Faster alternative to Google Analytics?

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I like to keep my websites extremely light and fast, but of course I need some kind of user tracking and analytics.

It seems like Google Analytics always takes significant enough processing time that I'd like to replace it with something faster (and/or hosted locally), perhaps having less features.

I really only care about these metrics: browser, OS, referrer, and # hits per page on a given day or week.

Does anyone have any good suggestions, or is Google Analytics really the best option?

Best Solution

You should try Asynchronous Google Analytics. It loads GA in the background, so the rest of the content on the page is not blocked from rendering:

http://code.google.com/apis/analytics/docs/tracking/asyncTracking.html

Additionally, since you first asked this question, Google has upgraded their serving infrastructure. It's now faster, and much more reliable than it was in 2008. For most sites, it's better to use Google's CDN instead of hosting ga.js yourself. Since the official ga.js is on so many sites, most users will have it in their browser cache.