Remove Google Analytics from OpenVBX

If you’ve installed OpenVBX on your server to provide an administrative backend for your virtual phone system, then you may have noticed that Twilio, Inc. – the company that released OpenVBX – has slipped a Google Analytics tracking script into the package’s source code. I consider this unethical, because they don’t state upfront that they’ve done this. They can embed Google Analytics in their own website if they want, but it’s wrong of them to put it in the software that they’re distributing.

Essentially what Twilio is doing is spying on their customers without their consent. That Google Analytics tracking script is sending information to their Google Analytics account, by default!

I make a point of avoiding doing business with Google because Google is obsessed with destroying the whole idea of user privacy, which is sacred to me. I pay good money for full-fledged webhosting partly so I don’t have to rely on any of Google’s products.

So naturally, when I discovered that there was a Google Analytics tracking script hidden inside of OpenVBX, I wasn’t happy. I set about removing the tracking code as soon as I had a spare moment. If you’d like to do the same, here’s what you do:

  1. In the shell (or your FTP client) navigate to where you have OpenVBX installed, i.e. /home/user/example.com/myopenvbxinstall/
  2. In your OpenVBX installation, there will be a folder called OpenVBX. You want to navigate into this folder, then “views”, then “layout”. (Example path: /home/user/example.com/myopenvbxinstall/OpenVBX/views/layout/)
  3. Navigate into the content subfolder. You’ll see a file called analytics.php. Open this file. Replace the entire contents with <!-- --> or, alternatively, tracking code provided by your Piwik installation. (Piwik is the open source alternative to Google Analytics, which you can run on your own server).
  4. Save the file. Now navigate back up to the “layout” folder and into the “flow-editor” folder. Again, you’ll see a file called analytics.php. Repeat the last step with this file.
  5. Save and you’re all done.

You have just removed Google Analytics from your OpenVBX installation. Privacy assured!

Written by Andrew