Why are Page Views higher than Downloads for the same file?

It is common for your page views reports to include a higher number of hits than your downloads reports for the same file. For example, many customers report to us that specific PDF files display more hits under the Requested Pages report than they do in the Downloads report.

Here's why:

In the case of a PDF file, many browsers include a plug-in that displays PDF files one page at a time. The initial page request results in a 200 status code from the web server. All subsequent pages result in a 206 (partial download) status code since the browser plugin only downloads the page you are viewing and not the entire document. So, in the case where you view 5 PDF pages from the same document, the web server will record one hit with a 200 status code and 4 hits with a 206 status code, all logged as the same PDF document.

Here's how Urchin Reports interpret and display this information:

Downloads: A download hit requires a status code of 200, 302 or 304, so the report will show only one download for this PDF file - e.g. the single hit with the 200 status code.

Requested Pages: The report will show all successful file requests where the status code is 2XX, 302 or 304 and where the file is matches the proper MIME type to be considered a page view. By default, Urchin 5 treats all MIME types as page views except for files with these suffixes: gif,jpg,jpeg,png,js,css,cur,ico,ida.

So, the 5 PDF requests in the example above would all be counted as hits to this document in the Requested Pages report page views, since each hit contained either a 200 or 206 status code.

The choice was made to count each partial download hit (206 status) as a discrete page view in the Requested Pages report since each hit more or less corresponds to a single page within a multi-page PDF document. This is consistent with the philosophy of the Requested Pages report representing actual page impressions seen by a visitor.