Running a website can be a great cost saver and set up costs are minimal (according to a recent survey small business hosting shouldn’t cost more than $15 per month). You can sell without having a brick and mortar store and you can run an agency or consultancy without having to rent offices to impress potential clients. However, your site will damage your business if it is slow to load or goes down. It would be very annoying if the internet connection service that you are paying for loses you business by going down. You can keep on top of these failure conditions with an internet monitor.
- 1 Monitoring services
- 2 Scaling your monitor
- 3 Internet monitoring tools
- 4 Monitoring internet performance
When you are checking to make sure that your site is being delivered at an acceptable speed, you need to monitor several factors. So, look for a tool that will give you the user perspective and will check through several pages on your site rather than one that will just ping your Home page.
Most of the tools in this list are provided on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. That means that they take no time to set up and they are incredibly easy to use. You don’t need to keep updating this software and you don’t need to worry about which point on your network is the best place to install the tool.
Scaling your monitor
An advantage of Cloud-based services is that they charge on a subscription basis and most of them offer several different plans. That means that you can choose a plan that is suitable to your size of business. If you have only one website with few pages, you don’t want to have to pay for the same service that is tailored to large businesses with many websites. The great thing about these services is that they will allow you to upgrade your plan as your business grows.
When you look for an internet monitoring tool you should check that it fits your business size while also making sure that the tool covers all of the performance factors that you need to monitor on your website.
Internet monitoring tools
There are many options out there when you are in the market for an internet service monitor. It would take you a long time to assess each of these tools, so we have done the legwork for you. In this guide you will narrow down your search so you can save time and focus on the best options.
Here is our list of the 10 best internet monitoring software and tools:
- Paessler Internet Monitoring Software with PRTG (FREE TRIAL)
- SolarWinds Pingdom (FREE TRIAL)
- Site 24×7
- Uptime Robot
You can read more about each of these tools in the following sections.
Paessler’s PRTG monitoring tool covers network, server, and application monitoring. The utility includes many different sensors. Each sensor is actually a separate monitoring program. The menu of available monitors includes the ability to check on your site’s availability from several locations around the globe. These tests give you a live view of access speeds for your site. So, you can see how long it takes members of the public to get to your site anytime during the day.
The internet monitoring tool has the Ping function at its heart. So, if your internet service suddenly stops working, you will know right away and be able to take action. As well as seeing a line graph of access times from three different locations, you will be able to set the system to notify you when the internet service performance drops. These notifications can be delivered by email, SMS, or pager alert.
The PRTG internet monitor checks on more than just site availability. You can also use the tool to ensure that all elements of the site are loading properly. You can also use the tool to check on the user experience, performing a run through of the full buyer path from initial visit to a purchase. This enable you to check that database access is efficient and that your shopping cart software is working properly.
The monitoring capabilities of PRTG are not restricted to your own website. You can also check other sites on the internet. Thus, you will be able to compare the response times of your site compared to rival sites.
The PRTG package includes a lot of monitoring utilities. Problems with your website response times might not be caused by your internet service. Server and application performance, and also internal network response times can impact on site delivery times. With the full PRTG system, you can check for the cause of any internet response time problems and drill through your system to find the exact cause of the fault.
You can get a 30-day free trial of PRTG with all sensors available. Paessler charges for PRTG in service level bundles. Each charging band is calculated on the number of sensors that you activate. If you only activate up to 100 sensors, you can use PRTG free of charge forever.
Pingdom is a Cloud-based system that monitors your internet connection and your network performance from an external viewpoint, so you don’t have to install any software. The service is accessed through a Web browser, giving you a personalized dashboard, which you access with account credentials.
As an external service, Pingdom is well-placed to examine the performance of your internet connection and the delivery of web pages from your server. This is true even if you don’t have any onsite equipment and run your business entirely on Cloud-based services.
You can set up a dashboard view to watch stats from several sites all on the same page. This saves you from having to switch accounts in order to keep control of your multi-site business.
