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Oxford Dictionary says

hit: ​(computing) an occasion on which a web page is displayed or a file is downloaded from the internet

Our website is getting a lot of hits from the USA.

How many hits did you get?

I can not understand it.

Do we take this definition technically?

Say, there is only 1 visitor visits the site and that person refreshes the pages of the site 100 times or he has 100 requests from the site. In this situation, can we say "My website has 100 hits a day" even though there is only 1 person visits.

Or, does "a hit" refer to a unique visitor?

Is "hit" used as a technical term for experts or as just a loose word for a casual person without much computing knowledge?

I know that many people who answer questions on this "English language Learner" site have computing or internet background. I hope they know the asnwer.

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    Well, I would certainly understand it to mean 100 accesses, with no information at all about how may different users that represented. In general, counting distinct users is hard, whereas counting accesses is easy, so I would guess that if they meant the hard thing they would make that clear.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 6, 2023 at 16:39
  • Note that "hits" are a somewhat outdated way of quantifying online reach. Small independent webpages aren't nearly as common as they were before social media, and even when we talk about page visits these days, we often use other terms. Jul 6, 2023 at 21:30

2 Answers 2

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No. "Hits" does not mean unique visitors. It refers to the number of HTTP requests made to a server for a particular resource. Back in the good old days, "hit counters" were a big part of internet culture. Nowadays the number of hits is recognised as being a bad metric, since not all hits are equal.

When you want refer to the number of unique (human) visitors you use a term like "unique visitors". You may find that many hits are repeat visitors or search engines indexing your site, or spambots searching for email addresses and so on. Each one produces "hits".

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  • If a page contains images, for example, my looking at that page causes one hit for the page itself and another for each image. Jul 6, 2023 at 17:58
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It strongly implies that they are 100 different people. The point of counting hits is to express how big of an audience you have.

In practice, it might not always mean 100 different people, either because it is hard to tell for sure (it could be one person accessing from several different IP addresses), or because someone is trying to mislead you.

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  • ChatGPT says "a hit" is "a request", not a unique visitor.
    – Tom
    Jul 6, 2023 at 17:03
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    As a professional working on websites, I have to strongly disagree. A "hit" has always referred to a request. Different people would be called unique visitors.
    – stangdon
    Jul 6, 2023 at 17:34
  • Hits is indeed simply a count of an http request and that count will always be greater than unique visitors, especially in commercial contexts where someone will be bookmarking for later, showing a product to their spouse, sharing with friends etc. But the fact that it does indeed "strongly imply different people" is why it is misused so much.
    – Yorik
    Jul 6, 2023 at 17:34

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