Customize Your Character Key

Thanks to my favorite site on the planet, I discovered a new service called which provides a really cool AJAX based web stats app. The setup is very simple — it only requires you to embed a picture on your website to begin tracking visitors. There’s no setup or registration required. My favorite part is the Firefox plug-in that let’s me see who’s on my websites in real-time.

In order to “sign up”, all you have to do is load their showcase page, click the widget you want and copy/paste the code into your website. The code generally looks something like this:

web stats

The easy setup does have one downfall — what if you lose the above code and thus, lose your key? The key is important because it is used both in the URL of their stats site and in your Firefox plug-in, should you choose to use it. If you lose the super random key, you lose your stats (unless Google has a cache of your HTML).

As I e-mailed myself the 8-character code and saved the URL to delicious, I began to ponder. Because the key, in this case nff4aa4e changes each time the page is loaded, would it be possible for me to create my own 8-character key — something that would be easier to remember than a random set of alpha-numerics. As it turns out, the answer is yes. I plugged in “netnerds” as my character key and my stats worked perfectly.

site statistics

If you hover over the picture, you can see that the link points to an easy-to-remember URL: My Cajun site uses something similar — realcajun was one character too long so I deicded to go with mmmcajun. Someone should totally take kthnxbai while it’s still available ;)

Chrissy is a Cloud and Datacenter Management & Data Platform MVP who has worked in IT for over 20 years. She is the creator of the popular SQL PowerShell module dbatools, holds a master's degree in Systems Engineering and is coauthor of Learn dbatools in a Month of Lunches. Chrissy is certified in SQL Server, Linux, SharePoint and network security. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

Posted in General
4 comments on “Customize Your Character Key
  1. ann says:

    hi! how come your page looks all jacked up?

  2. Chrissy says:

    In what browser? It looks good in FF and IE7.

  3. Chrissy says:

    IE6 wtf. I have no idea what I changed but it works now.

  4. nick says:

    I love this widget, and I took your advice, however my site does not seem to accumulate visitors on the map, and only shows active visitors….do you have any idea why this is or wht code I could add or change to get past visitors? Thanks for your help,


Leave a Reply to nick Cancel reply