The service constantly tests your site’s availability from more than 60 locations around the world. Those tests can be set to check on specific functions of your site, such as sign up or login procedures. That monitoring extends to tracking visitor journeys through your site. Those visitors can be selected at random, but you can also specify surfers to track if your site has frequent repeat visitors.
Problems get double-checked from another source to ensure that there is no false reporting. You get notified by an alert when a confirmed performance problem is detected. Those alerts can be channeled through to other apps that you use frequently in your system administration work. You can grade faults and also get them directed to different team members. You get the right to set up several different user accounts on the Cloud service to enable each team member to have a customized view of the dashboard with different levels of controls.
Pricing is subscription-based with different service levels. You can get a 14-day free trial of the Pingdom system.
Outages.io offers two options: a hardware and a software solution to internet service monitoring. The hardware device is a box that attaches to your router and becomes part of your home or office network. The firmware of the box is monitored by Outages.io and gets updated automatically.
The software version of the tool can be installed on Windows 7, 8, and 10, CentOS, and Debian Linux. The tool is able to monitor remote sites as well as the internet connection on your home site and you can also access a control panel in the Cloud.
The aim of this tool is to identify poor performance and outages on your internet connection. It is also able to tell if services on your web server are running slowly or have faults. The monitoring service extends to remote sites and Cloud services as well as onsite servers. The dashboard presents a bar graph of performance samples. Each sample can be queried for details by hovering the mouse pointer over it. The report identifies where the problem lies – local, internet service, or remote service. You can even see which hop on a connection is causing problems. You can set the dashboard to send you notifications by email when performance problems occur.
You can download the software version of Outages.io at the service’s website. This gives you the full-feature tool for 14 days. After that period, you can continue to use the standard version of the internet monitor, or choose to upgrade to the paid version for extra features. You can also access a demo version via the website.
Added bonuses are a free DNS service and a security scan. The hardware option comes with a built-in DNS server and a webcam connection.
NodePing is charged-for by subscription, but it doesn’t grade service levels. It has one package for all with very high capabilities. The service will monitor your websites at one-minute intervals and you can cover up to 250 sites with one subscription. The service allows you unlimited user accounts so you don’t have to make all of your systems administration team log in with the same credentials. It is also possible to tailor each account’s dashboard so you can safely give junior members access without the risk of them getting powerful and potentially damaging control on the system.
It checks SSL connections to make sure that your HTTPS service is running correctly. As well as ensuring that the connection security is operating properly, NodePing will probe your web server and its services so it can give you precise reasons for poor performance once connection errors are detected. Tests extend to your email service and DNS system. You don’t have to install any software on your system in order to use the service because it is entirely cloud-based.
The NodePing program will notify you by email or SMS if problems are detected. International SMS messages are not charged for as an extra but are included in the subscription fee. The fee also includes access to diagnostic tools and there is a plan for web hosting companies that lets them provide access to NodePing utilities to their customers.
NodePing gives sellers a referral bounty and you can give the system a check by accessing a 15-day free trial.
5. Site 24×7
Site w24x7 is run by Zoho – the same company that produces ManageEngine resource monitoring software. This Cloud-based internet monitoring service does not need any software to be installed on your servers. It checks the availability and delivery speed of your websites from an external location.
If you do plan to take some pages down or move them on your site, the 24×7 dashboard creates status pages that will display instead of default error messages. This service also enables you to redirect customers to replacement pages.
System checks extend to tracking visitor journeys through your site with timings for each page visited, which can help you work out how to make access to important pages quicker as well as timing the delivery of each page.
The dashboard of the site is very well presented and includes data visualizations. The presentation is mobile-responsive so you can access it from your mobile device when out of the office. The service extends to alerts that can be delivered by email or SMS.
This service is charged for on a subscription basis with a range of plans to suit enterprises of different sizes. You can try out this internet monitoring system on a 30-day free trial.
