Plausible vs. Matomo - What's The Best Self-Hosted Google Analytics Alternative?

Knowing your website's numbers and where your traffic is coming from is crucial, but not everyone wants to share it with Google. Here's how to have the best of both worlds.

Publish date: 1/1/2024

Knowing your website's numbers and where your traffic is coming from is crucial.

After all: you can't really steer a ship without seeing where you're going, can you?

Without keeping track of your website's visitors' actions, you'll have no idea when you're onto a winning strategy or not...

Thus the need for a website analytics tool

Website analytics provide you with the ability to keep track of your progress and reiterate when things are broken or just aren't quite working.

But deciding which website analytics tool is right for you isn't an easy choice.

The first option tends to be Google Analytics, for good reason. Everyone knows it, and it tends to do its job well.

google analytics

Admittedly, Google Analytics probably does a better job than either Plausible or Matomo.

It's convenient and just works, plus has native integrations for retargeting visitors on other Google-owned platforms.

However, do you really want to feed Google more data?

That's a choice you'll have to make.

Google's already crawling all of your content and using it for things like making its AI tool, Bard, smarter, all without paying you a single dollar.

And well... given the fact you're searching for self-hosted Google Analytics alternatives, I'd take a wild guess and assume you're probably against giving Google more data.

But the point here is: in the nature of fairness, none of these self-hosted tools will quite live up to the functionality something like Google Analytics provides.

The main benefit, though, is the fact you own your own (and your visitors) data, while still retaining a good majority of the functionality you would on a data harvesting tool like Google Analytics.

If you want the most tracking functionality, though, Google Analytics is in first place.

The best Google Analytics alternatives

In my eyes there are only two real self-hosted Google Analytics alternatives:

  1. Matomo
  2. Plausible

With a third and honorary mention being Umami (it's not quite enough of a finished product for me to recommend it, but it's very simple and has one of the best UIs out of all of the self-hosted website analytics tools--if you value simplicity, it's worth checking out).

Let me explain more:

What is Matomo?

matomo dashboard

Matomo (formerly known as Piwik) is known for its comprehensive feature set, making it a closer alternative to Google Analytics than just about any self-hosted website analytics option.

It offers a wide range of metrics, dimensions, and reports including unique features like heat maps, SEO keywords, media analytics, A/B testing, and beyond.

That said, Matomo's script size (what would need to be downloaded on your visitors' side every single time for the analytics to work) is relatively large at 22.8 KB, but that tends to come with the territory. The more that's functionality it has, the larger the script size it'll have.

In terms of privacy regulations, Matomo can be configured to comply with various data protection laws, including GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, LGPD, and PECR.

For hosting, Matomo offers an on-premise plan where your data is hosted on your own servers and a paid cloud option with servers in Germany.

Pricing varies depending on the plan (self-hosting is free), with additional features available for purchase. Matomo also offers customer support, with a more extensive support system for paying customers.


  1. Comprehensive features: Offers a wide range of metrics, dimensions, and reports, including unique features like heat maps, SEO keywords, and A/B testing​.
  2. Customizable and extensible: Supports extensive customization options and has over 100 pre-made integrations​.
  3. Privacy and compliance: Can be configured to comply with GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, and other privacy regulations​.
  4. Transparent and open source: Both the tool and its development process are open source, enhancing trust and security​.
  5. Data ownership: Provides full data ownership and doesn't share data with third parties​.
  6. Google Analytics data importer: Has a tool for importing historical data from Google Analytics.


  1. Complexity: It can be overwhelming for users who need basic analytics due to its extensive features​.
  2. Larger script size: The tracking script is larger (22.8 KB), which could potentially affect your website loading speed​.
  3. Setup and maintenance: Requires more effort to set up and maintain, especially in a privacy-compliant manner​.
  4. Cost: While there's a free version, some advanced features and support plans are paid​.

Now for Plausible:

What is Plausible?

plausible dashboard

Plausible, rather than Matomo, is designed with simplicity and ease of use in mind. I don't feel like it's trying to be Google Analytics, whereas with Matomo, I definitely get that feeling.

Plausible focuses on essential website stats like unique visitors, page views, bounce rate, and traffic sources.

That said, Plausible's analytics script is notably lightweight at less than 1 KB, arguably contributing to faster page loading times (though, either way, it's likely not too significant of a difference unless you're an optimization freak).

