When it comes to getting that critical snapshot of your network infrastructure health, you can’t beat uptime monitoring tools. Uptime monitoring tools like ping monitors and SNMP monitors can constantly poll devices to check on their performance and notify you when a key system goes down.
Making sure that key devices and applications stay online ensures that you not only avoid downtime but also puts yourself in a position to stay profitable.
We get into a lot of details on each of the tools below, but in case you only have time for a sumary, here is our list of the best uptime monitoring tools and software:
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL) The industry leader in network monitoring Uses SNMP routines to check on the health of network devices.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) An integrated network, server, and application monitor with SNMP-driven uptime checks. Runs on Windows Server.
- Site24x7 Website Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) Cloud-based service that monitors website performance, IT infrastructure, and application activities.
- SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset (FREE TRIAL) A package of more than 60 tools to help you monitor and manage a network.
- Pingdom (FREE TRIAL) An online system that is aimed at website performance. It checks your network’s accessibility from more than 70 locations around the world.
- Server Density A cloud-based solution that monitors onsite and offsite networks, servers, and applications. Priced by subscription per server.
- Nagios XI Linux-based network monitor with a free version, called Nagios Core.
- ManageEngine OpManager SDNMP-based network monitoring system that installs on Linux or Windows Server and has great data visualization features.
- Zabbix Free, open source network monitoring system that has an appealing interface. Runs on Linux.
- OP5 Monitor Nagios-compatible network monitor that uses SNMP to check on device statuses.
- Icinga 2 A popular, free network monitoring tool that runs on Linux.
The best uptime monitoring tools
One of the best uptime monitoring tools on the market is SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor which has stood as a market leader in the uptime monitoring tools space. With this tool, you can view whether devices are classified as Up, Critical, Warning, or Undefined. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor uses SNMP polling to verify the status of devices throughout your network.
However, you aren’t limited to managing your network through the dashboard display alone. You can also view a network topology map that shows the status of your devices from a geographical perspective. This is referred to as NetPath critical path visualization. NetPath is most useful in live environments where you want to develop a quick perspective of how many devices are up in both your legacy and virtual environments.
All of the status information you see is kept up-to-date by an autodiscovery feature. The autodiscovery feature scans for new devices on startup and adds them to the software automatically. Throughout the lifetime of the product, autodiscovery ensures that new devices are added to your monitoring environment. This is great because you don’t have to do anything extra to monitor it.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor offers a scalable pricing structure that increases in price the more elements you want. This starts with NPM SL100 which allows you to monitor 100 elements for $2,955 (£2,265). The next version is NPM SL250 which supports up to 250 elements for $6,720 (£5,150). NPM SL500 supports 500 elements for $10,445 (£8,006). The next two versions are NPM SL2000 and NPM SLX. NPM SL2000 is available for $19,345 (£14,827) and supports 2000 elements whereas
NPM SLX supports unlimited elements for $32,525 (£24,930). You can also download a 30-day fully functional free trial of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.
If you’re looking for an uptime monitoring tool with a low price tag, SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset is an excellent choice. SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset offers you the ability to monitor your network in real time with a variety of useful tools. These include a Response Time Monitor, Memory Monitor, CPU Monitor, Interface Monitor, and TraceRoute. Each of these tools is exceptionally useful for checking up on your network periodically.
With the Response Time Monitor you can view the availability and latency of multiple devices. Response Time Monitor from SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset provides critical information like the name of the device, IP address, response time, and availability. You can even choose how often to poll the selected devices.
SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset also has a range of network discovery tools included in the software. There is a Port Scanner, Switch Port Mapper, IP NetworkBrowser, Ping Sweep, SNMP Sweep, and MAC Address Discovery utility. These help to automatically discover devices throughout the network and keep your manual monitoring down to a minimum.
Overall, SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset is a great alternative to SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. While SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor offers a little more depth, SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset has a high standard of core monitoring capabilities and can be purchased for a lower price of $1,495 (£1,145). You can also get a 14-day free trial download.
Site24x7 covers all the IT support of websites, enabling it to help web entrepreneurs to keep their sites available. The cloud service performs continual checks on the sites of customers from 90 locations around the world. These checks not only spot when sites go down but also when sites are not deliverable all over the world. That regional outage might be due to the actions of national governments or problems with internet performance.
Websites stand at the top of a stack of services and the failure of one supporting layer will cause the website to go down. So, knowing that a site has gone down is not enough; website owners need to quickly identify why it went down. Site24x7 assists system administrators to prevent outages by identifying equipment and applications that are under pressure.
The ability to spot status issues on the network, server and in-application performance gives systems administrators a chance to reallocate resources to head off disaster. Should there be no warning signs of an impending outage, the Site24x7 check can identify which internet service caused the failure. These checks include a Domain Expiry Monitor, SSL/TLS Certificate Monitor, a Ping Monitor, and a Web Transaction Monitor, among other automated monitoring tools.
