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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 into 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?

PX insights

Last updated

24 Oct 2022

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.

Watch exactly how customers use your website

Hotjar’s tools let you track and monitor user behavior on your website to understand what drives them, so you can optimize your product for success.

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:

  • User movements 

  • Searches 

  • Clicks

  • Pages

  • Keyboard strokes 

  • Taps

  • Scroll depth 

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 behavior across segments 

Use the tool list 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:

1. Hotjar 

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 Dashboard make it easy to manage and visualize your recordings, so crucial insights and recordings never fall through the cracks. 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. 

#Hotjar gives you the option to view your most important recordings, which you can share with your team to make quick-win changes to your website.
Source: Hotjar
Hotjar gives you the option to view your most important recordings, which you can share with your team to make quick-win changes to your website. Source: Hotjar

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 Hotjar 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, user attributes like job role or whether your customers made a purchase, new and returning visitors, negative or positive feedback, 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 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 assigns a relevancy score to each recording and weighs its usefulness based on multiple metrics within a session—like the number of pages visited, number of user actions, session duration, u-turns, and rage clicks. 

  • 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.

2. Mouseflow

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.

#Mouseflow’s mouse tracker follows users’ movements during a session recording 
Source: Mouseflow
Mouseflow’s mouse tracker follows users’ movements during a session recording Source: Mouseflow

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.

3. FullStory

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.

#FullStory's website session recording software shows you where users click and scroll
Source: FullStory
FullStory's website session recording software shows you where users click and scroll Source: FullStory

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.

#Crazy Egg's screen recording software tracks mouse movement and user clicks.
Source: Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg's screen recording software tracks mouse movement and user clicks. Source: Crazy Egg

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

  • GDPR compliant

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 website session recording platform lets you view users’ rage clicks 
Source: Lucky Orange
Lucky Orange website session recording platform lets you view users’ rage clicks Source: Lucky Orange

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 

  • GDPR compliance 

6. SmartLook

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 website session recording software shows you active and completed user sessions 
Source: SmartLook
SmartLook website session recording software shows you active and completed user sessions Source: SmartLook

SmartLook's key website session recording features include: 

  • GDPR compliance 

  • 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 it’s a relatively lightweight tool compared to its competitors and lacks A/B testing tools for design improvement and UX testing, it’s useful for companies looking to improve their user experience and sales funnel on a budget.

#Microsoft Clarity lets you filter and segment session recordings 
Source: Microsoft Clarity
Microsoft Clarity lets you filter and segment session recordings Source: Microsoft Clarity

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

  • Intuitive UI and UX

  • Dynamic 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.

Watch exactly how customers use your website

Hotjar’s tools let you track and monitor user behavior on your website to understand what drives them, so you can optimize your product for success.

FAQs about website session recording software