It’s 2019 and a Website is a must have for any business or organization if they ever want to have a competitive edge. It’s a business’s number one marketing tool. The biggest misconception among people is that you only need a website if you are selling a product online. But a quick look on the internet will show you that most websites are information and communication-based.
Did you know that the average American spends about 24 hours a week browsing? And for those with mobile devices, its 5 hours a day. All the more reason for you to have an online presence.
But this post is not about why you need a website it’s about how to monitor and manage your website. It is crucial that your website remains online and responsive at all times.
No customer wants to wait for ages before a page can load. Or worse still no one likes to be met with a 404 error telling them that this website does not exist. That is the quickest way to lose potential customers to your competitors. And from an SEO perspective, website downtime and long loading time could affect your site ranking.
So then how do you ensure that your website is up for the most part? You simply use a website monitor. It’s the perfect way to check for speed and responsiveness of your website. Even better, a website monitor can help you identify and stop a breach into your website. Any suspicious activity and you are notified immediately.
Aside from the overall site, the website monitor will help you to check specific website pages, web applications and analyze user experience.
1. SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor
Like all the other SolarWinds products I like their Website Monitor because of its in-depth functionality. It is the perfect tool for monitoring medium to large websites.
It measures the website performance by evaluating the user experience and can also be used to diagnose problems with web applications such as the CRM, ERP, and intranet before they escalate to the end user. It serves as a central point to monitor transactions from every part of your network including the firewall.
The UI is intuitively designed and comprises of several widgets highlighting the various performance analysis metrics of your website. This includes transactions that are having problems, the general health of all the transactions, and the active alerts. All this is actionable data that you can use to improve the performance of your website.
Other useful features include the ability to automatically capture screenshots of the last 10 failures. This will help give you more insight into the cause of the problem and also makes sharing the issue with team members much easier. Couple that with the custom reports of the page loads, transaction health and website availability and you have yourself the best monitoring tool.
On top of the numerous pre-configured alerts, you also have the ability to make your own custom alerts to determine when you get notifications.
SolarWinds Website performance monitor is a really great tool that has everything you will need to ensure the optimum functioning of your website. And the best part is that you can easily link it with the other SolarWinds product to achieve full monitoring of your IT infrastructure.
2. Uptime Robot
This tool started out as a free tool but the developers have been working on it over the years while adding up premium features like cloud-based monitoring to make it the comprehensive website monitoring tool it is today.
It has multiple servers spread across the world that will help you confirm the downtime from different locations. The main downtime check for the tools is made from Dallas USA but once a failure has been detected secondary tests are done from over 20 different locations across different continents.
The tool can monitor several elements of your website including HTTP, ping, SSH, TCP, UDP, DNS, among others. In case downtime is detected Uptime Robot has alert mechanisms to alert you through several platforms. There are the usual email and SMS alerts and then there are the additional alert capabilities via Slack, Telegram, Microsoft teams, Push and Webhooks.
To avoid minor scares you can customize the alerts to come only after the website has been down for a certain period of time.
The maximum number of websites that can be monitored concurrently using Uptime Robot is 20,000. But the number will vary depending on your needs. The fewer the websites being monitored the less you pay. The tool can also be used to generate a detailed report of your website performance complete with summaries and graphs over a set period of time.
Pingdom is another great tool to help you stay ahead of the competition by ensuring maximum uptime of your website and smooth user experience. Pingdom have 60 servers across the world to verify when your website is down.
The tool analyzes real users of your website and collects real actionable data that can be used to improve your website performance. You can keep track of their login, sign up and check outflows and if any of these flows is not completed then you will be notified immediately. You can also use Pingdom to measure your website speed and identify bottlenecks.
By incorporating a second opinion filter you can be assured that all fake alerts have been sieved out and what you get is a real issue. Again, rather than the superficial cause, this tool allows you to trace a problem from the root which consequently means you won’t be dealing with the issue again.
Site24x7 is an all in one monitoring solution that on top of performing website tests can also be used for server, cloud, network, and application monitoring. The tool checks for website availability and user engagement to give you actionable intelligence on how to improve the website performance.
The tool can monitor almost all the internet services including POP server and SOAP web services. Server monitoring will help you to establish the root cause of downtime. Site24x7 can also monitor application servers and services such as Java, Ruby, PHP, and mobile platforms to identify the real component that is causing the downtime.
It also monitors synthetic web transactions like login and sign-ups and shopping carts. It will help you optimize the login forms to minimize the bounce rates.
Notification mechanism incorporates both email and SMS and unlike some of the other tools, the SMS charges are included in the subscription plan. The pricing plan for the product varies depending on the number of websites being monitored.
For this last tool, we will be looking at its free version for the sake of small website owners that may not have a huge budget to work with. It is pretty basic but excellent if all that you are interested in is determining when a page is down.
The tool performs a website checkup after every 5 minutes and will provide you with actionable data regarding page downtime, URL errors, multiple logins, and any other errors it identifies. Notifications are sent to you via email. Or alternatively, you can receive the report status via RSS or Mac and PC widgets.
Montastic also incorporates a Windows and iPhone app that will help you keep check of your website from your mobile device.
The other great feature about this tool is a REST API that you can use to introduce automation into the monitoring process.