Excellent article about external website monitoring services
Michael Slater, Site24x7 user and co-founder of digital photography software company Fotiva, wrote to us recently regarding an article he had written in his blog. It is titled 'Using External Web Site Monitoring Services' and it talks about the need for using external monitoring services to check if your website is working fine.Here are a few excerpts from his article:
When your site goes down, you want to know about it as soon as possible. Ideally, you'd detect that something was going badly before a failure occurred, using monit or similar software running on your server. (See my article on Installing monit for Server Peace of Mind for details.) But some failures just aren't detectable in advance. Furthermore, if the failure brings down your server entirely, or is in the connectivity to the server, no software running on your server will be able to notify you.
Fortunately, there's a simple and inexpensive solution: third-party monitoring services that periodically retrieve a page from your server and send you an alert if it fails. There are many such services, most of which have a limited free option and a variety of paid plans.
Michael says Site24x7 is his current favorite service and has also written a small review of Site24x7.
My current favorite is site24x7. It has a rich set of features and flexible, reasonable pricing. The free plan will test two URLs every 60 minutes. With the paid plans, you can test as frequently as every 5 minutes (for $4/month per URL). The faster you poll, the more it costs, so you can decide for each site how critical it is to know right away, and how much you?re willing to pay to find out quickly. You can also get status reports via RSS
Assuming you're running a dynamic site, it?s not enough to know that the server responded to the page request; you want to ensure that the database and the application server are running. The simple way to do this is to have the service look for certain keywords on the retrieved page. As long as these keywords come from the database, this test gives you pretty good assurance that your application is running and is able to talk to the database. site24x7 offers this ability even on the free plan. On the paid plan, you can also test a web application using a series of URLs to step through a sequence of operations. It will even provide login credentials to the application if needed
He also gives a partial list of other similar services available such as Hyperspin, SiteUptime, etc. Thanks for mentioning us in the post, Michael! This article will be especially helpful for any business or website owner who is looking forward to use an external website monitoring service to track his websites.