No Referring Link – Explained

Hi folks,

“Came From” Stats

Your StatCounter “Came From” stats provide you with information about how people are coming to your site.

In your “Came From” stats you will see a list of sites via which visitors come to your site. These sites which refer visitors to your site might be forums, blogs, search engines, directories or websites of any kind that provide links to your site. You may also see entries for “No Referring Link” – we’ll explain what this means in this post.

Indirect and Direct Visitors

Visitors to your website can arrive in two distinct ways. For example:

A Vistor Can Arrive at your site INDIRECTLY by:

  • Clicking though to your website from a Search Engine
  • Following a link to your site on a blog
  • Clicking a link in a forum where someone recommends your site

OR a Visitor Can Arrive at your site DIRECTLY by:

  • Typing your web address directly into their browser address bar
  • Clicking a bookmarked link to your site in their browser

Indirect Visitors

If a visitor arrives at your site via a search engine, the visitor has been referred to your site by the search engine therefore you will see a referring link from the search engine in your stats.


In other words, you will only see a referring link in your stats, if a visitor has been referred to your site by another website, blog, forum or search engine.

Direct Visitors

If a visitor arrives at your site by typing your website address directly into their browser, the visitor has NOT been referred to your site by any other site, therefore you will see a “No Referring Link” entry in your StatCounter stats.


In other words, if a vistor comes to your site directly (i.e. without being referred to your site by any other site), then there is no referring link for that visitor.

No Referring Link – what’s the significance?

There are a number of reasons why you could have a high proportion of “No Referring Link” entries in your stats. For example:

  • People may get to know your web address offline (e.g. in flyers or newspapers) so they simply go directly to your site rather than looking for your site in a search engine.
  • You may have a lot of returning visitors who have bookmarked your site so that they can quickly revisit it.

As usual, comments, questions and suggestions welcome!

To ensure that all referring links are captured, you should make sure that you have StatCounter code installed on all pages of your site. It is not sufficient to have StatCounter installed on your homepage only. This is because visitors may enter your site at any page not just your homepage.


  1. Just wanted to let you know that it’s not showing up properly on the BlackBerry Browser. Anyway, I’m now on the RSS feed on my laptop, so thanks!

  2. What happens when a visitor comes from a desktop RSS client, such as FeedDemon? Does this trigger also a “no referring URL”?

  3. Oh finally i’ve got some explanation, bcause my stats got a lot of blank referrer ..

    thanks 🙂

  4. hi there,

    I think my counter has been stopped, as it is not registering any hits for my website since a couple of hours ago. the page and the server are not down – I just entered it, but even my access was not registered by the counter.

    are you having any problems now?



  5. Tried to check the forums and got this: Your IP Address is Banned in the StatCounter Forum. Used to allow my IP.

  6. Thank you for the info…It’s surprised me how quickly people are either typing in or bookmarking my url. I found the ‘blank entries’ explanantion helpful as well…much appreciated!

  7. Remember that the referrer is not available if you have an entry page with no counter code on it.

    StatCounter Team Response:

    Great point Car Guy – thanks.

  8. Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering why I have so many “no referring url”. My readers must have bookmarked my site.

    I’m happy to know.


  9. Ramnath, your answer is posted in the Support forum, look here;

  10. John, I get those all the time too. I’m almost certain those are the search engine bots running their indexing.

  11. Thanks,

    Well, I looked at the hostname of each visitor (in “Recent Visitor Activity”), but I can’t see “google/yahoo/microsoft/ask”, just a lot ‘Spiders’ and ‘crawlers’ when I access their IP addresses, probably searchers, as you say.

  12. This has been a question for long though I cant believe there are visitors who can remember complex domain names. There is one more issue that bothers in my mind. If a visitor visits an url say and leaves that page in the report it shows that the visitor spent 0 secs. Can yoy pls address this..

  13. In my snipped list of ‘Popular Pages’ (from my website), I have a missing webpage (as seen below against the ’19’ visits); is this anything to do with ‘No Referring Link’? or why is it blank?
    110 Number of Visitors to STTA Website
    90 Surrey Ranking Lists
    67 Latest News
    17 Surrey_Senior_Men_Ranking_List
    16 TT Links


    StatCounter Team Response:

    Hi John,

    The issue you describe is NOT related to the “no referring link” issue.

    The “blank” entries you describe generally happen when a search engine visits your site to index it. A regular visitor to your site uses a browser and the browser sends us information about the pages visited – this allows us to compile the popular pages stat. A search engine crawler does not visit your site using a traditional browser and does not broadcast information about the pages viewed – hence the “blanks” you see.

    To confirm this you should click the small “drilldown” icon to the left of the “blank” in your stats. Next select “Recent Visitor Activity” as your drilldown option. Look at the hostname of each visitor and you should find that the visitors are google/yahoo/microsoft/ask.

    Hope this explains!

  14. Let’s not forget about private browsing, copy and paste links and those who have blocked refererHeader.

  15. What happens if someone comes indirectly, but chooses to open the linked page in a new tab?

    StatCounter Team Response:

    Good question!

    Tabbed browsing doesn’t have any impact on what we say in the post James. If someone arrives INDIRECTLY you’ll get a referring link in your stats (whether or not they open your page in a new tab or window).


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