Tag Archives: iPhone

Monitoring Your Uptime – Free Tools – Part 2



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.


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.


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.


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

Monitoring Your Uptime – Free Tools


Server Uptime 448 Days & Counting
Server Uptime 448 Days & Counting

Clearly, one of the most important aspects of your website is how often it actually is a website. After all, if no one can access it, it’s not really a site but more of the idea of a site. Also, at times, it may be “up” but not fully functional… a groggy website that does not want to be bothered. Uptime, then, is a word used often by those conducting business online.

Uptime is also often phrased as “reliability” or “availability.” A site with high-availability has very little downtime because it is based on a system that is highly reliable. The same can be said of a 24-hour shoelaces store: if you need shoelaces at 3:30 AM, Every-time Lace Shop has got you covered. Plus, they won’t ask you any questions, such as, “Why are you here?” or, “Are you sure you need shoelaces?”

Hosting companies are highly concerned with the uptime their clients receive. They have to be, because it is one of the core concerns of anyone looking for a hosting solution: “What’s your guarantee for the maximum amount of downtime allowed?” Typically a hosting company will guarantee 99% uptime or 99.9% uptime or 99.99% uptime, possibly more – such as 200%, which is highly remarkable.

*** Pause for a commercial break: In our case, notably, we don’t allow any unscheduled downtime. For that reason, we guarantee 100% uptime in our Service Level Agreement (SLA) with all our clients. If we ever fall under that number, we will reimburse you and possibly (don’t count on it) give you a back rub. ***

In this two-part series, sponsored by Darrell’s Free Tool Shed International (a nonprofit tool-provisionary outfit), we will look at a number of different free tools to assist you in uptime-monitoring. These are tools you can use to ensure that you are getting the uptime you are guaranteed when you sign up for your hosting account.

We will use a couple different sources to broaden our perspective: Mashable and WPMU. Both sites provide 10-12 different options for free software you can use to monitor your uptime.

It’s a good idea to install all available software, create an intricate schedule to monitor your uptime-monitoring software, and then consider installing uptime-monitoring-software-monitoring software. Keep layering and layering until your uptime-monitoring matrix forms a layer cake of satisfaction that tastes good and is reasonably filling.

Free Online Uptime Monitoring Tools

Without further ado, here are several tools you can use to ensure you are getting the uptime you deserve. If you aren’t, phone your Congressman and bark into his voicemail (and whatever you do, don’t meow) … Also, e-mail your hosting company with details (including your barking experience).


Maximum websites monitored: 50

Monitoring frequency: 5 min.

Contact options: RSS, text, e-mail

The way this software works is it checks your header code. If there is ever an error, it digs deeper. If the more in-depth analysis suggests real problems, you are immediately notified by any of the methods listed above, or by airhorn.


Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: Optional, 60 seconds minimum

Contact options: text (20 max./month), iPhone, e-mail

Pingdom is massive within this sector and primarily likes to make money, but it does offer a no-frills, unpaid option. Though it is limited to just one site, the phone app may make it worthwhile when you are walking, climbing trees, or jumping off your roof into a pile of Jell-O for a hilarious reality TV series.


Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: 30 min.

Contact options: RSS, text, e-mail, instant message, paper airplane

This application is the dumbed-down version of Monitis, but it is easy to install and use. Rather than just notifying you of problems, the application creates statistics broken down into various time-frames. The stats populate immediately, for efficiency, or in slow-motion, for dramatic effect.


Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: 60 min.

Contact options: text, e-mail, smoke signals

This site, so it says, is presently monitoring almost 2,000,000 sites. The company has gotten a bad rap for being aggressive with mass marketing campaigns. However, it allows numerous different people to be notified of downtime, and statistics – including CDC pandemic figures – are sent out to you each week.


Maximum websites monitored: 1

Monitoring frequency: 30 min.