Plausible does not use third-party cookies or collect personal information, making it compliant with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA out of the box.

Plausible offers both on-premise and cloud hosting options, with cloud data stored in Germany. The platform provides easy-to-understand metrics and reports, and its pricing starts at $9/month for the basic plan.

For customer support, Plausible offers resources like FAQ sections, documentation, forums, and direct contact via email or social media.


  1. Simplicity: Designed for ease of use with a focus on essential website stats and metrics only​.
  2. Lightweight script: The tracking script is less than 1 KB, with minimal impact on loading speeds.
  3. Privacy-focused: Built as a privacy-first tool, Plausible does not use cookies or collect personal data, making it compliant with privacy regulations by default.
  4. Transparent and open source: Both the tool and its development process are open source, enhancing trust and security​.
  5. Data ownership: Provides full data ownership and doesn't share data with third parties​.


  1. Limited Features: Lacks some of the advanced features found in Matomo, such as heat maps.
  2. Newer platform: As a newer tool, it doesn't have the same level of support as Matomo.
  3. Limited customization: Offers fewer customization options compared to Matomo​.
  4. Basic analytics: This may not suffice for users needing in-depth analysis and detailed reports.

So what website analytics option is right for you?

If you don't care about sharing your data with Google, there is essentially no beating Google Analytics. There are pros and cons of convenience.

A good runner-up is Matomo. You can self-host it for free and control all of your data, and you'll retain a large percentage of the functionality Google Analytics provides. But there are still paid upgrade options and limitations regardless on top of their cloud offerings.

Plausible is probably the best middle ground for the majority of people. It provides the most important functionality and forgets the rest. Plus it's free and open source. It'll get the job done for most.

If you want to roll the dice on a decent Plausible alternative, Umami is worth a shot, but don't expect anything fancy. It's a sophisticated website visit counter.

How to host your own website analytics

The blog you're on right now, xTom is a decade-plus, worldwide, infrastructure as a service provider. Anywhere from VPS, to dedicated servers and beyond.

That said, for most websites, our €9.95 per month Pro VPS is more than enough to host your favorite self-hosted website analytics application. But you may be able to go even smaller than that. It just depends on the amount of traffic you're bringing in.

In terms of actually setting up website analytics, though?

Using Docker Compose

Both Matomo and Plausible provide official Docker images, so, any of the self-hosted options mentioned above (even Umami) can all be easily set up with Docker Compose.

All you would need to do is pull the respective Docker image and do some basic configuration.

For example, for Plausible, you can pull this entire repository and it already contains the necessary docker-compose.yml configuration file and all necessary prerequisites.

version: "3.3"
    image: bytemark/smtp
    restart: always

    # supported versions are 12, 13, and 14
    image: postgres:14-alpine
    restart: always
      - db-data:/var/lib/postgresql/data
      - POSTGRES_PASSWORD=postgres

    image: clickhouse/clickhouse-server:
    restart: always
      - event-data:/var/lib/clickhouse
      - ./clickhouse/clickhouse-config.xml:/etc/clickhouse-server/config.d/logging.xml:ro
      - ./clickhouse/clickhouse-user-config.xml:/etc/clickhouse-server/users.d/logging.xml:ro
        soft: 262144
        hard: 262144

    image: plausible/analytics:v2.0
    restart: always
    command: sh -c "sleep 10 && / db createdb && / db migrate && / run"
      - plausible_db
      - plausible_events_db
      - mail
      - 8000:8000
      - plausible-conf.env

    driver: local
    driver: local

Notice how it automatically uses other Docker images for the database, mailing, etc? That's the main benefit of using Docker. It's containerized and includes everything you need. Plus with Docker Compose, it's a persistent environment, so you'll have no issues months or years down the line.

Now in the case above, you would just need to edit Plausible's plausible-conf.env file, add your desired URL, then run docker compose up -d and you're off to the races.

Matomo's setup process will be nearly identical.


If you're looking for a self-hosted website analytics tool with extensive capabilities and don't mind a more complex setup, Matomo is a suitable choice.

However, if simplicity and speed are your priorities, Plausible may be the better option.

Either way, both platforms are open-source, allow for complete data ownership, and serve as great alternatives to Google Analytics.

That said if you're looking for a reliable and affordable hosting provider that you can count on, consider using us for hosting your website analytics application. You can grab a VPS from us starting at just €6.95 monthly.

Thanks for reading, and here's to owning your data!