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What are people using for website monitoring services?

I am referring to a service that I can configure specific hits to my site to monitor if the site is up, and how fast it is responding to the requests.

I am looking for an external service, that will hit my server from several locations, and will provide me notification if the site does not respond within certain tolerances.

It can be free or paid.

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42 upvotes and 39 favorites and this question is still closed? –  rox0r Oct 3 '12 at 17:55
    
When I asked this question, I was a sysadmin responsible for the e-commerce web platform for my employer. –  jmsmcfrlnd Oct 3 '12 at 21:28
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19 Answers 19

up vote 40 down vote accepted

Here's a breakdown of the major players in the external performance monitoring space:

Top Shelf

  1. Webmetrics.com - largest network, great monitoring technology, fun UI
  2. Keynote.com - focused on mobile, long time player in the space
  3. Gomez.com - lots of different products, product life cycle focus

Middle

  1. AlertSite.com - does a lot of things, nothing extremely well
  2. Pingdom.com - popular in the web 2.0 world
  3. site24x7.com - owned by zoho, cheap
  4. webmon.com - Supports escalations, custom triggers and realtime dashboards

Low End

  1. mon.itor.us
  2. siteuptime.com
  3. dotcom-monitor.com

What you need to look for in deciding between the various options:

  1. If you want to monitor a transaction, versus just a URL, you should try out the scripting technology to understand how easy/complicated it is to set up your monitoring.
  2. The monitoring network, how many locations around the world you want to get performance metrics from
  3. The alerting options, how configurable the thresholds/escalations are.
  4. The reporting, how useful the various reports/graphs are, and how much you can drill down into the nitty gritty.
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I am interested in a cost breakdown - are the top shelf's the most expensive??/ –  Rob Bergin May 4 '09 at 2:37
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Current pricing for pingdom (5/5/09): Free 30 day trial. $10/mon - up to 5 "checks". $40/mon up to 30 "checks". A "check" is a single service probe (icmp, tcp, or http). Checks can be run as frequently as 60sec. –  Mark Renouf May 5 '09 at 12:28
    
Ya, that's exactly how I divided them up. Low end is < $10/month, middle tier is between $10 and $100, and top tier is anywhere from $10 - $1000. –  lennysan May 6 '09 at 23:13
    
nice survey! might be nice to include options for 'self-monitoring', as these get expensive, but using tools like them to monitor for yourself internally is often an additional need. –  ericslaw Jun 9 '09 at 3:36
    
I would have to add that dotcom-monitor.com is definitely not in the low end, I just checked on their site and for monitoring 10 tasks/5minutes $180/month O_O –  Chris Marisic Jul 18 '11 at 14:15
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After spending most of the morning reviewing all of these sites listed on here. The top choices I found from what exists (from viewing their website and comparing prices and appearance of service) that Pingdom and SentinelMonitoring seem to be the best listed.

However I did just come across HowsThe.Com (pretty slick domain name) and it's price point seems to be one of the best for features / level of service when this is intended for small to medium business. I will be configuring my trial account with them soon and will try to remember to update my post after actually using their service.

Follow up: HowsThe.Com doesn't really seem to be ready for usage. They only support hitting a url and checking for contains text match. I'm much more interested in http response codes, and does not contain matches. I ended up going with Monitis.

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Surprised that nobody suggested http://www.servermojo.com/ (because RED is BAD)

It's cheap for one site 30$/year and he has got the features that I think are useful like the HTTP - Keyword which I think is very important to detect if your site is effectively up and working.

It's easy to get good result for a ping test or a an http header test, but the server must spit out also the rest of the page. By HTTP - Keyword testing you can also test if your PHP is running by simply looking for a keyword created in page via <?php echo "keyword"; ?> and maybe placed at the end of the page.

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I just recently discovered Zabbix.

It has everything Nagios has natively, as well as a ton of features you have to install as modules on Nagios, are already there.

http://www.zabbix.com/features.php

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http://www.nagios.org/

Shocked that nobody recommended this?! Nagios is a AWESOME open-source solution that is very customization. We have used it in a medium-sized environment (~100 servers) and I absolutely love it. It does require you to create and customize service checks, but is very powerful.

The GUI is very user-friendly and there are applications for desktop as well as Android OS to monitor your infrastructure. Not to mention the ability to send emails, or text notifications for alerting.

Nagios is worth a look if you have the time to do some tweaking/customizing.. but even has a handful of service checks ready to run "out of the box"

**Okay so this isn't exactly a solution for monitoring your servers from several different locations, although we have setup a "client-facing" Nagios server externally to accomplish this, so it can be done if you have multiple co-locations.

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Try SentinelMonitoring.com too.

