Matt Mullenweg just announced that WordPress has released a new stats plugin for bloggers who self-host their own installation of WordPress. The plugin, developed by Andy Skelton, uses the WordPress API key and is similar to the stats feature included with wordpress.com accounts.
One of the biggest advantages of this new stats plugin is that WordPress hosts the stats in their own database and generate the reports on their end, which shifts the load from your host’s server to WordPress’ servers. This is great for performance related issues, especially if your blog is being hit with a massive digg. It also makes it really easy for WordPress to upgrade and add new functionality to the stats feature.
It lets self-hosted WordPress bloggers use the exact same traffic metrics system we provide to WordPress.com users. It tracks post and page views, referrers, search terms, and clicks on your external links. It takes moments to install if you already have a WordPress blog and a WordPress.com API key. And itâ€™s totally free.
Andy posted a detailed write-up, answering a few questions about the stats plugin.
UPDATE: Andy has posted a follow-up on the stats plugin launch with more on the reasons behind the centralized reporting.