In the previous lesson, we covered what website availability means and we
learnt about some of the challenges that hosting providers are faced with.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
In this lesson, we're going to look at methods you can use to monitor your
website's availability. So essentially, you are also monitoring your hosting
provider's performance of their availability claim.
Now, you could always check your website by sitting at your computer and
continuously clicking the refresh button every 2 minutes, 24/7, 365 days per
year, but I think you'd get tired of this very quickly. An automated solution
makes more sense.
Automated monitoring is when you have a program set up to automatically check
your website for availability. You configure it once, then leave it to do the
monitoring for you.
You can either purchase (or write) your own software to do this, or you can
outsource this to a third party who specialize in website monitoring.
Website Monitoring Software
Website monitoring software enables you to schedule HTTP requests against
your website at regular intervals. In other words, you can configure the
software to continuously check that your website is available. You can configure
it so that, if the website is unavailable, you receive an alert (eg, pager or
There are many solutions available and many allow you to monitor other
network devices too - not just a web service.
An important thing to remember when using this software is that, you should
always install the monitoring software on a separate computer to the one you're
monitoring. Even better, you should install the software on two different
machines, then use the second installation to monitor the first. That way, if
the machine hosting the monitoring software becomes unavailable, you'll know
about it. In other words, you're monitoring the monitor!
Examples of monitoring software includes: OpManager, WhatsUp Gold, and
Website Monitoring Service
If you don't want to install your own monitoring software, you can use a
third party provider. Even if you do want to use your own monitoring software,
there are still benefits in using a third party.
A monitoring service provides you with the ability to schedule monitoring
jobs against your website without you having to install any software. You simply
sign up with a third party service, then configure the monitor via an online
Some monitoring services have distributed monitors. They have monitors set up
from different places around the world. This can be very beneficial. One of the
problems with having your monitoring all in one place is that, if there's a
local network issue on the monitoring end, it can appear as though your website
has become unavailable. This can provide you with a false picture of your
website's actual availability. The distributed model goes a long way to
eliminating this. It is highly unlikely that there's a local network issue in
say, 7 different locations around the world, all at the same time.