The Uptrends service monitors a range of factors for websites, including internet service availability. The tool is a remote service, so you don’t need to install any software on your servers. The monitor can check web servers in any location, including those hosted on the Cloud. It can also help you check on the performance of sites that you don’t own so you can compare the delivery times of your website with the performance of your rivals.
The service will check a range of factors on your site, including SSL certificates, DNS records, and FTP server performance. Performance samples are taken every minute and the graphs that represent this data can be exported to PDF or Excel format and you can also email reports out. The Uptrends service will store your historical data for analysis for two years.
The monitor has a customizable dashboard that includes lots of visualizations. You can add on user accounts for all of your team and tailor the dashboard for each, or for groups of users.
The service will send you alerts by email, SMS, or through some other communication app, such as Slack. You can access the dashboard from anywhere, including on mobile devices.
The system will track user journeys through your site and record the load times for all pages visited. It will also assess the mobile-friendliness of your site.
Uptrends has two packages, which are Basic Web Monitoring and Advanced Web Monitoring. Each of these options is offered in service levels to suit different sizes of businesses. Charges are made on a subscription basis and you can get a 30-day free trial.
As well as watching delivery times, Dynatrace shows a typical visitor journey through your site, so it is a handy source of marketing data as well as an operations performance monitoring tool.
This is a Cloud-based service, but you do need to install some software on your system. This is the OneAgent, which runs on Windows Server or Linux. It will give you stats on the performance of hosted sites as well as sites that you run from your own servers.
The service is charged on a subscription model and you can try it for free for 15 days.
8. Uptime Robot
Uptime Robot started out as a free internet monitoring service but now there is also a paid version available. The free version will check on the performance of your website every five minutes, while the paid version, called Pro, will check on your site’s delivery speed every minute. Other differences lie in the storage period for historical data. With the free version, you can store data for two months, while the paid version will store data for one year.
Performance data can be set to trigger an alert when transfer time exceeds a set time. These alerts are delivered by SMS.
You get 50 monitors with the free version. Pricing for the paid version depends on how many monitors you choose to deploy. These monitors are situated at different points of the globe. There are different monitor types in the package. These are HTTPS, HTTP, Ping, and Port monitors. You can also run a keyword check on your site to get a report on the presence of desired keywords in your content.
This is a great service that is easy to manage.
Uptime is another Cloud-based web checking service. This utility can monitor sites that are on premises, on remote sites, or in the hands of an online hosting service. This tool will check on the availability of your internet services, servers, and applications. It will check on page load speeds for your site and check on the general health of your web services including DNS records.
The Uptime package includes a status page service that will notify users gracefully of missing pages or incorrect addresses. The tool also gives you the ability to follow visitor journeys through your site with its real user monitoring.
The service is available on a subscription basis with four different service plans. Uptime has servers all over the world from which you can run your system checks. You get access to more geographical locations with the higher plans. If you want to try out the service without risk, pick up the 21-day free trial.
10. Status Cake
StatusCake is another online service for monitoring internet service. This tool will check on the performance of a website and identify whether the problem is due to the internet service, a troubled hop on the route, the web server, or services and applications that support the site.
The service has 28 servers around the world, which let you see the performance of your site when accessed from different locations. The server monitoring service is only available for Linux servers. The checks that the StatusCake service includes are Ping, HTTP, SSH, SMTP, and TCP. It will also monitor the DNS entries for your domain. You can see live feedback on performance in the dashboard and you can also get reports run on schedule and emailed to you.
Monitoring internet performance
You may have a great product and a fantastic website, but if it is slow to load, visitors will give up and look at the next site on the search engine results page. You can’t sit and test your own site yourself thoroughly. For one thing, you probably have better things to do than sit and constantly reload your site’s pages and for another, you will never be able to test its performance when accessed from the other side of the world without help.
Getting an internet monitor will save you a lot of time and help you spot web delivery problems as soon as they arise. Make the most of the free versions or free trials of the tools that are in this guide to try out several options without risking any money.
Do you use an internet monitor? Have you tried any of the tools listed in this guide? Leave a message in the Comments section below and share your experience with the community.