Archive for the ‘Website Monitoring’ Category

Free website monitoring—is it worth anything?

Today, we’ll take a look at the ubiquitous offers of free monitoring of the availability of websites. Why are they free, how do they differ from paid services and is it worth using them?

Let’s start with a truism—nothing is ever truly free. Providers of website monitoring services offer a free option only to increase the sales of paid services. They will do their best to convert as many free users to paying ones. Additionally, thanks to the fact that they offer a free service, they often appear on various blogs which very willingly publish descriptions and rankings of free services.

free website monitoring

Why does anyone provide free website monitoring at all?

The entire structure of a free plan is aimed at maximizing sales. Compared to the paid versions, the free one lacks the features that are of utmost importance from the point of view of an online business. This is how a free account differs from a free trial account—it isn’t limited in terms of time, but it provides very limited abilities. While a trial account is only available for a few weeks, it provides all the features.

Flaws and limitations of free monitoring

Let’s discuss the most important features and limitations that usually distinguish free monitoring services from commercial versions.

Low monitoring frequency

Virtually every free monitoring service offers website testing with a frequency of 5 (or more) minutes. This means that you can learn about your site’s failure up to 5 minutes later than your users. What’s more, with such a sparse sampling, monitoring may not “notice” failures lasting, for example, only 4 minutes. As a result, you may think that the availability of your site monthly or over a longer period is quite good—while it may simply be untrue.

Availability of only the basic feature

The basic feature of monitoring services, offered on all free accounts, is to check the availability of the website by retrieving the server’s response. If the server responds correctly (“200 OK”), then the monitoring service assumes that everything is OK and the website is working. If, on the other hand, the server responds with an error message (e.g. “404 File Not Found”, “403 Forbidden”) or it will not respond at all, then the monitoring reports an error.
The problem lies in the fact that the server sending the correct response is not synonymous with the fact that the website works correctly—or even that it loads at all! Such a monitoring service will not detect a situation where, instead of a website, a blank white page is displayed—or blank templates with no content are loaded. Also, it will not notice a sudden slow down of page loading, failure of an important feature, etc.

No SMS alerts

SMS is the ideal communication channel for notifications about failures. Fast, reliable, independent of the availability of the Internet, etc. A single SMS isn’t expensive, but once multiplied by thousands of users it gets quite expensive. Thus, free monitoring will only alert you via email. Well, unless you buy an SMS notification package. But then it won’t be a free service any more, right?

Limited customer service (or lack thereof)

Monitoring websites is quite a “resource-consuming” online service, so providing a free version is always an investment. But human work is even more expensive than server resources. For this reason, free monitoring usually does not include any support for its users. Or differently—support is limited to online help, FAQ and forums. Sometimes you can use e-mail or chat. But forget about a voice conversation with a consultant who will help you with configuration.

No guarantees and liability

You aren’t paying any money, so don’t expect any guarantees from the monitoring provider. Your service has the lowest priority—same with all your inquiries and reports. Server resources, transfer, troubleshooting—paying customers will be the first to receive all of these. Regardless of whether and how it will affect your free service.
Of course, you can’t count on an SLA which is a guaranteed level of service for which you aren’t paying.


So it’s not worth it?

A free service is a tempting option. Knowing the above deficiencies and limitations, you must decide for yourself whether this solution is good for. If you run a hobby blog, website or forum, and the availability and proper functioning of your website aren’t a critical matter for you, maybe a free monitoring service will be enough for you. But if you run an online business, sell online or provide services through an app, you need a service that you can rely on. One that will detect every failure and malfunction of your website and will notify you immediately—before anyone else notices a problem.

Inexpensive website monitoring?

Free is always the cheapest. But paid website monitoring services don’t have to be expensive at all. There are nearly 150 suppliers, and each of them offers several pricing plans for businesses of all sizes and with different needs. 6 dollars is a cost comparable to a large coffee from a coffeehouse chain—a monthly subscription of this size won’t significantly deplete the budget of any company.

