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How to set up session recordings and record website visitors

Setting up session recordings takes just a couple of minutes when you have specific session recording software to collect the data for you. If you decide to give it a try with Hotjar, you’ll be in good company—between April 2018 and 2019, we collected 729,003,602 recordings for our customers and users!

Hotjar Tools

Last updated

27 Sep 2021

Record website visitors in 5 steps

After you sign up for Hotjar and install your tracking code, go to the main Hotjar dashboard and select “Recordings” from the left sidebar menu.

Step 1: click the “Record Visitors” button

Step 2: set the number of Recordings to generate

The maximum number of recordings per snapshot depends on your plan. Recordings will stop being collected once the number you select has been reached (but you can re-start the recordings again if required).

Step 3: choose a target page or trigger

Step 4: configure your Recording Options

Recording options help you specify when Recordings will be collected. You can set recordings to activate only when click and scroll activity is detected, only for sessions of 30 seconds and longer, and to record keystroke data.

An important note about privacy

Hotjar Recordings will only display allowed keystrokes in form inputs, though some fields (such as credit card numbers) are always suppressed to protect your visitors; we also have a range of tools for suppressing personally identifiable information outside of forms. Read more about Hotjar’s approach to privacy.

Step 5: hit 'Start Recording' and you’re all set

That’s it: you’re now collecting session recordings! You won’t have to wait long before you can start watching them and finding ways to improve your website.

3 tips to optimize your session recordings

To get the most out of session recordings, make sure you’re getting insight that you can act on. Consider these three tips when you start recording to ensure you’re able to use what you learn from watching replays:

1. Test different recordings configurations

When you sign up with Hotjar and install your Tracking Code, your first Recording event will be created and started automatically (across your whole website). This is a good opportunity for you to learn what you really need to see—and what you don’t. Based on what you learn from this initial recording, you can test different configurations and settings. Try different iterations of steps 3 and 4 outlined above to figure out the best way to get the most valuable insight. Note: recordings are unlimited from Hotjar’s Plus plan and onwards; our Free Forever plan lets you capture up to 300 recordings. Each of our plans give you the opportunity to test different configurations and settings, so you have time to learn what works best for you.

2. Make sure your recordings are set up for A/B testing

If you’re running an A/B test, recordings will show you how your visitors are reacting to and interacting with different variations of your site, pages, or features. Use filters, tags, and sorting options (covered in the User Recordings Analysis chapter of this guide) to keep track of specific pages or page elements that you’re A/B testing. Plan to watch recordings after new launches, page updates, and other relevant changes or tests that you run on your site.

3. Combine recordings with other tools

Session recordings can take a lot of the guesswork out of optimizing your site, but when you combine recordings with other analytics tools—like heatmaps and on-site surveys—you can dig even deeper into user behavior to identify which changes need to be made to improve the user experience (UX) and increase conversion rates (CRO).

Learn more about which tools to combine with session recordings in the Advanced chapter of this guide.

Common FAQs when recording website visitors

Start session recordings on your website

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