Hits represent the total number of requests made to the server during the given time period (month, day, hour etc..). The requests can be for anything, whether it be HTML pages, graphic images, audio files, CGI scripts, etc. This should not be considered the number of visitors to your website since one visitor could request 5 pages all of which contain 5 images, which are also requested. This would result in 30 “hits” (6 requests for the page itself and it’s images X 5 pages).
Files represent the total number of hits (requests) that actually resulted in something being sent back to the user. Not all hits will send data, such as 404-Not Found requests and requests for pages that are already in the browsers cache. The things sent back to the requesting client are called files, and they can be HTML pages, graphic images, etc.
Note: The relationship between ‘hits’ and ‘files’ can be thought of as ‘incoming requests’ and ‘outgoing responses’.
Tip: By looking at the difference between hits and files, you can get a rough indication of repeat visitors, as the greater the difference between the two, the more people are requesting pages they already have cached (have viewed already).