Anonymous statistics

Starting with v1.12, Netdata collects anonymous usage information by default and sends it to Google Analytics. We use the statistics gathered from this information for two purposes:

  1. Quality assurance, to help us understand if Netdata behaves as expected, and to help us classify repeated issues with certain distributions or environments.

  2. Usage statistics, to help us interpret how people use the Netdata agent in real-world environments, and to help us identify how our development/design decisions influence the community.

Netdata sends information to Google Analytics via two different channels:

  • Google Tag Manager fires when you access an agent's dashboard.
  • The Netdata daemon executes the anonymous-statistics.sh script when Netdata starts, stops cleanly, or fails.

You can opt-out from sending anonymous statistics to Netdata through three different opt-out mechanisms.

Google tag manager

Google tag manager (GTM) is the recommended way of collecting statistics for new implementations using GA. Unlike the older API, the logic of when to send information to GA and what information to send is controlled centrally.

We have configured GTM to trigger the tag only when the variable anonymous_statistics is true. The value of this variable is controlled via the opt-out mechanism.

To ensure anonymity of the stored information, we have configured GTM's GA variable "Fields to set" as follows:

Field nameValue
pagenetdata-dashboard
hostnamedashboard.my-netdata.io
anonymizeIptrue
titleNetdata dashboard
campaignSource{{machine_guid}}
campaignMediumweb
referrerhttp://dashboard.my-netdata.io
Page URLhttp://dashboard.my-netdata.io/netdata-dashboard
Page Hostnamehttp://dashboard.my-netdata.io
Page Path/netdata-dashboard
locationhttp://dashboard.my-netdata.io

In addition, the Netdata-generated unique machine guid is sent to GA via a custom dimension. You can verify the effect of these settings by examining the GA collect request parameters.

The only thing that's impossible for us to prevent from being sent is the URL in the "Referrer" Header of the browser request to GA. However, the settings above ensure that all stored URLs and host names are anonymized.

Anonymous Statistics Script

Every time the daemon is started or stopped and every time a fatal condition is encountered, Netdata uses the anonymous statistics script to collect system information and send it to GA via an http call. The information collected for all events is:

  • Netdata version
  • OS name, version, id, id_like
  • Kernel name, version, architecture
  • Virtualization technology
  • Containerization technology

Furthermore, the FATAL event sends the Netdata process & thread name, along with the source code function, source code filename and source code line number of the fatal error.

Starting with v1.21, we additionally collect information about:

  • Failures to build the dependencies required to use Cloud features.
  • Unavailability of Cloud features in an agent.
  • Failures to connect to the Cloud in case the agent has been claimed. This includes error codes to inform the Netdata team about the reason why the connection failed.

To see exactly what and how is collected, you can review the script template daemon/anonymous-statistics.sh.in. The template is converted to a bash script called anonymous-statistics.sh, installed under the Netdata plugins directory, which is usually /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d.

Opt-out

You can opt-out from sending anonymous statistics to Netdata through three different opt-out mechanisms:

Create a file called .opt-out-from-anonymous-statistics. This empty file, stored in your Netdata configuration directory (usually /etc/netdata), immediately stops the statistics script from running, and works with any type of installation, including manual, offline, and macOS installations. Create the file by running touch .opt-out-from-anonymous-statistics from your Netdata configuration directory.

Pass the option --disable-telemetry to any of the installer scripts in the installation docs. You can append this option during the initial installation or a manual update. You can also export the environment variable DO_NOT_TRACK with a non-zero or non-empty value (e.g: export DO_NOT_TRACK=1).

When using Docker, set your DO_NOT_TRACK environment variable to 1. You can set this variable with the following command: export DO_NOT_TRACK=1. When creating a container using Netdata's Docker image for the first time, this variable will disable the anonymous statistics script inside of the container.

Each of these opt-out processes does the following:

  • Prevents the daemon from executing the anonymous statistics script.
  • Forces the anonymous statistics script to exit immediately.
  • Stops the Google Tag Manager Javascript snippet, which remains on the dashboard, from firing and sending any data to Google Analytics.
Last updated on