NOTE: This is an archived copy of the Dragonfire Internet Services website. Dragonfire is no longer in operation; please do not attempt to contact any of the addresses listed on this site.

Note: Dragonfire's counter is temporarily disabled due to problems with server overloading. It will be re-enabled when the problem has been alleviated.

Using Dragonfire's Web Page Counter

Dragonfire provides a page counter that can be used by both users of Dragonfire and by remote web sites.

Note that Dragonfire does not assume responsibility for the appropriateness of any counter images; all such images are contributed by Internet users. The fonts page lists the source and submitter, where known, for each set of digit images.

Caveat emptor: Web counters are inherently inaccurate due to the basic nature of the World Wide Web. Several factors may (and will) prevent any counter from displaying the true number of visitors or hits to a page. These include:

Image-disabled browsers
Users with text-only browsers, such as Lynx, and users who have image loading disabled, will never load a remote counter image, and unless you use one of the text-based counter options below, the count will not be updated.
Caching (local storage of documents)
Many browsers, and an increasing number of servers, keep local copies of frequently-accessed documents to reduce access time and network load. However, if a page includes an inline counter (such as Dragonfire's local counter), that count will be stored in the cache and not updated until the document is flushed from the cache.
Counters cannot distinguish between two different people visiting a page and one person reloading the page. (The phenomenon sometimes called "counter terrorism", i.e. frequently reloading a page to inflate the counter value, is based on this fact.)
So don't put too much stake in what a counter tells you.

Web pages on Dragonfire

There are two counter versions available to Dragonfire's users: a text-only one, and one that will display graphics on a graphical browser and text on a text-based browser. To use the counter, include one of these tags in your HTML file at the point where you want the counter to appear:

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/tcounter" -->

for the text-only counter, or

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/mcounter" -->

for the graphics-or-text counter. Note: unlike other HTML tags, this is case sensitive; the entire tag must be in lower case. There must also be no space between "<!--" and "#exec".

Using the same counter on multiple pages:

Normally, the counter uses the filename of your page to form a "counter name", i.e. a unique string that corresponds to the access count for the page. However, if you want to use the same counter on multiple pages, you can give an explicit counter name to the counter scripts. For example, if you wanted to display your homepage's counter on another of your pages, and your homepage's URL was, you would use one of these lines (the first for text-only, the second for graphics-and-text):

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/tcounter?/~username/home.html" -->
<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/mcounter?/~username/home.html" -->

Note that the "" is stripped from the URL, since the counter and your page are both on Dragonfire. Also note that if you use a URL of to access your page (because you named your page index.html or index.htm), the default counter name for the page will include the filename (e.g. /~username/index.html).

If you're mirroring a counter, then usually you will want to have only one page that actually increments the counter, and have the rest just report the current value without changing it. The next section explains how to do that.

Keeping the counter from incrementing (a "static" counter):

If you want to prevent the counter from incrementing when a page is accessed, then add "-static" to the name of the CGI script, but before any counter name. For example:

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/mcounter-static?/~username/home.html" -->

would report (graphically, if possible) the current value of the /~username/home.html counter, but would not change its value.

Hiding the counter:

If you want to have a counter on a page but not have it actually displayed, you can surround the counter tag with an HTML comment. For example:

<!-- <!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/tcounter"--> -->

Changing the graphical counter font:

If you want to use a different font than the default digital font, you can tell the counter script so by adding "?&font=N" to the end of the counter request. If you also want to specify a counter name, insert it between the question mark (?) and ampersand (&). Examples:

<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/mcounter?&font=1" -->
<!--#exec cgi="/cgi-bin/mcounter?/user/home.html&font=3" -->

Click here for a list of the currently available fonts.

Creating your own font:

Sorry, but at the moment Dragonfire's counter can't take new fonts.

Pages on remote sites

If you are on a remote site but still want to use the counter, you're not entirely out of luck. There is a third version of the counter that works for both local and remote pages, but can only output graphical images (those using text-based browsers will not be able to see the counter). To access it, you use an <img> tag like the following:

<img src="">

where your-URL is the URL of your page (e.g. The information above regarding static counters and fonts is still applicable.

Andy Church
Last update: 26 October 1998