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From Google Analytics to Matomo Part 1

ClassDojo is committed to keeping the data from our teachers, parents, and students secure and private. We have a few principles that guide how we handle user data:

  • We minimize the information we collect, and limit it to only what is necessary to provide and improve the ClassDojo products. Data we don’t collect is data we don’t have to secure.
  • We limit sharing data with third parties, sharing only what is necessary for them to provide a service to ClassDojo, and making sure that they abide by ClassDojo and legal requirements for the shared data.
  • We delete data that we collect when it is no longer needed to run the ClassDojo product

For a long time, we used Google Analytics on our main website, https://www.classdojo.com/. While we avoided including it in the ClassDojo signed-in product itself, we used Google Analytics to understand who was coming to our website and what pages they visited. We recently decided to remove Google Analytics from our main website and replace it with a self hosted version of https://matomo.org/.

Self-hosted Matomo allows us to improve our data policies in a number of ways:

  • We no longer share user activity and browser information with Google directly
  • We no longer use common google tracking cookies that allow Google to correlate activity on the ClassDojo website with other websites
  • We can customize data retention, ensuring data collected is deleted after it is no longer necessary for our product quality work

But there were some other requirements that we needed to verify before we migrated:

  • Would Matomo work in our infrastructure stack? We use stateless docker containers orchestrated by Hashicorp Nomad clients
  • Could we minimize the public surface area Matomo exposes for increased security?
  • Would Matomo scale for our regular usage patterns, and our occasional large spikes?
  • Could we deploy in a way where there is zero downtime maintenance?

Matomo was able to meet these needs with some configuration, and now we’re collecting millions of actions per day on our main website. We'll publish Part 2 soon where we’ll talk about how we architected Matomo to do this.

Dominick Bellizzi

ClassDojo's CTO, Dom enjoys refactoring, continuous delivery, and long walks on the beach with potential engineering candidates. He previously co-founded Wikispaces.

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