It monitors all the usual stuff like PING, HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, SMTP etc as well as some of the more unusual things like Digital Certificate Expiry and Streaming Media via IceCast and SHOUTCast.

Sentinel also lets you install a serverside agent which in turn allows you to monitor things like DISK space, CPU LOAD, PROCESSES and more.

All in all it's a pretty cool service and well worth a look.

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http://exactstate.com is the pro version of basicstate

The chief differentiator is that it performs parallel testing from multiple data centers.

The tests are performed in parallel from all data centers, and the results are merged. A failure is only recorded if no postive result was returned from all tests. The mechanism is meant to minimise false positives.

Some services claim multiple locations, but they only test from a second random server on failure on the original attempt. This is not quite the same thing.

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Not easy to calculate prices in advance –  Marco Demaio Jul 22 '11 at 18:51
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We recently started using http://www.catchpoint.com which is a pretty impressive monitoring solution. It allows us to monitor from multiple geographical locations and from within our infrastructure, utilizing internet explorer browser or their emulated browser. It captures every metric on web performance and they all can be charted through the interface.

One major problem we had with other external monitoring tools was the number of false positive errors - especially on the DNS resolution. We haven't seen such data with Catchpoint and we can monitor DNS resolution independent of the web tests to clearly see the performance of our DNS provider and ensure their SLA.

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If you are using J2EE or Ruby on rails, you can use this EXCELLENT monitoring system :

http://www.newrelic.com/

(You can see it in action by clicking on "Live Demo!" (the blue button at the right))

There many subscription options depending on what do you can (It can be free !)

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They now also have support for .NET –  kape123 Dec 2 '11 at 17:26
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http://www.catchpoint.com one of the newer players that I recommend highly. They have many features that help me pinpoint issues quicker than the other big names that have been around for years.

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They don't provide prices, that's odd! –  Marco Demaio Jul 22 '11 at 18:45
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http://100pulse.com one of the best monitoring service i ever come up with. You can get Website Monitoring service with 5 minute interval, Free Instant alert when ever your site goes down, No software installation needed, Free Periodical Reports depends on user selection, Easy way to analyze website performance through graphs and data.

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It has got only two locations from which it does monitoring and both in US/Canada, nothing in Europe/Asia. –  Marco Demaio Jul 22 '11 at 18:48
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WebWatchBot (www.webwatchbot.com) is another option for those wanting to monitor the end user experience via transaction monitoring (good for keeping an eye on response time) and individual components of the infrastructure such as severs and databases. We've all been bitten by a server that shows "up" while the application is hung. Combination of transaction and component monitoring prevents this and expedites troubleshooting. Free trial and reasonably priced pro version that easily scales to the enterprise level.

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http://sucuri.net

Focus is on integrity/availability monitoring, not on performance. But can be useful..

*free, alerts via email, sms and twitter, unlimited too...

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For transaction and performance monitoring, I found AlertFox even more powerful than Keynote systems. When I checked (April 09) it was the only service that can monitor Flash and Java applet performance for a fair price.

Alertfox does only one thing (transaction monitoring) and it does that very well.

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Interesting - I might like to know the flash performance of online videos (e.g. how many uniques are watching and how long they watch) - can it do that? –  jmsmcfrlnd May 28 '09 at 15:36
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basicstate.com

  • Free
  • Alerts by email & SMS
  • Historical data and graphs
  • Unlimited sites
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Not easy to calculate prices in advance –  Marco Demaio Jul 22 '11 at 18:50
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My personal preference is Pingdom. They've got several servers around the world, and the data is aggregated before sending you a "down" alert. They also provide information on uptime and reachability, so you can determine how many "9"s you're getting.

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I also use and recommend Pingdom for this purpose. They have a number of monitoring servers around the world to continually check your site(s) via a protocol of your choice (HTTP/HTTPS, ping, TCP/UDP, DNS, POP3/IMAP/SMTP). –  berberich May 4 '09 at 14:35
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I've used Keynote in the past. Wasn't particularly cheap, but it can monitor from many places, send alerts and so on.

You can test, measure and improve your service levels in real-time from more than 2,400 measurement computers and mobile devices in more than 240 locations and 160 metropolitan areas.

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Have a look at http://mon.itor.us/ It has a number of interesting graphics options for http and other response times. Plus is measures from 3 different locations for better coverage. You can also setup messaging on downs and create rss alerts.

It also aggregates the tests so if 500 people decide to use the service to monitor your site you only get pinged once.

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Interesting that mon.itor.us has a big version of it - monitis.com - not sure the difference. –  Rob Bergin May 4 '09 at 2:41
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we are using gomez (www.gomez.com) as a large website. there you can check the performance with good statistics from several locations all over the world.

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