Learn / Blog / Article
7 best session recording tools to understand user behavior on your site
They say no one steps in the same river twice—just like no user takes the exact same journey on your website twice. But how do you get front-row tickets to that journey? This is where website session recording software comes in.
Businesses use website recording software to deeply understand how their customers move through and experience their site. But, with so many tools that suit different purposes out there, how do you pick the right software for your business and customer needs?
This is your guide to the seven best website recording tools to use in 2023: find out what website session recording software is and which goals it helps you achieve, so you feel confident in your tech stack and the changes you make to your site.
What is website session recording software and why is it important?
Website session recording software is any tool that lets website owners track and record user interactions and sessions on their websites. These tools give you playbacks (or videos) of real user actions on your digital product, so you can closely monitor:
Seeing exactly where your users drop off, abandon their cart, run into bugs, or get distracted helps you create better digital and product experiences for them.
Although recording tools give you detailed insights into user behavior on your site by letting you access replays of user sessions, user privacy must be at the core of any software you use. Protecting user data against data harvesting or mining with privacy-first tracking tools lets you glean valuable insights from your recordings without risking customer loyalty or legal complications.
Top 7 session recording tools for website owners in 2023
The right website session recording software:
Improves your website’s usability
Elevates the user experience (UX)
Protects your user’s privacy
Encourages cross-functional team collaboration
Enables easy data visualization and analysis
Helps you understand user and visitor behavior across segments
Use the list of session replay tools below to help you select a website recording software that meets your specific business needs, so you can make better decisions and prioritize updates backed by real evidence:
Hotjar (hi there, that's us 👋) is a product experience (PX) insights platform that lets you easily monitor, analyze, and share recordings of user actions on your site.
Its user-friendly interface and ability to track users across multiple tabs or windows ensures that you can understand their full journey, and don’t miss out on crucial insights.. You can also save, share, and comment on clips of important recordings for quick organization and team access.
Hotjar is also fully compliant with GDPR, CCPA, EU-US Privacy Shield, LGPD, and PCI-DSS laws, and will never sell, mine, or harvest personal data.
Use Hotjar Recordings to see what your users see and uncover more valuable information about your customers. Here’s how:
Combine Recordings with other tools, like Heatmaps, which are free forever, to get a combined view of user activity on individual web pages—so you can go deeper into patterns of user behavior. For example, if you notice similar behavior (like users skipping over a CTA or ignoring a button) in a series of recordings, use heatmaps to validate whether each visitor has a similar experience.
Filter Recordings by user behavior and actions (like rage clicks or u-turns), user attributes (like job role or whether your customers made a purchase), new and returning visitors, referrals, negative or positive feedback, errors, and more.
Integrate A/B testing tools like Optimizely and Google Optimize with Hotjar Recordings to watch playbacks of your A/B test variations and filter them by user type—for direct insights into what makes a web page successful among your customer profiles.
Easily access and share insights with your team with Hotjar Highlights. Quickly save, sort, and share snippets of key visitor recordings and create 'collections' of related insights, so it’s easier for your team to spot trends and discover opportunities. Or, you can even integrate Hotjar with Slack to share more urgent insights or recordings with your team.
Sort and watch only important recordings: Hotjar calculates frustration and engagement scores based on a range of user behavior and feedback signals to help you spend less time watching uninspiring user sessions, and more time checking the insightful ones.
Find out why users act the way they do: after you’ve noticed unusual or interesting user behavior in your recordings, place Hotjar's Feedback widgets on key pages to understand the reason behind their behavior, so you know exactly what to improve.
Spot, understand, and resolve errors before they become problems: with console tracking, monitor and investigate errors that occur on your website while watching session replays to see exactly when the errors happen, which user actions might be causing them, and how these errors impact your UX.
Mouseflow is a website tracking tool that monitors clicks, scrolls, and mouse movement within recordings of user sessions. It lets you watch retroactive recordings of your entire funnel, so you can see where users drop off or what makes them stay along their journey.
For insight into how your forms block or trigger conversions, you can watch recordings of users navigating different forms on your site. However, Mouseflow’s data retention varies depending on the pricing plan you select—which can negatively impact teams collecting insights or recordings over a longer period of time.
How Mouseflow's website session recording software helps you understand your users:
Sorts recordings by the number of friction events with a friction score
Observes funnel health and user drop-off with funnel analytics
Monitors user behavior with form analytics on specific website forms
Segments users with six types of heatmaps
Filters recordings by traffic sources and user type
GDPR and CCPA compliant with data centers in the US and Europe
💡Pro tip: for teams who value long-term data retention to achieve sustainable growth and optimization, Hotjar has 365-day data retention on every pricing plan—rather than plan-specific data retention like Mouseflow—so you can study trends or patterns in user behavior over time, or act on your insights right away.