Contact options: no notifications, except singing telegram

Uptrends, rather than being focused on letting you know when periods of downtime occur, is geared toward making your visitors aware how seamlessly your site delivers content. You can embed the code for its button, and it checks your site globally every half an hour. When anyone clicks the button, they receive information related to various time-frames, up to the previous year. (Previous eon is only available to Paleolithic users, most of whom are deceased.)

Conclusion & Continuation

So far, we have gotten a sense of several of the most high-profile and useful options out there for uptime monitoring. There are many more solutions available, and we will review some of those other major tools in the second and final part of this series. Then we will get a bite to eat and talk at length about my maritime marital problems, which are extensive and difficult to resolve, due to my chronic seasickness.

P.S. Considering our 100% uptime guarantee, you can’t go wrong with a shared, dedicated, or VPS solution from Superb.

By Kent Roberts

Best cPanel Apps, Part 2


Control Panel

As you probably know, cPanel applications can greatly enhance the experience of hosting via cPanel/WHM. As with applications for any system, these pieces of software provides simple interface-based formats to monitor a network, compile data and statistics, and perform certain standardized tasks. The end result will be that your cPanel operation will run more smoothly with simplified administration.

I previously detailed some of the other top applications – 15 of them, and there are an additional 11 here as well. The apps below cover a plethora of administration aspects – security, performance, billing and support, template design, mobile compatibility, and more.

My previous piece used applications from two sources – the cPanel Application Catalog and GK~root. This piece will be derived entirely from the cPanel Application Catalog, looking specifically at the apps that have the highest ratings on their site and that were not covered in the previous article. A large amount of the information I will present, other than the general ratings, will be gathered from the application websites.

Below I will give descriptions of each app, along with insider anecdotal information related to the software, its creators, and as applicable, early childhood development. Note that this article is intended to be read over a candlelight dinner featuring lasagna, garlic bread, and mixed greens. There should only be one person seated at the table. The person reading the article should literally be “over” the table, perched on a small swing and occasionally pausing to play the harmonica. (That, after all, is how it is being written. My fiancée looks worried, but I think the blues solos are soothing her.)

Atomic Secured Linux

•    4.1 out of 5 stars (3rd overall)

This application improves the security of a Linux server. The product proactively protects the server rather than relying on signatures or patches of known vulnerabilities. It increases the security both of the OS and applications. Atomic Security Linux was designed to be easy to use regardless of your level of expertise, with more sophisticates features for those who have greater experience.

A number of celebrity cyborgs, including Kim Kardashian and Oprah, have installed this application as a sort of protective chastity belt to avoid their biology-technology ratio from becoming imbalanced during moments of weakness (allowing open-entry to intruders). Cyborgs must be careful not to ever become more than 50% biology.

WHM Complete Solution (WHMCS)

•    3.8 out of 5 stars (10th overall)

WHMCS brings together a number of different functionalities – account management, billing, support, domain management, etc. The idea of this application is general automation of all these various facets of online business. The application touts how easy it is to integrate with over 100 different APIs (PayPal, Authorize.net, etc.), with scripts to do so easily available on their website.

Many people don’t know that this product was originally called WHM: The Final Solution. Test marketing revealed that many potential clients viewed that name as “overly dramatic” and “too Hitler-ish.”

Varnish Cache

•    3.8 out of 5 stars (11th overall)

This caching HTTP reverse proxy, a type of web accelerator, caches pages in memory rather than storing them on disks. The plugin’s site claims it is faster than Nginx, Litespeed, and Lighttpd. Varnish Cache reduces your server loads and optimizes the speed of your site, accelerating your server as much as 1000x (up to 2000x if you are lucky enough to have twin varnishes).

Varnish Cache should not be mistaken for “varnish cash,” a way that young boys prove their ascent to manhood in the Ohio River Valley as their friends and relatives watch admiringly. Note: Huffing varnish, whether for a small pool of money or not, stunts early childhood development … but some say it’s worth it.