Monitor your domain, SSL certificate, blacklists and robots.txt

Super Monitoring introduced a new type of check: “Daily Health”, which checks once a day the domain and SSL certificate’s expiration dates, the validity of the certificate, presence of the site on blacklists and detects whether the website is blocking search engine robots.

Daily Health Check

Monitoring the expiration of the domain and SSL certificate

Notifications of an upcoming domain or certificate expiration date are usually sent by their suppliers. However, they may differ in the time before expiry at which the notifications will be sent, the notification might not get sent to your main email address—and sometimes such messages end up in spam.
Super Monitoring can send you a reminder 60, 30, 10 or 5 days ahead of the expiration date. If you so desire, it can remind you every day—until you renew your domain or certificate.
If, despite everything, you miss the deadline and the certificate or domain expires, Super Monitoring will register and report a failure.

Monitoring the validity of the SSL certificate

Along with the expiry date of your certificate, Super Monitoring will check its validity—including whether it was issued for the given domain/subdomain. In case of finding an irregularity, a failure will be reported.

Checking for presence on blacklists

The appearance of your website’s address on the Google Safe Search blacklist means that browsers automatically display full-page red alerts before the page loads. Surely you want to avoid this—but if it does happen, Super Monitoring will let you know about it immediately.


Detecting search engine robots being blocked

Accidentally blocking Googlebot’s (and other search engine robots) ability to access your website may result in it being removed from Google’s index. Contrary to what you might believe, this happens quite often—for example after the release of the new version of the website, when someone moves the robots.txt file from the production website to the live site. Or they forget to disable the blockade in the CMS and the page’s code will still contain the robots meta tag with the value of “noindex”.
Super Monitoring will detect this situation and alert you before negative consequences appear in Google (or another search engine).

This new type of check is available in every subscription option and—of course—as part of a free trial account as well.

Super Monitoring Decorated with 2 Distinctions for Application Performance Monitoring Software

Super Monitoring was recently lauded by a popular software review platform for its steadfast assistance in keeping everyone’s business operations smooth and seamless at all times. For its efficiency in informing users regarding emerging issues and anomalous threats, Super Monitoring was distinguished by the FinancesOnline SaaS review platform with two prestigious awards for 2018: Great User Experience and Rising Star.


Both awards, which were bestowed under their best application performance monitoring software, commended certain facets of Super Monitoring. The Great User Experience award highlights the monitoring platform as especially pleasing to use, while the Rising Star award lauds its highly positive customer feedback.

Great User Experience Award     Rising Star Award


All Super Monitoring features were scrutinized by the FinancesOnline review team in assessing the platform, and they concluded that it is able to quickly notify users about any issues for speedy resolution “long before their website visitors notice.” With this, businesses can quickly remedy the situation, leading to improved website operations, more coordinated execution, and better team performance. Their experts also took notice of the platform’s “powerful reporting tools,” stating that knowledge acquired from its metrics can “further improve your website’s performance and deliver a more seamless and enjoyable experience for your users.”

The heroes at Super Monitoring are thrilled to receive these awards from FinancesOnline. Rest assured that they will continue to keep their guard up and swiftly inform you for any threats and concerns that might come your way.

How to monitor the proper functioning of an online store

You are definitely registering user traffic in your store. You are most likely also tracking the position of your website on Google. You are also highly likely to track mentions of your brand on the Internet. But do you monitor the availability and proper functioning of your store?

ecommerce monitoring

Your store is not indestructible and there may be various types of malfunctions. The server, connection, and database can all fail. An important form or the third step of the purchasing process may stop working. Your website may also start to work slower than usual.
All these situations will have a negative impact on your sales. That is why it is worth making sure that you are the first to learn about any failure, making it possible for you to react before the users notice.

Why monitor the functioning of the store

E-commerce is an industry in which website failures and defects translate into measurable losses in the most direct way.

