$ git clone -b release-1.4
$ cd goatcounter
$ go build -ldflags="-X main.version=$(git log -n1 --format='%h_%cI')" ./cmd/goatcounter

The -ldflags=[..] sets the version; this isn’t strictly required as such, but it’s recommended as it’s used to “bust” the cache for static files and may also be useful later when reporting bugs. This can be any string and doesn’t follow any particular format, you can also set this to the current date or banana or anything you want really.

Or to build a statically linked binary:

$ go build -ldflags="-X main.version=$(git log -n1 --format='%h_%cI')" \
    -tags osusergo,netgo,sqlite_omit_load_extension \
    -ldflags='-extldflags=-static' \

You’ll now have a goatcounter binary in the current directory.

You need Go 1.13 or newer and a C compiler (for SQLite), or compile it with CGO_ENABLED=0 go build and use PostgreSQL.

It’s recommended to use the latest release as in the above command. The master branch should be reasonably stable but no guarantees, and sometimes I don’t write detailed release/upgrade notes until the actual release.

It’s not recommended to use go get in GOPATH mode since that will ignore the dependency versions in go.mod.


You can start a server with:

$ goatcounter serve

The default is to use a SQLite database at ./db/goatcounter.sqlite3, which will be created if it doesn’t exist yet. See the -db flag and goatcounter help db to customize this.

GoatCounter will listens on port *:80 and *:443 by default. You don’t need to run it as root and can grant the appropriate permissions on Linux with:

$ setcap 'cap_net_bind_service=+ep' goatcounter

Listening on a different port can be a bit tricky due to the ACME/Let’s Encrypt certificate generation; goatcounter help listen documents this in depth.

You can create new sites with the create command:

$ goatcounter create -email -domain

This will ask for a password for your new account; you can also add a password on the commandline with -password. If you use a custom DB, you must also pass the -db flag here.


You may need to run run database migrations when updating. Use goatcounter -automigrate to always run all pending migrations on startup. This is the easiest way, although arguably not the “best” way.

Use goatcounter migrate <file> or goatcounter migrate all to manually run migrations; generally you want to upload the new version, run migrations while the old one is still running, and then restart so the new version takes effect.

Use goatcounter migrate show to get a list of pending migrations.


Both SQLite and PostgreSQL are supported. SQLite should work well for the vast majority of people and is the recommended database engine. PostgreSQL will not be faster in most cases, and the chief reason for adding support in the first place is to support load balancing web requests over multiple servers. To use it:

  1. Create the database, unlike SQLite it’s not done automatically (you may need to modify the -db flag):

    $ createdb goatcounter $ psql goatcounter -c ‘\i db/schema.pgsql’ $ goatcounter -db ‘postgresql://dbname=goatcounter’ migrate all

  2. Run with custom -db flag:

    $ goatcounter serve
    -db ‘postgresql://user=goatcounter dbname=goatcounter sslmode=disable’

See the pq docs for more details on the connection string.

  1. You can compile goatcounter without cgo if you don’t use SQLite:

    $ CGOENABLED=0 go build -ldflags=“-X main.version=$(git log -n1 –format=‘%h%cI’)” ./cmd/goatcounter

Functionally it doesn’t matter too much, but builds will be a bit easier and faster as it won’t require a C compiler.


You can start a test/development server with:

$ goatcounter serve -dev

The -dev flag makes some small things a bit more convenient for development; TLS is disabled by default, it will listen on localhost:8081, the application will automatically restart on recompiles, and a few other minor changes.

See .github/CONTRIBUTING.markdown for more details on how to run a development server, write patches, etc.

Various aggregate data files are available at