How many people have javaScript disabled in their browsers ? Revisited

A little while ago I tried to devise a reliable method for figuring out what proportion of browsers had javaScript disabled.  My method sort of worked but then I discovered that Awstats (which is installed on all my sites) had a facility for determining whether visitors had javaScript disabled or not.  To activate this functionality I needed to install the awstats_misc_tracker which was fairly straight forward, from then on I have been collecting the necessary data.

The results?  After nearly 2 months of tracking I can say that about 2.5% have javaScript disabled, or 97.5% have javaScript enabled.

The website I have been tracking is  a business and visitor guide to Stow on the Wold.  I chose this site because it is fairly busy (about 4000 visitors per month) and because it very much a general purpose website with a wide cross-section of visitors.  I suspect that a more technical site might show more people with javaScript disabled, my theory is that most people don’t want to disable javaScript and wouldn’t know how to disable it if they did want to.

Update 21st December 2011 – A few more months of data show the percentage with javaScript disabled fairly steady at about 3%.   So about 97% of my visitors have javaScript enabled which is useful to know.

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2 Responses to “How many people have javaScript disabled in their browsers ? Revisited”

  1. Greg says:

    I’m actually surfing with Javascript off to test some stuff on my site. But here’s a question for you. I can browse to your site using a script instead of a browser, but send a browser’s useragent string. I have a script that does that to download Facebook RSS feeds (a tool for a client to download their own wall on demand). My script, however, does not execute Javascript. In fact, it doesn’t download images either.

    Do you know if any of the javascript-disabled visitors are just spiders or robots pretending to be real browsers instead of legitimate users? Do you know if AWStats has methods in place to distinguish spiders that try to pretend to be real users?

    Not trying to challenge you. Just curious.

  2. cotsweb says:

    The basic method AWStats uses to determine if a vistor has javaScript enabled is quite simple. Just a little bit of extra code at the bottom to of the webpage;

    <script type="text/javascript" src="/js/awstats_misc_tracker.js"></script>
    <noscript><p><img src="/js/awstats_misc_tracker.js?nojs=y" alt="" height="0" width="0" style="display: none" /></p></noscript>

    But I don’t know if the AWStats package does any further processing before reporting the statistics, it certainly knows about spiders because it lists them as a section in the report. My suspicion is that it doesn’t count known spiders because otherwise I think the percentage of non-js visitors would be a lot higher than the 3% it reported last month. As for spiders which pretend to be real browsers, I guess it depends on how good they are at concealing their identity.
    I think you would need to have a look at the AWStats documentation or ask in an AWStats forum, if you do find out I would be interested to know the answer (I hadn’t thought about it but now I’m curious too).

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