__utm.gif --- how to redirect request?

Nick Pearson nick.pearson at gmail.com
Fri Sep 11 04:27:39 MSD 2009

These requests could be from crawlers.  A couple ways to tell: (1) are
the requests from just a few IPs, or from lots of different IPs?  And
(2) do the requests contain all the query string parameters that are
sent to Google Analytics?

I run several sites, all of which use Google Analytics, but I've never
seen this particular request in the logs.  I have seen some others of
unused assets that crawlers found in various JavaScript or CSS files.
Some crawlers seem to scrape all referenced files for something that
looks like a URL and then attempt to access it.  I even get requests
for "http://tel:/18002345678" from mobile site pages where I have
links like <a href="tel:18002345678">1-800-234-5678</a>.  The crawler
doesn't understand, but makes the request anyway.

I would definitely figure out why this is happening first, but to
answer your question, this should do what you need:

location ^~ /__utm.gif {
    redirect  ^  http://http://www.google-analytics.com$request_uri;

You'll want to pass the $request_uri, otherwise the request to Google
Analytics will be meaningless (because it won't contain any tracking

By the way, if the traffic is over SSL, be sure to redirect here
instead, so as not to cause a security warning in some browsers:

    redirect  ^  https://ssl.google-analytics.com$request_uri;

Also note that I haven't tested these, but I don't see why they
wouldn't work.  However, that being said, I don't know how well
browsers respect redirects for image requests.

On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 6:27 PM, Ilan Berkner <iberkner at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi All,
> Simple question, I think.
> Our error log is flooded with file not found requests for __utm.gif.  This
> is part of google analytics and for some reason, the requested pages (some)
> are trying to load it locally.
> I have yet to figure this problem out in terms of the "why" but for now, I
> want to remove it from my error log.
> 2 options:
> 1. Put a copy of the file in our root directory which will quiet down the
> error log or
> 2. Redirect requests to the file via nginx configuration file, something
> like this:
> location /__utm.gif {
>   [ redirect to: http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif]
> }
> What would be the correct format for above?
> Also, has anyone encountered this issue before?
> Thanks

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