Comparing the Top Website Session Recording Software Tools

A session recording software is a tool that allows you to record your website visitors’ browsing sessions in real-time. You can replay the session recording later and see exactly what your users were doing on your website, what they like and why they churn.

Why Use Session Recording on Website?

Your website is a living presentation card representing your business. Website session recording allows you to understand the full journey of your customers as they browse through your website. With session recording, you can learn:

  • How users click and navigate through your website
  • How rage users click and frustrated on your website
  • Discover hidden issues on your website

In this article, we will compare the trending session recording tools available in the market according to a few aspects:

  1. Able to record shadow dom
    • Many websites are using latest JS framwork such as Vue.js which adopt shadow dom. Most of the session recording tools don’t support shadow dom.
  2. Pricing
    • Pricing is one of the main factors we would be considering compare with all the other features provided by the software tools
  3. Other features
    • The session recording tool is already very powerful for capturing user journey on your website. However, we also considering other useful features such as heatmaps, rage click detector, feedback/survey and reporting.

UXsniff

UXsniff is considered a new player in the industry. There are a few things we like about UXsniff:

  • Simple and clean UI.
  • Easy to setup
  • Interactive heatmaps and clickmaps
  • Watchdog and rage alerts.
  • Feedback widget that allows user to print screen and send us the feedback regarding issues on our website.

We have tried different tools and we end up using UXsniff because we are tired of watching few hundreds of recordings everyday. We love the watchdog service that pretty much looking our for abnormal user behavior. We will watch the recordings when there are abnormal user activities reported.

There are a few things we hope UXsniff could improve:

  • Bug tracking – It would be a perfect watchdog service that not only looking for abnormal behavior but also tracking bugs and issues.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Feedback widget
  • On-site survey
  • Support shadow dom
  • Funnels ❌
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • a/b test ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $79/mo for 500 daily sessions

Hotjar

Founded in 2014, Hotjar is a very famous session recording tool in the industry. We were using Hotjar for some time and there are a few things we like about Hotjar:

  • The interactive heatmaps – We love the interactive heatmaps where it shows the number of clicks and details when we mouse over the heatmap.
  • We like the smooth and accurate session recording as well.
  • Great UI and easy to use interface.

However, there is something we don’t like about Hotjar:

  • The heatmaps were not auto captured, you have to specify which page you would like to capture the heatmap.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Feedback widget
  • On-site survey
  • Funnels
  • Support shadow dom
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • a/b test ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $80/mo for 500 daily sessions

Full Story

We have tried the free plan on Fullstory. It’s kind of strange that they don’t have a public pricing and you will need to contact the sales and request a quote for the Business and Enterprise plans.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Funnels
  • Support shadow dom
  • Feedback widget
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • a/b test ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: Contact sales

Yandex Metrica

Yandex is a good alternative for small website and it’s Free. Features wise, it supports heatmaps, session recordings and a/b test, very good enough for some basic UX researches and analytics.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • a/b test
  • Funnels
  • Support shadow dom
  • Feedback widget
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: Free

Open Replay

Open Replay is an open source, self-hosted available tools for session recording. Open Replay is a good alternative when storing user information locally is your concern. You have 100% control of the data you have collected by self-hosting the open source solution on your own server.

Open Replay also has a cloud option where they host the software for $4/1000 sessions. A fair enough pay-as-you-go pricing plan.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Funnels
  • a/b test
  • Feedback widget
  • Bug tracking
  • Self-hosted option
  • Support shadow dom
  • On-site survey
  • Pricing: Free for self-hosted, or $4/mo per 1,000 sessions

CrazyEgg

Crazyegg was founded 2006, one of the fist batched of heatmap tools available in the early days. Later, Crazyegg has evolved and added more features such as session recording, a/b test to keep up with the competition.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • a/b test
  • Feedback widget
  • Funnels 
  • Support shadow dom
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $99/mo for 1k recordings

Smartlook

Smartlook records user sessions on websites as well as in mobile applications. It analyzes and filters the session recording for idle period. Imagine there is a 50 minutes length of recordings and there are only a few clicks and mouse movement. Skipping the idle period saves you lots of time.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Funnels 
  • a/b test
  • Feedback widget 
  • Support shadow dom
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $111/mo for 15k sessions

Mouse Flow

Mouseflow was founded in 2009, already in the industry very early compare with Hotjar. Mouseflow pretty much offering the similar features but it’s less well-known compare with Hotjar.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Funnels 
  • Feedback widget 
  • a/b test
  • Support shadow dom
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $24/mo for 8k sessions

Lucky Orange

Founded in 2010, headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas and already in the industry for 10+ years just like Crazyegg.

Features:

  • Heatmaps
  • Session recordings
  • Funnels 
  • Feedback widget 
  • a/b test
  • Support shadow dom
  • On-site survey
  • Bug tracking ❌
  • Self-hosted option ❌
  • Pricing: $35/mo for 40k sessions

Conclusions

Analytics tells you something but not everything. In order to understand the real problems behind your customers’ decision making, you have to look into the full user journey.

Session recording is the solution to see exactly what your users were doing on your website. However, session recording has limitations when it comes to scale.

You would be interested to watch 5 – 10 session recordings every day but not 500 recordings a day. If your website has decent traffic, the software has to be inteligent enough to monitor the user behavior and only highlight abnormal activities or click events.

It seems like UXsniff and Hotjar already aware of the market demand. UXsniff come out with its watchdog service where Hotjar come out with a ‘highlight’ indicator to indicate rage click events.

I believe all these trending session recording tools will release more satisfying features to meet the market demand soon or later.

Lastly, here you go the table of the overall comparison:

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