Website Monitoring Services I recently did a small experiment to evaluate the reliability and response time of various website monitoring services available on the Internet.
In case you are new, these services continuously monitor your website(s) for downtime and send email alerts as soon as your web server goes down or becomes slow and inaccessible. You get another alert when the site is up again.
Also see: Use Google Docs as Website Uptime Monitor
For this test, I configured my site with Uptime Party, Pingdom, Watch Mouse, Site Uptime and Zoho’s Site 24×7. They are all commercial site monitoring services but also offer a trial version which is good for around 30 days.
Now as you would know, the site went down last week for a couple of hours due to some issues with the file server of the web hosting company but this was a good opportunity to test how quick and reliable these site monitoring services are.
Here’s a snapshot of email alerts that came from all the above services along with the exact time when these alerts were received.
As you may have noticed, Pingdom was able catch the downtime within seconds while Watch Mouse and Site Uptime were late by 5-10 minutes. Uptime party sent a notification almost 30 minutes after the site went down.
When the site was up and running again, Pingdom and WatchMouse were the first one to send an uptime email alert while the rest two were late by 10-15 minutes.
The problem resurfaced yesterday night when the site went down and here’s a snapshot of email alerts from the second instance. Pingdom response time impressed again.
I was not too sure why there were no email alerts from Site24x7 and it later turned out that site monitoring was disabled in the control panel. Have no clue why that happened so can’t really comment on Zoho’s service.
Finally, here’s a quick chart comparing the price of various website monitoring services for bloggers and small web publishers.
Site Monitoring Services
more about Website Monitoring Services
Monitoring is essential to ensure that a website is available to users, downtime is minimized, and performance can be optimized. Users that rely on a website, or an application, for work or pleasure will get frustrated or even stop using the application if it is not reliably available.
monitoring can cover many things that an application needs to function, like network connectivity, Domain Name System records, database connectivity, bandwidth, and computer resources like free RAM, CPU load, disk space, events, etc. Commonly measured metrics are response time and availability (or uptime), but consistency and reliability metrics are gaining popularity.
Measuring a website’s availability and reliability under various amounts of traffic is often referred to as load testing.
Website monitoring also helps benchmark the website against the performance of a competitors to help determine how well a site is performing. Website speed is also used as a metric for search engine rankings.
Website monitoring can be used to hold web hosting providers accountable to their service-level agreement. Most web hosts offer 99.9% uptime guarantee and, when uptime is less than that, individuals can be refunded for the excessive downtime. Note that not all hosts will refund individuals for excessive downtime so one must become familiar with the terms of service of their host.
Most paid website monitoring services will also offer security features such as virus and malware scanning which is of growing importance as websites become more complicated and integral to business.
Website monitoring is the process of testing and verifying that end-users can interact with a website or web application as expected. Website monitoring is often used by businesses to ensure website uptime, performance, and functionality is as expected.
Website monitoring companies provide organizations the ability to consistently monitor a website, or server function, and observe how it responds. The monitoring is often conducted from several locations around the world to a specific website, or server, in order to detect issues related to general Internet latency, network hop issues, and to prevent false positives caused by local or inter-connect problems.
Monitoring companies generally report on these tests in a variety of reports, charts and graphs. When an error is detected monitoring services send out alerts via email, SMS, phone, SNMP trap, pager that may include diagnostic information, such as a network trace route, code capture of a web page’s HTML file, a screen shot of a webpage, and even a video of a website failing. These diagnostics allow network administrators and webmasters to correct issues faster.
Monitoring gathers extensive data on website performance, such as load times, server response times, page element performance that is often analyzed and used to further optimize website performance.
Types of protocol
A website monitoring service can check other internet protocols besides HTTP pages and HTTPS such as FTP, SMTP, POP3, ActiveSync, IMAP, DNS, SSH, Telnet, SSL, TCP, PING, UDP, SOAP, Domain Name Expiry, SSL Certificate Expiry and a range of ports.
Monitoring frequency occurs at intervals of once every 4-hours to every 15-seconds. Typically, most website monitoring services test a server, or application, between once-per hour to once-per-minute.
These services test a website by running a web browser through a typical website transaction (such as a shopping cart) or a custom scenario, in order to check for user experience issues, performance problems, and availability errors.
Advanced monitoring services capture browser interactions with websites using macro recorders, or browser add-ons such as Selenium or iMacros.
An implementation of time performance monitoring for the Apache HTTP Server is the mod_arm4 module.