CleanPanel (cPanel Designs)

•    3.8 out of 5 stars (13th overall)

This app is a template to improve the appearance of cPanel. You can choose between a number of different colors, and it has been tested for compatibility with all major cPanel applications. CleanPanel is primarily focused on user experience (UX), using space and contrast between different elements of the design to make the page cleaner to view and use.

CleanPanel’s creators view it as a political statement against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, which is notorious for always being high on varnish when determining its new safety guidelines. Now that’s an unclean panel!


•    3.8 out of 5 stars (14th overall)

This plugin optimizes MySQL. It is a stripped down version of mysqlmymon.sh, which generally monitors the system. mysqlmymonlite.sh http://mysqlmymon.com/, the “lite” version, gives statistics without providing as much sensitive data pertaining to the server. Stats include CPU, memory, and general server information. All is gathered in under 12 seconds, according to the app’s site.

The script for the lite version is suspected to have been developed by pouring Miller Lite over the original script. This process not only stripped down some of the features of the standard version: it also significantly decreased its calories.

CP Control Panel (cPanel Client for iPhone / iPad)

•    3.8 out of 5 stars (15th overall)

This app allows you to perform backups, manage files, perform FTP transfers, manage email, view stats, manage DNS, etc. – all from an iOS mobile device (iPad or iPhone). The two features highlighted on the CP Control Panel website are that its FTP client, which is built into its script, makes file management significantly easier. Also, the connection is directly to your current server – your login credentials go straight to your host.

Though it would seem that the CP in this app’s title stands for Control Panel, it actually stands for Club Penguin. CP is a Disney program that, like varnish, stunts early childhood development. (Science has proven that huffing cartoon penguins into your brain is at least as deadly as poisonous chemicals, because the penguins are hungry.)


•    3.8 out of 5 stars (16th overall)

This application is primarily focused on making it easier to manage hosting and cloud accounts. It is compatible with major mobile devices. The most important information is immediately available when you initially enter the GUI. MobPanel allows you to manage accounts, reboot servers, and many other general management tasks.

As you may suspect, this plugin was not named to denote huge throngs of people. It was originally designed for the Polish Mafia in Brooklyn, so that they could better manage their Internet presence, which was spotty until they discovered this nifty tool. Now their “My Legs Were Broken by the Mafia, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” apparel is selling like wild.


•    3.8 out of 5 stars (17th overall)

Softaculous allows you to auto-install a huge library of scripts, almost 300 of them, in one click. You can install a content management system (CMS), for instance, such as WordPress or Joomla!, with this app. Be aware that performing updates of a CMS with Softaculous, or any auto-installer, can be dangerous because any plugins on your site may not fit the new version. Look before you leap.

The creators of Softaculous do not have a history in software. They have a history in toilet tissue, where they consistently rubbed tissue against their skin and thought, “This is softacular! No, that’s not quite right.” Finally, they were terminated for being too obsessed with softness (at the grave expense of absorbency). Seven years later, after they decided IT was the best place to celebrate softness and received fast-track PhDs in computer science from the University of Bogota, Softaculous was born.


•    3.7 out of 5 stars (20th overall)

This cPanel plugin allows you to manage billing, support, and general client management. The app uses modules, which makes it more versatile for different types of online businesses (ie it’s user-friendly). Functions such as invoicing, support, and payments can all be performed directly from a client’s page. Blesta’s code is open-source. It also allows remote API access.

Blesta was originally an auto parts store. Though the company’s focus has now turned to cPanel administrative plugins, they still give oil changes and tire rotations to their repeat customers free of charge, “to remember the old times.”

ASSP Deluxe for cPanel

•    3.7 out of 5 stars (21st overall)

According to the application’s site, ASSP Deluxe is “the only ASSP frontend for cPanel officially supported by Fritz Borgstedt, ASSP developer.” The app is used on over a thousand servers worldwide (one out of every six using ASSP, according to the app’s website). It’s an easy way to set up ASSP on your server to prevent spam and viruses.

