Monitoring Your Uptime – Free Tools – Part 2

 

uptime

Generally speaking, you want your website to be available to anyone who wants to see it. Every once in a while, you want it to hide in the darkness, unnoticed and unseen, a bashful teen werewolf at the junior prom … But those moments are few and far between. Additionally, when your site is visible to the public, you want it to look its best. Uptime, the percentage of time over a given period that your site is both available and working correctly, is one of the most important factors of website functionality.

To review, uptime, reliability, and availability are essentially interchangeable terms. The concept of high-availability means that your site has extremely consistent uptime figures because its network is reliable. Availability (uptime/reliability) is in turn much more likely in the context of a redundant network – one with various checks and balances to keep you online.

Let’s forget the back end, though: in this piece, we focus on basic, free software that lets you know when your site is up, and when it’s down. That way you know when to inject it with Botox or epinephrine, preferably both, so that it doesn’t sag or frown.

Hosting companies typically offer guarantees related to uptime, and generally those guarantees are upwards of 99%. It’s worth noting, though, that there is a major difference between 99.9% uptime and 99.999% uptime. There are 8760 hours in a year. 99% uptime could mean as much as 87 hours off-line, while 99.999% uptime means your site must be working for all but 1/10 of an hour annually. 2000% uptime, in turn, indicates that your site must operate impeccably in at least 19 other parallel universes.

*** Why, might you ask, are we so concerned about uptime and downtime, rather than side-time or the-other-side-time? Well, because our hosting company has a 100%-uptime guarantee for all those who use our services. Any exceptions, other than periodic scheduled maintenance, entitle you to a credit and/or a voodoo curse against one of your childhood enemies. ***

This article is the second in a two-part series. We are looking into various no-cost software solutions that you can use to monitor your uptime – pleasant alternatives to loading and reloading your site, over and over and over again, forever. These tools allow you to make sure your hosting company is keeping to its uptime guarantee.

The two sources we are using to get a broad spectrum of uptime monitoring applications are Mashable and WPMU. We looked at five solutions in the previous piece, and we will look at five more today.

Free Online Uptime Monitoring Tools, Continued

Here are several more options to monitor your uptime so you can stop paying your ne’er-do-well cousin-in-law’s ragtag once-removed stepsister (though she means well) to check that it is up and active every 45 seconds.

Service Uptime

Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: 30 min.

Contact options: text, e-mail, rotary gramophone

This software notifies you if your site is down or behaving improperly, especially if it is making obscene gestures or blowing its nose loudly at visitors.

Site Uptime

Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: 30-60 min.

Contact options: text, e-mail, accordion solo

This service checks your site every half-hour to hour. Like several of the other solutions we’ve reviewed, it also keeps a record of any instances of downtime. It then sends you full statistical data once each month, with up to 200 messages arriving in your inbox on your birthday, by request.

BasicState

Maximum websites monitored: No limitations

Monitoring frequency: 15 min.

Contact options: text, e-mail, war-cry

This app will look at as many sites as you want, unmatched by any of the other major free services. If you desire, you can receive a customizable message each day giving you details for the last two weeks. You can also decide how and when you want to be contacted, both periodically and when downtime occurs. BasicState can also be used as a solo, minimally-functional dating service.

Montastic

Maximum websites monitored: 3

Monitoring frequency: 30 min.

Contact options: RSS, e-mail, widgets, iPhone, Android, sucker-punch

This application is open source, which is perhaps why it is available in so many different formats. It also verifies uptime from a variety of American locations. In that sense, it is geared primarily toward a US customer base.

Are My Sites Up?

Maximum websites monitored: 5

Monitoring frequency: 60 min.

Contact options: text, e-mail, goose-call

This application does not perform as frequent of checks as some of the others out there do. However, it lets you know the reason for the downtime (as best it can tell) along with a copy of any HTML code problems it encounters. iPhone alerts are available, but only for paying customers and, presumably, friends and family of the site owner.

Conclusion

That closes out our look at tools to check the uptime of your site. One or another of these solutions should be a good fit for you, so that you know how often your site is unavailable and, in some cases, what’s causing the problem.

As stated in the first installment of this series, it’s now time to discuss difficulties I’ve been having in my love affair on the high seas, particularly the threats to be thrown overboard with her other ex-boyfriends (all of whom, awkwardly, are still clinging to the sides of the ship).

And one more thing before we begin our lengthy and heart-warming discussion: Superb offers a 100% uptime guarantee, available to all our shared, dedicated, and VPS hosting customers.

By Kent Roberts

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