Site24x7 is a cloud-based service and is charged for by subscription. The service is available for free to small businesses that only need to monitor up to five websites or servers. Enterprises that need more monitoring capacity than that can choose between four paid editions. Anyone of the paid versions of Site24/7 can be experienced on a 30-day free trial.
The Pingdom online monitoring tool offers you more than 70 locations around the world from which to check your system’s availability. Being based outside your network, it gives you a very effective user view of your websites and online services.
As the tool is based on external servers, there is very little work involved in getting this uptime monitor set up to check on your system performance. The service will monitor your network constantly and register an alert when performance standards slip. Those alerts are shown in the dashboard for the tool, but you can also get them sent to you as SMS or email notification, or through a web API. This means that you don’t have to sit watching the console in order to catch performance problems.
As this service is based remotely, it is specifically aimed at monitoring the availability of website and other internet services that your company may provide. As well as spotting performance problems, the tool will drill down and explore the causes of your problems. The Root Cause Analysis module will test server response times and perform a traceroute. This is done to identify whether your site is in trouble because of your own hardware, or because of your connection services.
Pingdom is priced by subscription and there are five package levels: Starter, Standard, Advanced, Professional, and Enterprise. You get a lower monthly price if you pay annually, although you can also pay per month. For example, the Starter package costs $14.95 (£9.95) if you pay monthly, or $11.95 (£7.95) per month if you pay yearly. You can also get a 14-day free trial download.
Next up on this list we have Paessler All-in-one uptime monitoring with PRTG Network Monitor solution which is part of the PRTG Network Monitor, a well-known SNMP monitoring tool that offers support for SNMP v1, V2c, and V3. This tool can be used to automatically scan for devices across your network. PRTG Network Monitor also has a sizeable range of ping monitoring sensors that help to check up on the status of connected devices.
The Ping sensor allows you to view ping time, minimum ping time, maximum ping time, and packet loss to assess how well your service is responding. This information is shown within the sensor view which allows you to view real-time and historic data. You can view historic data in a range of time periods; two days, 30 days and 365 days. There are over 100 different sensors on PRTG Network Monitor to help you monitor the status of your devices.
You don’t have to manually monitor these sensors in order to stay in the loop either. PRTG Network Monitor sends you notifications by email and SMS once a parameter has been exceeded. These alerts are configurable and you can set the trigger conditions that need to met before a notification is sent to you.
The least expensive version of PRTG Network Monitor is the freeware version which allows you to monitor up to 100 sensors without charge. Any larger enterprises will need to purchase PRTG 500 for $1,600 (£1,226). PRTG 1000 and PRTG 2500 can be purchased for $2,850 (£2,183) and $5,950 (£4,559) for 1000 and 2500 sensors. There are a number of other versions up to PRTG XL1 which supports unlimited sensors for $14,500 (£11,111). You can download a 30-day free trial of PRTG Network Monitor.
StackPath Server Density is a high-profile infrastructure monitoring solution used to ensure the uptime cloud services, servers, and websites. Server Density uses SNMP to poll connected devices and assess their performance. This product’s capabilities are solid, but its integration with over 100 providers like MySQL, MongoDB, and Apache make it a particularly versatile product.
This tool has an alerts system that is designed to minimize unnecessary alerts. You can implement wait options to make sure that there is a real problem before an alert is triggered. This helps to prevent freak fluctuations from triggering alerts. There is also an API where you can create your own alert configurations if you require even more control.
One of the things that makes Server Density such an accessible product is that it’s competitively priced. Server Density is available from a price of $10 (£7.66) per month for one server. This increases to $50 (£38) for five servers and $100 (£76) for 10 servers. The top public price point is $250 (£191) per month for 25 servers. If you require more servers then you’ll need to contact the company directly for a quote.
Nagios XI is a network monitoring platform that’s powered by the famous Nagios Core 4 monitoring engine. Nagios XI is one of the most compelling network monitoring tools on CentOS and Redhat Enterprise Linux. This tool provides a centralized perspective of your network and allows you to view whether a service is up or down. This can be seen most clearly in the Host Status Summary or Service Status Summary views where services are categorized and color-coded as Up, Down, Unreachable, and Pending.
However, this software is as much focused on helping you to prevent downtime as anything else. The sheer variety of visual displays allows you to keep tabs on your network health before devices go down. For example, there is a Top Alert Producers Last 24 hours view that shows you those devices that are flaring up with problematic activity.
One of the features that has made Nagios XI gain so much traction is its usage of add-ons. There are tons of different add-ons that you can use to expand the basic functionality of Nagios XI according to your needs. These add-ons are developed by the community giving you a range of options as far as customizing your monitoring architecture.
Nagios XI is also the perfect entry-level tool with a free licensed version, although this is limited to seven hosts. If you require more hosts then you can buy the Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition. The Standard Edition can be purchased for $1,995 (£1,528) with custom dashboards, reporting, notifications, and configuration wizards. The Enterprise Edition can be purchased for $3,495 (£2,677) with scheduled reports. You can download the 60-day free trial of Nagios XI.
