Last updated Jun 17 2020

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!

Start session recordings on your website

Sign up for a free Hotjar account, add the tracking code to your site and start using session recordings today.

How to set up session recordings and record website visitors

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

record-visitors-button

Step 2: set the number of Recordings to generate

step-1

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

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Step 4: configure your Recording Options

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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.

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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—such as 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

Hotjar Session Recordings let you see how real, anonymized visitors use your site: you can watch their keyboard strokes, mouse movements and clicks, and how they scroll across multiple pages to find out how they interact with different features and elements. Session recording tools make it easier to understand user behavior so you can learn how to improve the overall user experience. Learn more about what to look for in your session recordings in the first chapter of this guide.

Hotjar Session Recordings record user interactions without capturing any sensitive data. Users are anonymized by default, and session recordings are reconstructions of these anonymized users’ interactions on your site. Hotjar’s session recording software can be used in a GDPR- and CCPA-compliant manner; learn more about Hotjar’s approach to privacy.

Your first Session Recording event will be automatically triggered when you sign up with Hotjar. Depending on how much traffic you get to the page(s) you’re recording, you could potentially start watching session replays just minutes after set-up.

The number of recordings you get per snapshot depends on your plan: recordings are unlimited with Hotjar’s Plus and Business plans; our Free Forever plan lets you capture up to 300 recordings.

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