Your website may be hosted in the world's best data center or in a supercloud, but you won't avoid outages. (Not even Amazon, Facebook, or Google do.) There are simply too many factors causing failures, such as hardware, software, human errors, or third-party actions.
If you're still hesitating about using website monitoring because you really don't see the point of it, I have 10 reasons for you that should leave no doubt.
1. You will always be the first person to know about your website being down
Who or what would you choose to tell you your site is down?
- An angry customer on the phone
- Your boss suddenly visiting you at your desk
- An email or SMS from a monitoring system
However, when using website monitoring, you will receive an alert the moment a failure is detected. (It will be dispatched in 60 seconds maximum from the time the failure occurs, as this is the monitoring frequency.) You might not manage to react that swiftly, but at least you won't be surprised.
2. You will minimize downtime and its consequences
The sooner you learn about a failure, the quicker you can react and make sure it is resolved. Moreover, the downtime is shorter.
Every minute of your website acting faulty means specific consequences. Those include lost leads (or even sales in the case of e-commerce websites), media contacts, job inquiries, potential partners, not handled customers, not displayed ads, and so forth.
3. You will verify the quality of your hosting provider's services
Don't rely solely on your hosting provider or web agency that looks after your website.
First, not every failure is a failure, according to the provider or agency. For example, if a server is working properly, a website that doesn't display the way it should is not a failure for a Web-hosting company.
Second, providers don't really care about informing their clients about every single downtime, especially in the case of Service Level Agreements (SLA) specifying penalties for not reaching agreed uptime levels (commonly 99.8-99.9%).
It's good to be able to verify uptime reports delivered by a hosting provider.
When using a website-monitoring service, however, you can set your subcontractors as additional alert recipients—and shorten the reaction time even more.
4. You will prevent your campaign budget from being wasted
Outage consequences are the most severe during advertising activities. Every visit on your website generated by a campaign is a user from a defined target group (your potential customer) and therefore, a measurable cost. If potential customers land on a website that is down, you're losing money.
Another result of a website failure is the negative effect on your brand image. A disappointed visitor might never come back to your website again.
If you run a popular site and offer advertising on it, your customers' campaigns are not displaying during a downtime. And that's time during which you also lose money—because you will have to deliver not displayed banner impressions anyway.
Therefore, any advertising activity on your website makes the failure reaction time even more critical.
5. You will keep an eye on your server's performance
There are situations where a failure can be predicted and prevented. One of them is a load (traffic volume) exceeding server capabilities.
A growing server response time is a sure signal informing you about a significant load increase. By configuring a limit of acceptable response time in a monitoring system, you can make sure that you will be alerted when it is exceeded.
You then will have time to react (upgrade the server) before your website goes down.
6. You will discover an error while your website is theoretically up
What about a situation where your website is up, loading quickly and in full, the navigation works properly, but... the contact form is not working?
At first sight, everything is OK. Even you might not notice that something is wrong. You won't learn about the problem until you notice that the number of contacts has dropped. Or when a friendly user sends you an email "manually" and informs you about it.
Fortunately, besides the general availability of your website, you can also monitor its key functionalities, such as a contact form, login form, or shopping cart.
7. You will detect an unauthorized interference to your website's files
One of the most useful features of website monitoring systems is verifying file checksum and comparing it with its reference.
Because of that functionality, if anyone unauthorized (a hacker or virus) modifies key files available on your website (e.g., a PDF document or software package), you will be alerted immediately.
8. You will obtain an independent confirmation of your website's real uptime
I have already mentioned above the need to verify the uptime value given to you by your hosting provider.
The real monthly uptime measured by a trusted third party can come in handy when talking to your website users—especially if you provide services online (SaaS).
If your result (uptime) is worth bragging about, you can use it to your advantage and present it, for example, in your website's footer.
9. You will check not only your website
The additional application for website monitoring systems is monitoring servers—and not only Web servers. Some appropriate changes in the configuration will enable you to test your mail server, file server, database server, and so on.
What's more, you can monitor websites of your competitors. What for? One reason may be to be notified when the words "promotion" or "new" appear there.
10. It won't cost you much and you don't have to install anything
Starting to monitor your website with a monitoring service is a matter of a few minutes. Just fill in the sign-up form, and the service will launch immediately. You don't have to perform any additional actions on the monitored website.
In most cases the uptime monitoring service is "transparent" also for Web-traffic tracking packages, such as Google Analytics.
Regarding the costs, a few hundred dollars per year is not a high price for improving your online business security and for multiple additional features.
Internal tools won't replace external monitoring.
All server admins usually use their own (internal) monitoring systems—usually for their own needs, but sometimes they provide them to the customer.
Such a system has a different purpose (to track server, hardware, and software parameters) and doesn't have the functionalities mentioned above.
It also lacks one very important feature necessary to detect all kinds of outages and to prevent false positives—a distributed monitoring network of independent servers in different locations and networks.
* * *
Perhaps not all of my arguments above appeal to you—but I believe some of them just may convince you to use website monitoring.
Oh, boy. The dreaded sign up form.
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