ManageEngine OpManager is a network monitoring software tool that provides one of the most complete SNMP monitoring experiences to date. This tool offers users an SNMP monitoring experience that is kept up-to-date through the use of automatic network discovery. In fact, you can use autodiscovery to register up to 15,000 interfaces a minute.
You can find devices by providing ManageEngine OpManager with an IP range to scan. This platform has the ability to monitor a range of devices and servers from providers like Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris, and VMware. In other words, if there’s a problem with a service on your network, you’ll know about it immediately.
If you need to develop a more sophisticated perspective about the status of your devices then you can produce reports based on over 100 reporting profiles. You can also schedule reports so that you don’t have to continuously schedule reports manually.
ManageEngine OpManager is available on Linux, Debian, Fedora, Mandrake, and Windows 2012 R2, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008, 2003 Server, Vista, 7 and 2000 Professional SP4. The Essential edition of ManageEngine OpManager can be purchased for $595 (£455) for up to 25 devices. The next version is OpManager Plus which can be purchased for $995 (£762) for 25 devices as well. The largest version is the Enterprise edition which can be purchased for $16,495 (£12,638) for 500 devices. There is also a free trial.
Zabbix is an open source network monitoring tool that is ideal for watching your uptime status. With Zabbix you can view when a service is in a warning or critical state, and when it is down completely. The interesting thing about Zabbix is the depth of its performance monitoring capabilities. You can monitor device temperature, power supply, disk space, and fan status. This provides you with a range of information that can help you to prevent a device from failing.
However, Zabbix’s performance monitoring capabilities are not limited to network health alone. Zabbix can also monitor your network traffic, and determine how much bandwidth there is available. Monitoring your network traffic helps you to make sure that your connection stays available and prompt to all devices throughout your network.
The Zabbix platform isn’t lacking in terms of network discovery features as well. Zabbix scans your network at regular intervals to check for new devices. Once a device has been discovered a discovery event is generated. Depending on your requirements, this can be used to raise a notification, add or remove the host, or even execute a remote script.
All-in-all if you’re in need of a free network monitoring tool then Zabbix is a product you should definitely consider. It has all the features of a premium-priced application without the hefty price tag. Zabbix can be downloaded for free on CentOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. Zabbix is available for download.
OP5 Monitor is a tool that often gets overlooked as far as network monitoring products go which is unfortunate because it is one of the best tools in the world. It is compatible with SNMP and can read SNMP enabled devices and SNMP traps to ascertain the health of devices in your network. If there are any problems then you will be notified by an alert so that you can step in.
On the whole, the user interface of OP5 Monitor provides a malleable user experience. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the ability to create custom dashboards to determine how you go about monitoring your network. Customizing your dashboard is as simple as dragging and dropping widgets into place. Being able to customize the dashboard according to the needs of your enterprise is very useful.
The configurable user experience is carried over into the ability to generate custom reports. Reports are completely customizable and can be accessed straight from the dashboard. Having reports accessible in this manner ensures that every member of your team has all the information they need on all live devices.
While OP5 Monitor is not the most popular network monitoring tool on this list, it is a formidable competitor to even the top products in the world. Unfortunately, you’ll have to contact the sales team in order to view the price of this product. If you’re currently a Nagios user it is worth noting that you can migrate your monitoring environment straight into OP5 Monitor. There is also a 30-day free trial of OP5 Monitor.
Finally, we have Icinga 2, a classic network monitoring tool or enjoy the use of more advanced features like a command line interface and RESTful API. The traditional side of the monitoring experience allows you to generate graphs and charts to display your network performance. This helps you to see if there are any issues from the top down.
For more ambitious users there is also a command line interface called icingacli. With icingacli, you can query Icinga data for further insights into your network performance. This is also seen through Icinga 2’s use of a RESTful API which allows you to update your network monitoring configurations and view live usage data. These two elements provide you with a much higher degree of transparency and control than more traditional dashboard-based experiences.
However, you don’t need to deploy these commands in order to stay up-to-date. With the alerts system, you receive notifications by email and text message if any of your systems goes down. You also have the option to configure alerts via user or group so that certain members of staff receive certain alerts. This is a useful feature because it allows you to respond to threats promptly when they emerge.
Icinga 2 is a tool you should consider if you want to monitor your network with both a command line interface and a dashboard. Icinga 2 is available on Debian, Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SLES, Ubuntu, Fedora, and OpenSUSE. Icinga 2 can be downloaded for free.
That concludes our list of the best uptime monitoring tools and software. If you’re operating on a Windows environment then we highly recommend that you purchase SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor or Server Density. Both of these tools offer the perfect mix of accessibility and in-depth infrastructure monitoring. If you’re on Linux then we recommend you try out Zabbix or Icinga 2 based on their configurability!