The makers of ASSP Deluxe were previously the editors in chief of car kulture DeLuxe Magazine http://www.ckdeluxemag.com/. They get their oil changed by Blesta. It’s a well-integrated industry, more automotive than it might at first seem.

Parallels Web Presence Builder

•    3.7 out of 5 stars (23rd overall)

This plugin is a CMS – it generally assists with website building. It includes thousands of templates and the ability to add ecommerce, integrate Facebook (by transitioning the actual design of your site for usage with it), search, and analytics. This Parallels product allows WYSIWYG editing of sites so you can customize.

This product came out soon after the debacle in which Parallels released a product called the Web Absence Builder. This app, also designed for cPanel, simply sent out massive amounts of spam emails to all the clients associated with a site, then filled it up with pages of porn malware, and finally went to a shot of eternal white static.


Each of the above apps can improve your experience using cPanel/WHM for administration of your site. Visit the sites and see what you think. Many of the apps can be tested, with free trials available. Good luck. If you’ve used any of the apps and either liked or disliked them, or have any other comments, please let us know below.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

We are looking for a programmer with 10yrs experience with the iPad

But the iPad hasn’t been around for ten years!

Not just C++ programmers – John Cook | Google+

John Cook - Google+ - Not just C++ programmers. | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From plus.google.com – Today, 1:08 AM

John’s advice: Never talk to an HR department. Talk directly to the people you’d work for. Send them your resume etc. Only talk to HR when it’s time to fill out your paperwork after you have a job offer.

John goes on to say (And the discussion is pretty hilarious):
As far as 10 years iPad experience, There are many analogous job descriptions. For example, an ad looking for 5 years HTML experience before HTML was 5 years old. Also seen the opposite; asking for experience with obsolete or irrelevant technology. Don’t take job descriptions too seriously. If a job sounds like a good fit, don’t worry if you don’t have one of the requirements.


Tips To Hire Veteran Php Programmers with Off-the-Shelf solutions to meet Atypical Business Needs

Tips To Hire Veteran Php Programmers with Off-the-Shelf solutions to meet Atypical Business Needs | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From hirephpcom.wordpress.comToday, 3:31 AM

Essence of php can be felt in almost each and every corner of the web. It has vigorously stormed the market of web development and has highly streamlined the methods by which bespoke websites are developed.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:
Being open source in nature, PHP not only reduces your overall development cost but also offers your business a crucial thrust necessary in today’s competitive world. I have personally met the challenge of looking for assistance to develop small business websites. It’s not easy! One search for experienced web developers and you are faced with hundreds of coders. Even on a platform like Elance, you may not be the best project manager who understands the details of your own project. My advice, is to find a project manager or consultant to oversee the individual tasks for you. This allows developers to work efficiently on the job without having to educate you on their process at the same time.

The Importance of Non-Programming Programmers

English: A wireframe document for a person pro...

From infolific.com – Today, 3:42 AM

What’s the solution for the lack of expertise across each phase of programming? The non-coding programmer. Non-coding programmers are people such as requirements analysts, GUI designers or graphic designers, testers, etc. They’re good at the things programmers are told they should pay attention to, but don’t really want to deal with and aren’t very good at.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Programmers enjoy coding mainly, not learning how to create a drop-shadow or bevel for good looking icons. Programmers also enjoy learning development platforms, not how to make things ‘pop’. I have a vague understanding of code and know how it kind-of goes together. I would be considered as a non-programming programmer who is the common ground between client and programmer, like a project manager. This doesn’t mean I have to be a techie, far from it, it simply means I probably suck at coding, but can interpret what a client needs and diagrammatically relay that as task lists for the resource of Coders. On a small business scale, a non-programming programmer can be your Graphic Designer, Project Manager, or Virtual Assistant.