When the online store is unavailable or is not working properly:

  • you’re losing orders that would have been placed during this time
  • you’re wasting your advertising budget on attracting users who cannot make a purchase
  • you’re harming your image risking that the users who notice a failure will not return to your store
  • you’re helping the competition—no one will wait for the end of the failure, they’ll just go to the competition
  • it may have a negative impact on your website’s rank with Google (in the case of long-term problems).

You cannot avoid problems with the functioning of your store as there are many potential causes. Physical damage to devices, overloads, system faults, application errors, human mistakes, etc.
What you can do is minimize the response time to a failure—using a monitoring system that will alert you immediately when a problem is detected. You will learn about the unavailability of the entire website before the users—you will also find defects that you might not have noticed for a long time (most likely only from the sales reports for a given period).

An additional benefit of monitoring the availability is the ability to use the monitoring data to justify claims against the hosting provider under the SLA.

What to monitor in the store

It’s easy to say “monitor availability and proper functioning”, but what exactly does it mean? Availability is rather obvious, but how to monitor the proper functioning?


This is a basic monitoring feature and should preferably be monitored at intervals of no less than 1 minute. It consists in checking the server’s response and its response time. It provides detection of total failures—server, connection, and DNS going down, missing application files, etc.


Content monitoring is based on checking if a defined piece of text or code is being displayed at a given URL. This allows us to detect failures of e.g. a database—when the website is theoretically available but is displayed without the content (white page or empty templates).


Ever since Google announced that it includes website speed in its ranking, monitoring the speed of loading has started to make even more sense. This feature consists in measuring the full website loading time (full-page)—that is, with all embedded graphics, styles, and scripts. Exceeding the defined limit is treated as a failure.


Your website can have various features, but the shopping process is, of course, the most important matter for any e-commerce website. And a failure can occur at any of its stages.
The monitoring system, pretending to be a real user, goes through the purchasing process in accordance with the scenario you have defined. For example, it first finds a product using the search engine, then selects its parameters, adds it to the shopping cart, changes the quantity, provides the buyer’s data, selects the method of delivery and payment, and finally places the order.

Other features

Depending on your needs, you can monitor other features related to your store, e.g. cohesion of key documents (detection of unauthorized changes), availability of the mail, database, FTP, DNS servers, etc.

How to optimally configure monitoring

The default monitoring tests settings are not always the best. Usually, these are simply the most commonly used options.
Below we suggest how to set up monitoring in a way that will allow you, for example, to avoid being flooded with irrelevant notifications, but at the same time not to miss the really important events.


In addition to e-mail alerts, notifications sent via SMS are most commonly used. In the case of non-critical tests, limit the days and hours in which you will receive text messages in the settings—so that the monitoring system does not wake you up at 3:00 in the morning.
You can also define an alerting pattern—for example, by setting the system not to bother you with failures lasting less than 2 minutes, or to remind you of an ongoing failure every 5 minutes.

Alerts can be sent to multiple recipients—you can decide who will receive notifications from which test. For example, the server administrator can be notified of a complete unavailability of the website while notifications about problems with the purchasing process can be sent to the persons responsible for the application.


In the history of events of the selected test, in the user panel, you will find the details of all failures—not only the type of error but also additional materials that will help you to analyse the problem—e.g. screenshots, HTTP headers, HTML snapshots, HAR files.
You can also receive e-mail reports summarizing the given period—usually a month, although you can also receive reports every week.


If your store is based on a popular platform—e.g. WordPress/WooCommerce, Drupal, Joomla—you can use a ready-made plugin, thanks to which the interface of the monitoring system will be integrated with your CMS and you will not have to log in anywhere else to display the monitoring history.

In all other cases, you can use the API offered by the system—and integrate data from the monitoring system in any way you want.

e-commerce monitoring

Additional tips

Here are some hints to keep in mind when starting e-store monitoring for the first time.

Exclusion from statistics

While the tests that check the availability of the site are invisible to services that track users’ behaviour on the website (e.g. Google Analytics), the more advanced ones (monitoring features or measuring the loading time) pretend to be real users and are registered.
You don’t want monitoring to interfere with your statistics, so make sure your software ignores visits generated by the monitoring system. You must create a filter for a specific UserAgent, i.e. a browser name—e.g. “Super Monitoring”.