FullStory is a ‘developer-friendly’ digital experience intelligence platform that lets you record and filter high-fidelity user sessions and collaborate with your team. The platform lets you index and search for recordings by event and user data, so you can sift through user sessions based on criteria like buttons clicked or URLs visited.
It also indexes recordings by frustration signals like error clicks, rage clicks, and thrashing cursors, which help you isolate and spot problem areas on your website. Since FullStory records all user sessions (instead of samples), it automatically includes links to session recordings on related support tickets or bug reports, so you can identify the root of the problem. However, FullStory lacks crucial voice-of-the-customer (VoC) feedback tools that let you ask users questions to understand why they behave the way they do.
How FullStory's website session recording software helps you understand your users:
Indexes recordings by event data, user data, and frustration signals to isolate and spot problem areas
Speeds up research and analysis with the 'skip inactivity' feature
Links recordings to bug reports and support tickets
Privacy control features
4. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is a popular website session recording tool for education and lead-gen companies, or businesses with a more general audience. Its session recordings feature helps you track and segment the journeys of specific types of customers—giving you key insights into form abandonment based on user personas, so you can improve your lead-generation process.
Although it has a less intuitive user interface (UI) compared to other tools and doesn’t let you ask users why they act the way they do, Crazy Egg helps you monitor the effectiveness of your web pages and adjust your design and content according to what users click on—and what they don’t.
How Crazy Egg's website session recording software helps you understand your users:
Dashboard for data visualization
Filters recordings by campaign or user segment
Displays session recordings from new or returning visitors
Segments customers with 22 heatmap filters
Recording annotations and notes
5. Lucky Orange
Lucky Orange offers session recording and replay tools that capture user-generated gestures and movements. It’s an intuitive platform that gives you control of your recordings by attaching them to specific customer profiles, and showing you when visitors enter your site in real-time, as well as the number of visitors currently active on your site.
It lets you filter and segment recordings to see where users drop off in their journey—so you can better understand why your website’s generating traffic that doesn’t convert.
Lucky Orange's key website session recording attributes include:
Visitor profiles containing links to recordings history
Real-time website visitor alerts and updates
Unlimited and customizable dashboards
Form analytics and recordings for conversion rate optimization
Dynamic heatmaps for layered insights
SmartLook’s session recording and replay software lets you visualize the user experience on your website at a micro level—and even mimics the user’s screen resolution within the recording.
The software takes an ‘always-on’ approach to monitoring user sessions and records every single visitor session on your website or app, while automatic event tracking lets you see when users complete certain actions, and how often. Although it can be tricky to filter recordings based on user type, it’s a powerful tool that helps you understand precisely how users interact with your app or website.
SmartLook's key website session recording features include:
Session recording on Android and iOS devices
Wireframe mode to zoom in on recordings based on UI
Retention tables to spot user engagement and churn
Always-on event tracking, statistics, and breakdown
Heatmaps with options to filter by device or visitor type
Conversion funnel optimization
7. Microsoft Clarity
Microsoft Clarity is a user-friendly website session recording software that typically helps SMBs—like startups, personal bloggers, or small ecommerce site owners—better understand and retain their visitors. Its simple-to-use UI lets you keep track of user session recordings without needing to navigate additional bells and whistles.
While Clarity offers a lot of heatmaps and recordings functionality, users express concerns around its GDPR compliance, and often comment that it is a cumbersome tool that leaves you to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
How Microsoft Clarity's session recording software helps you understand user actions:
Filters recordings by customer segment for added insights
Integrates with Google Analytics 360
Gives you detailed user behavior tracking with heatmaps
Dashboards for comprehensive overviews and visualizations
Pick your website session recording champion and delight users
Website session recording software helps you empathize with your users and make customer-based product and website improvements by letting you experience exactly what your visitors experience.
Remember: choosing a tool that gives you granular insights into what your visitors do on your website and why they do it lets you prioritize updates that will delight your users.
FAQs about website session recording software
7 product analytics tools every product team should know about (and why)
If you want to create a product that gives customers exactly what they need, relying on gut feel and guesswork isn’t enough. Successful product teams need to understand their users, empathize with them, and use data-driven insights to build—and optimize—their products.
The essential product manager checklist: books, skills, and lingo you’ll need
What does it take to be a great product manager? You’ve got to speak the language, know the territory, and develop the skills. Do you check these boxes?
Product managers keep talking about these 10 books
Best product management books. Great product managers never stop learning. Here are 10 top books on every PMs reading list.