Are you in need of a Non-Programming Programmer? Or indeed real project development on your website? Give this article a shout out if it helped you understand what type of person you need to hire. – Juliana




Websites You Need To Stop Building

I was stopped dead in my tracks this morning killing myself laughing over some viralling content from The Oatmeal. This website is exactly what it’s labelled on the tin, daily breakfast for webmasters full of comic relief for those who manage websites. If you haven’t heard of it before, I seriously recommend you check it out, I can relate to nearly everything Matthew Inman posts.


Stop building websites like this. If you’re developing an online business idea, please check in on this post and make sure your idea hasn’t been overcooked already.
Matthew Inman sums it up in a friendly satirical way better than I could have even tried in breaking this sort of news to my own clients.
If you’re starting your week with the blues because you hate Mondays, here’s some stomach churning relief along the theme of post St. Patricks day weekend:


Frustrated by stupid client criticism, Irish graphic designers Mark Shanley and Paddy Treacy decided to turn their

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

My Monday has been Dell, I mean Hell, just trying to stop myself laughing. How many of these have you experienced? For sure I’ve experienced the elephant in the room when one client asked me to turn the image of the iPhone so that it showed more of his “App”.

Anyway, moving away from client criticism and back onto ourselves because after all – I don’t want to alienate start-up business ideas for their innocent remarks. I thought I’d include one more on the list of websites to take a look at today:


Web Pages That Suck is a web resource where you can learn good web design by looking at bad web design. Features include web design checklists and resources on good web design.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

Unless you’re abnormally gifted, the best way to learn a craft thoroughly is to learn not only its central tenets but also its pitfalls. The owner, and regular guest speaker on web design, Vincent Flanders, admits his site is not meant to be a proponent of good web design. Instead, his site is showing us the cream of the absolute worst design. Most of us probably fit in the bell shaped curve of average because the demands of productivity will balance back the finer art of perfection. I find this site is a fantastic quick reference for ourselves and for clients to demonstrate the obvious mistakes we should not make.

Are you in a sticky Monday situation, of dealing with a website job whilst struggling to negotiate control? I hope this list of websites arms you with some creative ability to diffuse some of that client pressure. Happy Monday!

Do you have examples you’re willing to share, link me up here or on my Google Plus, and I’ll run a future case study – Juliana.


The iPhone iMpact

Apple’s iPhoneIn the last year, there have been a suprising number of events, acquisitions, and releases that have taken a lot of the buzz in the Internet/Technology Industry. Facebook is huge, Google is always making headlines, and Microsoft and Yahoo! continue to be dominant players in the arena, but leave it to Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple gang down in Cupertino to make the biggest ripple in the pond. I was reading an article by Todd Abrams, COO and President of Layered Technologies, on the Invasion of the iPhone, and he makes some great points about the device.

I’ll touch on two of the points he makes – one, is the great job from the marketing side, and two, to date I have not been convinced how it will change the world. Todd talks about the way Apple’s marketing has combined the 5 c’s – Connection, Communication, Content, Commerce, Colloboration and adds a 6th C, coolness. Much like the iPod, Apple has found a way to convince popular culture that the iPod iPhone is exactly what they need in a next generation handheld. Having had the chance to play with an iPhone a bit (which is suprisingly tough being in Canada), the usability and interface is impressive, but I’m still not caught up in the hype. And although I don’t think the iPhone will change the world, I think it has offered an important step in change.

One aspect of the iPhone that impresses me is the agressive risk (or innovation) that was taken with regards to usability. The touch screen interface, although not completely ideal for all uses (like texting under the table at a meeting), has opened up the door to new possibilities. Scrolling through webpages or images and zooming in and out is just the beginning, and slowly we will see a variety of mobile applications start to take advantage of these new navigation options.

I have to agree with Todd Abrams, I haven’t been convinced that the iPhone will let me do my job more efficiently or effectively, but I think it’s going to change the mobile world.