Ignoring test orders

When monitoring the purchasing process, you must remember to handle (ignore or remove) test orders in the store—so that they won’t be carried out or disrupt sales statistics. You will recognize them simply through the data entered into the forms that you have defined in the scenario—for example through the e-mail address.


When setting up monitoring, it is worth whitelisting the monitoring system:

  • in the firewall, adding the IP addresses of all monitoring stations, to be sure that a large number of connections generated by the stations will not get them automatically blocked
  • on the mail server by adding the domain to make sure that all notifications and reports will reach the recipients.

Maintenance windows

If you are planning works in the application or on the server that may cause temporary unavailability, add maintenance windows in the monitoring system. The monitoring will then be temporarily suspended and no false failures will appear in the test history.

Processes at the company

Prepare for possible failures. This means that everyone should know what to do when the monitoring sends notifications about the detection of problems. Leaving this for the “near future”, i.e. the first real failure, is a very bad idea.

Help is at hand

If you don’t know how to get something done, don’t fight with the configuration for hours, just call for system support. Specialists are just waiting for the opportunity to help you—and to find out which elements are causing problems (and can be improved) along the way.

  • Do you monitor the availability and proper functioning of your online store? #ecommerce…

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Where to start

Set up a free test account and set up tests to monitor the most important features of your store. Or ask the system staff to set them up for you. Observe for 2 weeks how it works—how alerts and reports look like.
If no failure or malfunction occurs for the entire two weeks, click the button for generating the sample test failure. Or ask the service to extend the trial period—they will definitely agree. 🙂

Monitor webpages for changes with VisualPing

If there’s one thing that binds people across geographies, cultures, and preferences, it is the Internet. Regardless of their age, sex, or color, people all over the world spend an average of 2 – 3 hours on the Internet every day, and that makes for quite a big window of business opportunity. In such a setting, every business wants their website to be the one that a user visits when first looking out to buy stuff. That’s why they spend an awful lot of money, time, and effort into creating the perfect website that showcases their products and services to the world. But simply building the perfect website isn’t enough to ensure business continuity. Vendors need to keep making changes to them frequently to keep things interesting, even if the changes are as minute as a theme switch.

While that is true, sometimes, changes in the information displayed on websites are significant to users. Like the addition of new products to existing display, an update in the prices of things on sale, breaking news flash, information regarding examinations and admission dates, etc. Frequent online shoppers, travel enthusiasts, parents seeking admissions for their wards, or the average online newsreader are all constantly plugged on to the Internet hoping to see the information they want updated on the respective websites. The only thing they can do is keep refreshing webpages and waiting for a change.


Don’t you think that’s a waste of time and energy? You could instead be doing something more productive. But then, you’d have to miss out on changes as and when they happened. Right? Actually, no! With VisualPing, you can keep one of your eyes on changing webpages and one on your work. Want to know how?

VisualPing – Automated real-time monitoring for webpages

VisualPing is an online monitoring service that lets you keep a real-time eye on changes in particular webpages and get instant email alerts when they happen. The tool lets you mark what you wish to track on a webpage (updated price of your favorite bag, launch date announcement of a new gadget, availability of a flight, new job announcement, etc.) and check after every lapse of a designated time interval whether that information has changed or not. Getting the drift? So instead of sitting around refreshing webpages to see if things have changed, you can use VisualPing to monitor those webpages and send you email notifications if something has indeed changed. And the tool does that along with sending you before and after screenshots of the webpages. Neat eh?

