Even though the Jekyll Minima theme has off the shelf support for Google Analytics, I decided to be a good internet denizen and use something that preserved visitor privacy.
I thought that surely in 2021, somebody would have built a simple page view counter that I could just plug into my dinky blog for minimal cost. I ended up evaluating all the popular alternatives: Matamo, Plausible, and Cloudflare analytics.
As it turns out, all of these are rather expensive. What should have been simple became bespoke and Toph was born. It’s a Cloudflare workers service that sits in between the visitors browser and Google Analytics.
Toph is a first party analytics solution, which is generally regarded favourably compared to the third party tracker status quo. It would have been completely okay to do visitor identity tracking by shoving a UUID into a cookie. This usage would likely not even require explicit consent.
But for entirely dubious motivations, I decided to make the implementation cookie-less, trading accuracy and retention metrics for an even smaller privacy footprint. The end result works somewhat like Plausible’s cookie-less tracking, but the Toph implementation is interesting in its own right.
I think if you asked me “how much do you care about web privacy?”, I would have given an apathetic response. But clearly I care enough to spend many hours building a reusable self deployable solution and even packaging it up with Pulumi to make deployment trivial. I’m not sure what virtues this signals.
Oh, and it’s called Toph because it is blind to the visitor’s personal information.
2021-05-30: Added this changelog.