Session variables (was: [thelist] Pop-up when user leaves site.)

Paola Kathuria paola at
Mon May 21 17:03:31 CDT 2001

Elfur Logadottir wrote:
> hold on, why do I have to be lying if I say that [n] people are visiting my
> website now?
> are you saying that there's no way to count that?
> what about session variables?

Aha, a challenge!

I'd say you can't *definitively* (or practically) say how many
people are visiting your web site at any time because of "people"
and "now" in that statement.

The "people" means that what's visiting your site is a person
and not a robot.  Won't a robot trigger a new session?  You
may say you can recognise and remove robots from logs but you
would need to be maintaining a database robots on a *weekly*
if not daily basis, since that's how often new robots appear.

The "now" means that the visitor is *still* visiting your site.
Whereas, all you can really know is the last time someone (or
something) accessed your site within a session.

However, I do think that (server-side non-cookie) sessions
are a better way of counting visits (rather than using log

Paola the Pedant

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