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.

118 comments on “No Referring Link – Explained

  1. I love traffic from Google! Or direct traffic, both are really good 🙂 getting traffic from other sites is a little hard since i don’t want to go spam a bunch of sites! Im sure no one likes that.

  2. I love direct visitors… It means someone liked my website enough to actually bookmark it, or remember the address. By the way, I am pretty sure you can add mailed links to that list as well. I mean if someone opens a link in their mail client like Outlook Express (Windows Mail) or Thunderbird or whatever, it will probably show up as direct visitor (no referrer) as well.

  3. I install statcounter on many of my clients web sites and then I send them to your blog so they can better understand the information they are viewing. Thanks for explaining it so a layman can understand it. It makes my job with my client much easier

  4. To get referrer information for a logged hit this is needed:
    1) the tracking code has to include the javascript portion (and be placed on all pages of the site);
    2) the visitor’s browser has to be javascript enabled – this means hits from robots, spiders, crawler will not contain a referrer;
    3) the user agent (browser or robot) must not be blocking the referrer information from being passed (e.g. like Opera or Firefox or other browsers through various plugins or options). Often hits from visitors using a proxy, if registered at all, will not have a referrer.

  5. There is another reason. The Opera browser has an option to disable referrer logging. As a web designer I find this useful when testing links, because I know my test page will not appear in anyone’s site stats. So if an Opera user visits your site and there is no referring link, they may well have clicked a link to get there, but it will not show if they have disabled this form of logging.

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