Countly Basics


We Are Countly

Countly is an innovative, real-time, open source product analytics application, built with features for every team. It collects data from mobile phones, desktop apps (Mac OS X & Windows), web apps, and websites, and visualizes this information to analyze application usage and end-user behavior. Countly is product analytics for companies that care about user data privacy.

Community Edition vs. Enterprise Edition

There are 2 editions of Countly that serve different needs:

  • Countly Enterprise Edition: This is a full-featured, open source, customizable, white-labeled, on-premise mobile analytics stack including Countly server, more than 10 SDKs, client API libraries, extensive documentation with enterprise-grade support and SLA terms. Pricing is dependent on plans tailored to client requirements. More details can be found here.

  • Countly Community Edition: This is our open-source, self-hosted, non-commercial version of the Countly mobile analytics and web analytics platform. The Community Edition is free forever.

Below is a more detailed list of the differences between the two editions:

  • Audience: Community Edition is for product managers, developers and analytics enthusiasts, whereas banks, operators, hospitals and businesses that run the world's leading websites choose Enterprise Edition.
  • Deployment: Community Edition deployments are for environments where the information stored is not critical since it does not include professional assistance. You must have a qualified technician. Enterprise Edition is for corporate environments that require availability and reliability where intellectual capital is critical.
  • Technology: Community Edition has a number of limitations, including no corporate support for sharding, replica sets or installation.
  • Guarantee: Community Edition is on the bleeding edge regarding version upgrades and with no bugfix guarantee. Enterprise Edition has bugfix guarantee, immediate resolution, verified builds, on-site and automatic version upgrades.
  • Features: Enterprise Edition has more features compared to Community Edition, with a focus on end-to-end analytics and marketing platform.

For more information about what each edition includes, and a comparison of different editions, see this table.

How Countly Works

Countly tracks users on mobile apps as well as web and desktop apps using a small plugin (SDK) that you integrate in your application (or website) in under 10 minutes. As soon as there is any activity or event on any of these platforms, Countly immediately starts collecting data.

Through a host of available plugins, Countly allows you to track the metrics that matter the most to you, as well as apply the results you get to engage with your customers, boost interaction and retention, optimize the user journey, minimize causes of friction, get feedback, and even test new features - all without leaving Countly. Each team can use Countly's product analytics to track the metrics that are important to them, and all teams can cohesively work toward applying this data to making better business decisions. The interconnectedness of Countly's various features unlocks the potential for companies to completely change their users' journeys and experiences. Speak to an analytics expert at Countly here or our Customer Success team (for existing customers) to know more about getting the most from Countly.

Hosting Options in Countly: Self-hosted vs. Private Cloud Deployment

Countly offers two hosting options. You may either install Countly on-premises (i.e., self-hosted) or let Countly handle the deployment, maintenance, and backup procedures for you through a private cloud deployment that is Countly hosted. 

With the private cloud option, Countly is responsible for the server-setup, configuration, maintenance, and backup procedures of the entire solution, whereas self-hosted companies are responsible for these steps (with complete support from the Countly team) in the on-prem option. Upgrades are automated and done by Countly if you choose the private cloud deployment option, whereas this falls to the client in the case of self-hosted.

Both options are supported by Privacy by Design, and compliant with data privacy regulations. However, the self-hosted option is generally preferred by clients who have some technical expertise and for whom privacy and data ownership are critical by law and local and regional regulations, or simply by business principles.

Security Measures in Countly

We take the privacy and security of all our users very seriously. To ensure that your data and that of your users is protected and private, Countly undertakes the following practices, among others:

  • When you opt for private cloud deployment, all data is hosted on a dedicated server with Amazon’s AWS service or Google Cloud Services, which are two leading global cloud services.
  • All Countly employees are bound by strict confidentiality agreements. Access to data is provided on a need-to-know basis only.
  • You own your data, and Countly does not share it with any 3rd parties.
  • Countly has several security precautions like SSL connection, reCAPTCHA, brute force attack, password policy, and (for enterprise customers) data-at-rest encryption.

Countly Updates, Update Schedules, and Update Notifications

Countly launches around two major updates per year, focusing on different aspects of the platform with the goal to provide an even more effective product analytics solution for our clients. We also have interim updates where we address smaller issues to provide an enhanced experience for our clients.

Countly Community Edition update packages are available for download in this GitHub repository, while Countly Enterprise Edition users are either contacted by their respective account manager or are given access to a repository where they can download update packages. In addition, we distribute all SDK updates through our GitHub page. Countly changelog lists all Countly versions and corresponding changelogs. The news of new version launches is also shared by email and on our blog. Follow the Countly blog to remain informed of all updates.

The Countly Assistant, which is enabled by default and available for both the Enterprise Edition and the Community Edition, will notify you when there is an update on major SDKs as well as Countly server with a bell icon on the top right of your Countly panel.

Languages that Countly Supports

Countly supports more than 10 languages. Head over to Countly localization project and support us if your language is not on the list. Sending an email to us will suffice to start.

Version Names and Numbers

Version names are in the format of YY.MM.VV where YY and MM denote the year and month when the release is submitted, and VV is the minor release number (if any). We aim at two major updates a year, and additional minor updates as may be required. For the curious, numbering resembles Ubuntu's release model.

Operating Systems that Countly Supports

Countly officially offers integration with the world's three leading smartphone operating systems, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Also, Countly can track desktop applications and any devices which are capable of sending HTTP requests in general, including but not limited to Windows and macOS. For a list of SDKs, see this page.

Countly for Desktop Analytics

You can track desktop analytics with Countly. In order to ensure ease of use, Countly uses the same SDK for iOS and macOS, which you can use to track all your macOS applications. There is also a Windows SDK that you can use to track your Microsoft Windows apps.

Using One Countly Account for Multiple Applications

You can use one Countly account to control more than one application. We see companies maintaining more than 300 apps at once, on a single server. With Countly's security and data management features, you can easily setup your analytics such that specific teams receive access to specific data only. This enables multiple teams to use Countly's product analytics without the concern of data being wrongly accessed.

Tracking Data in Real Time

When a Countly SDK sends data to Countly, you see the data in real-time. There are no batch processes running in the background to visualize or collect data. This helps Countly user the ability to respond faster to product performance issues, follow live activity when required, and review the same data at the same time across teams.

Impact of Countly on Application Speed

Countly has a negligible effect on the speed of your application, ensuring that it does not adversely affect any aspect of application load time and performance. Our lightweight SDK works asynchronously and doesn't block any function calls inside your code. Profiling for iOS shows that SDK has a 2% overhead on total CPU usage. Compared to the high CPU and data consumption for services that send in-app video, this is clearly an advantage.

Our tests with an Android profiler prove Countly takes up less than 0.1% of your CPU time for a single CPU core in a typical usage scenario of a 5-minute session where 5 events and 8 requests are sent. This number will be lower than 0.1% for more CPU cores.

Events to Track by Industry

Most of the basic events in your mobile applications and websites are similar, but some events specifically for a domain may provide more insights for your product.

We have created predefined events and shown you what kind of insights those events will give you:

Monitoring Data Point Consumption

Data points include Sessions, Events, information sent when a crash occurs, or when a user responds to a Push Notification. These data points are automatically calculated and reported under Utilities > Data Points.

You may view the sample screenshot below. Clicking on each of the months will give you the number of data points consumed by each application as well as all data points under the title "All apps".

Roles of Each User Type

As part of its data privacy focus, Countly enables you to set roles for each person who has access to your data through Countly. You can choose the role to assign to each person based on the access you wish for them to have. This document explains each Countly menu item as well as which ones may be accessed by which user type.

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