How to monitor your website or blog

Are you looking for a simple and effective way of monitoring the uptime and responsiveness of your website or blog?  If so, this will be of interest to you.  I’ve been experiencing a few issues with the reliability of this web site recently.  It ends up that it was probably an issue with a memory leak in one of the plug-ins for caching that I used.  Up until recently I used to monitor the website from my home lab, though after recently re-building this lab I hadn’t yet got around to spinning back up the VM running my web monitoring software.  So needless to say I was left unaware of the issue my web hosting server was experiencing until I just so happened to go and look something up on the site.

This got me thinking that it may be a good time to outsource this website monitoring service so after having a good look around, and trying a few, I settled on using pingdom.com.  They offer a paid service for monitoring more than one website, as well as a free service for monitoring a single site.

Once you have registered for a logon and have added your website/blog to be monitored, you can then use the straight forward and intuitive web interface to access a number of difference metrics from the toolbar at the top of the screen.

Monitor Blog

I find the “Reports” section the most useful, as I can easily access information on;

  • The uptime of the website/blog
  • Response time  – from one of many different geographically dispersed monitoring servers.
  • Test results – the last handful of response times from the different monitoring servers located around the world.

Below: Uptime and downtime information

website monitoring uptime

Below: Site response time information which provides fastest, slowest and average response times.

Blog monitoring - response time

Below:  Your website or blog is monitored from various locations in North America or Europe.  You can define how frequently your site is scanned from one of these locations (I set mine to every 5 minutes).  The location scanned from every x minutes rotates through the list, which provides a well rounded view of the response times that visitors are potentially experiencing from a particular geographic location.  As you can see from the “Response Time” below, depending on the “Location” where my site is contacted from can provide a rough indication of whether site visitors from that geographic location may have slow load times, and therefore a poor experience when visiting my site. Of course, these response times aren’t 100% indicative of a slow connectivity issue from that region or country, as it may just be an slow or overloaded connection out of Pingdom’s monitoring service at that particular site, though it is interesting information none the less.

Website Monitoring - Pingdom[4]

Below: You are able to create a publically available report from which others can view at any time.  As with the other reports mentioned above, basic statistics such as uptime and response time are presented.  I have created a public website monitoring report that you can check out.

Blog Monitoring -Summary

Below:  As you’d expect you can set up Alert notifications.  I have configured my monitoring instance to email and send me a Twitter Direct Message (DM) if my site becomes un-contactable or when it comes back online again.  There is also a facility to send text messages.

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Another nice feature I like is the free iPhone app that you can use to view some basic uptime and response time statistics for when you are on the move.

Website Monitoring - iPhone

 

Overall I’ve been very impressed with the Pingdom.com monitoring service, especially considering it is free for a single website instance such as mine.  Pingdom’s prices for monitoring more than one site are pretty reasonable, eg: 5 sites for US$9.95 per month, especially considering the slick interface and the hassle it takes away from running your own monitoring solution from home or work.

There are plenty of other website or blog online monitoring services out there so definitely check a few out to see what one provides you with the look, feel and most importantly the monitoring features (eg: monitoring from different countries, iPhone app, etc) to meet your requirement.

About Simon Seagrave 706 Articles
Simon is a UK based Virtualization, Cloud & IT Technology Evangelist working as a Senior Technology Consultant and vSpecialist for EMC. He loves working in the ever changing IT industry & spends most of his time working with Virtualization, Cloud & other Enterprise IT based technologies, in particular VMware, EMC and HP products. As well as on this site, you can find him on Twitter and Google+

3 Comments

  1. We use http://monitive.com for uptime monitoring and it has everything Pingdom does, at a lower price and waaaay better customer support. You should check it out. One thing only, they don’t have the mobile apps so polished.

    Deak.

    • Hi Deak,

      Thanks for the heads-up about Montive. This also looks like a pretty slick monitoring service, I like the fact that it has a monitoring ping presence from the Pacific (NZ).

      Cheers,

      Simon

  2. Thanks for this Simon.
    I use http://www.monitor.us at work, but their UI is a bit clunky; although you can do more at first glance.

    I’m trying out Pingdom on my blog (www.virtuallyimpossible.co.uk) now, and I’m already a fan of both the site and iPhone app 🙂

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