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It seems every major app platform from Android to iOS has great stats for developers. However, if you publish a plugin via WordPress.org you are not allowed to include any 3rd Party tracking code (for good reasons).

So what can I do to track Active users by day / week / month ?
and ...
How can get the raw data behind the graphs for downloads by day ?

I also have plugins using the plugin update checker via Janis / w-shadow because they are not hosted on WordPress.org ... so how do other plugin developers track downloads and active users?

Currently .. the only way I've found to track active users is via Google Campaign Tracking tool. I create tags which mean anyone clicking a link from a plugin settings page to my website is tracked in GA as 'plugin-installed' and anyone clicking a link from a Readme.txt has a different tag. This is not reliable as many people may install the plugin and never click back to my website ...

So what can be done? Will WordPress.org offer a Developers Console?

  • Your edit changed the meaning too much. You could add that to the question. I rolled it back. – fuxia Oct 17 '12 at 20:39
  • hmmm well I'll leave the question title alone but the question is about active users of any plugin (not active visitors or end users). Does that help? – Damien Oct 17 '12 at 21:09
  • You changed users to sites in your edit making the answers confusing. Change it to users or sites and it is okay. – fuxia Oct 17 '12 at 21:57
  • close voting as this question is about a 3rd party policy, not about actual development – Mark Kaplun Jul 6 '16 at 11:13
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You cannot get these data.

There are several issues with plugin usage tracking:

  • No clear definition of a user: Think multi-site, local installations, intranets …
  • Privacy: You would have to ask the user before you can activate tracking. There are many good reasons not to send any data to an unknown entity without consent (traffic, sensitive information).
  • Different laws: In Germany I need a double opt-in just to send comment notifications. Other countries require different procedures. And you need a privacy policy that every user can understand (good luck translating that!) and that doesn’t break any law. Even Google Analytics cannot do that.

A unified API in WordPress itself is almost impossible and very hard to support. Don’t expect that to happen.

And finally: You don’t need that information. Write good code, ask for feedback, but get used to the fact that most users just don’t care about your curiosity. Use your bug tracker or other feedback to improve the plugin, not statistical data.

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  • 3
    While I agree with everything you say here ... consider the whole WordPress Eco-System ... .. every plugin already has a download stat and active site stats is possible as each site pings WP.Org at least 1x per day. Its an old argument that WordPress can't do this when Apple, Android, etc already provide the same stats and better. – Damien Oct 16 '12 at 12:12
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There's been some significant updates in the WordPress ecosystem since this question was asked, and I would like to clarify something about usage tracking code in plugins and themes on WordPress.org. It's completely OK if you ask permission from users.

To offer a free version of my plugin on WordPress.org, I use Freemius, which offers insights and analytics. I'm a plugin developer (my plugin is called WP Stripe Global) and Freemius is totally free for startup businesses like mine to use their analytics.

In my experience, it's by far the best platform available for getting exactly this type of information. I don't know of any other platforms that offer in-depth stats for plugin or theme developers...If you find one, please let me know.

With Freemius, I can get all the below info when users install my plugin from WordPress.org.

  • Email address of site admin
  • Events: install, activation, up/downgrade, deactivation, and uninstall
  • On deactivation of the plugin, a simple feedback form pops up asking why users are deactivating

It's been super useful to help understand my users and learn more about how to make my product better.

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Close voting the question, but since it ill take time if it will even be deleted so here goes a more updated answer.

Since the time the question was asked it seems like policy had been changed and few plugins ask for a permission to collect some "telemetry" information. I think that the main thing in getting such a plugin to be approved is for the user to be notified about it.

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I was interested in this question too and after some research, I can say that WordPress.org does not provide detailed data about your active installs.

After publishing my plugin to the WP.org repository I was searching for some ways to track plugin's downloads, active users and other metrics such as position in the search for specific keywords, etc. WordPress provides an API for plugins/themes, but data is also limited.

Using third-party tracking tools also seems not a good idea, because your plugin may be rejected (due to security policy).

Finally, I've stopped with an online dashboard made for WordPress plugin developers - https://wpdevmetrics.com. It doesn't require inserting any tracking code and just summarize and provide insights that are available via API.

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