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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

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).

UptimeRobot

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.

Pingdom

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.

Mon.itor.us

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.

InternetSeer

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.

Uptrends

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