Karl Elliott

How do you know when your website goes down?

If you rely on your website for communication, then it needs to be available all the time. Generally VCS websites are less ‘uptime’ critical than, for example, a retail website which loses custom every time the website is offline. But if your website is down/offline then that sends a message to every potential visitor. But how do you know if your website is up or down? You’re not visiting it hourly or more are you? You need a way to monitor it.

So today I’ve been playing with ways to monitor our websites (and the websites of the clients that I look after). There’s a variety of ways to do this. One I’ve used a lot on our WordPress websites is the Jetpack plugin. Using Jetpack allows you to connect your self-hosted website to WordPress.com – the hosted version of WordPress and it includes as part of its extensive portfolio of tools a way of monitoring your website. I’ve installed, configured and used Jetpack to monitor sites in this way for a while now and it seems to work well.

Another technique I like the look of is using a Google spreadsheet (populated with details of the websites that need monitoring) and a set of macros that can automatically contact you if the websites are up or down. Not tried this one yet, but there’s more details here.

Each of these techniques seem to require setting up a range of logins and cross connected accounts or playing with macros (that have the potential to not work). So I was looking for another way to do it.

Hello Uptime Robot. Free to register and free to monitor up to 50 websites. Within a few seconds I was setup to monitor several of my sites with no plugins or complex account connections. So far I can recommend this tool. The dashboard is clear and useful for checking up on a range of sites (or you could just do it for your one site). A paid option would allow you SMS text alerts, but I’m just going for a specific email address (I’ve setup a specific email that only receives uptime reports) and then that email address can be checked from my phone/tablet/PC etc.

We’ll see how well this works over time (at the moment our websites seems to be pretty reliable for uptime!), but Uptime Robot is one of my new tool recommendations. Without any effort on my part I’ll now get a notification straight to my phone each time there’s a problem with any of our websites. It’s then of course up to me to investigate further and resolve the problem. But at least I know.

#experiment #monitoring #websites