Here’s a look at some of the simple yet attractive features of VisualPing:

  • It can send you notifications about changes every hour, day, week, or month to an email address or a Slack channel
  • It lets you monitor webpages using visual-mode (images) or web-mode (text)
  • The tool can detect visual changes, content changes, layout changes, etc.
  • It lets you automate repetitive tasks like monitoring of search rankings, competitive monitoring, etc.
  • With it you can use a proxy for monitoring the page
  • You can even use its blocker feature to block any obstructive ads
  • It sends you notifications with screenshots of the change you are tracking

With hundreds of the biggest corporate houses worldwide like Google, Adobe, BBC, 3M, etc. using VisualPing to automated website checks, the tool is a great way to stay on top of changing web-trends as and when they happen.

VisualPing - screenshot

How it works

This is as simple as it gets:

  1. Visit and you’ll see a textbox saying ‘Enter Website’
  2. Enter the name of webpage you wish to monitor here and click on ‘Go’
  3. You’ll see the tool working on capturing the initial screenshot of the website whose URL you just entered and after a couple of seconds, you’ll see it displayed within a compact box beneath the URL box
  4. On the screenshot you’ll see a select box (like the one in Windows paint) which you can click and drag to mark the areas on the website you wish to monitor for changes
  5. Scroll down to see another textbox where you’ll need to enter the email address on which you wish to receive the change notification. Also pick how frequently you want VisualPing to check for changes to the website by clicking on the light-yellow button that says ‘Every day’
  6. For making changes to advanced settings, click on the ‘Advanced’ label. This will open a small panel containing some more customization options:
    1. A toggle button using which you can specify if you want to monitor changes to images (visual) or text (web)
    2. A wait time after which a screenshot of the loaded page should be taken
    3. Option to display the webpage as it would when connecting from a specific location
    4. Option to pick what level of change you should be informed about
    5. Option to give the current job a name
  7. Once you’ve filled up everything, click on “Start Monitoring” to let VisualPing begin its work

If you’re simply using the tool to check for major changes on a webpage once or twice a day, all you need is the free account which entitles you for 2 checks per day for lifetime. If however, you need more checks, more frequently, with more snapshots, advanced settings, and support, you’ll need to sign up for one of the membership plans of the tool which are all quite affordable.

  • Monitor your favorite webpages for changes with @visualping via @supermonitoring

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The reason we didn’t include a pros and cons section in this review is that we could see some obvious pros in VisualPing but no cons. There’s a little addition that we would like to see however, and that is a small tutorial kind of thing (even a small video would do) explaining how an everyday user can use this tool and what benefit it will give it to them. It is quite obvious, yes, but sometimes, naïve users get lost while trying to understand the purpose behind the simplest of tools. Other than that, double thumbs-up to VisualPing from our end.

100+ Website Monitoring Services that Shut Down

Last update: February 22nd, 2019

16 shutdown services added (7 moved from “The Updated List of 100+ Website Monitoring Services” and 9 discovered)

Currently the list contains 109 items, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Website Monitoring Services that Shut Down…

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If you happen to know of yet another service that is no longer operational – please let us know in comments below.

The Updated List of 100+ Website Monitoring Services

Last update: February 22nd, 2019

9 new services added.
7 services moved to “100+ Website Monitoring Services that Shut down”

Currently the list contains 150 items, listed in alphabetical order.

If you know of any other service offering uptime monitoring that is missing here, please let us know by adding a comment below the list.

  • The Updated List of 100+ Website Monitoring Services…

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If you have a suggestion of a service that should be added to the list – please let us know in comments below.

Small improvements

We have just implemented two small modifications to the website:

1. The option to confirm the presence of the </html> tag (indicating if the whole page has been loaded) has been replaced with an option to confirm the presence of a user defined text string. In other words, the monitor can now look for any sentence or a tag you configure.

2. We have started to check and save downtime types. From now on, every unavailability event in the history will have this information next to its time and duration. Monitors can recognize the following outage types:

  • specific server response (other than “200 OK”)
  • timeout
  • nophrase (when a defined text string hasn’t been found).

More to come soon.

Best Web Tool Award

best web has been awarded and recommended as a top rated website monitoring service by Web Hosting Search who also provides reviews of the top hosting sites on the internet. service greatness secret revealed: Superheroes (video)

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