uptime monitor

Uptime Monitoring For WordPress

Let’s face it you are not monitoring your WordPress site 24/7 for uptime, you are running a business and having a life.

Today I want to talk about some automated uptime monitoring tools for your site which will alert you if it goes down.

Downtime Is Not A Good Time

Having a potential customer / client visit your site only to find error messages or the site completely offline is not good, your reputation could be ruined and you could lose new business or repeat orders.

Being the first to know your site is down is pretty important, so I’ll tell you some good tools to use.

Don’t remind me of the day I was running Facebook ads and the site was crashing, It would have felt better to set fire to a pile of cash. I know from first hand experience what downtime without alerts is like.

Two Types Of Monitoring

There are two main types of uptime monitoring available, we need both in place for a good monitoring solution.

Ping monitoring – this is where a tool connects to your website and checks for a valid return code. “Oh no he’s bibbling in techie again !”I can hear you say.  Each time your browser connects to a website it also returns a code to the browser along with the content.  Everthing below 400 means every thing is okay, 404 means the page is missing, 500 mean an error there are a whole long raft of these return codes, uptime monitors check for and alert if an error code is returned.

Content Monitoring – sometimes websites return error codes, but they also return site okay codes so we need to do a double team of a ping with a content monitor.  This tells your uptime monitor to look for specific content in the page.  Let me give you an example, half way down my home page is the following string, if my monitor cannot detect that, then there is definitely a problem with my home page and an alert should be raised.

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Multiple Page Monitoring

I tend to focus on the home page of sites for monitoring but if you have a high value e-commerce store you should  also consider monitoring the cart page and the checkout page too, the home page could be up but internal pages could be down.

Alerting

Most of the tools send email alerts, but some also alert to slack or even SMS, you can decide how critical uptime is.

Repeat Checks

It is important that the tool you choose keeps checking and alerts you if your site comes back online, it is not unknown for a host to crash and be back up in a few minutes.  Guess what they won’t tell you there has been an outage (Godaddy I’m looking at you here).

Uptime Monitoring Tools

All uptime monitoring needs to be external to your site, it will send pings and content monitor pulls from an external server as if a client was connecting to your site.

Here are the tools I recommend:

Jetpack

The multipurpose plugin created by the team at Automattic.  One of the features is a monitor.

You will need an account at WordPress.com for this system to work.  Jetpack is a ping only monitor, there is no content monitoring, read this for more details on how they monitor https://jetpack.com/support/monitor/

Cost – free

URL – https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/

Uptime Robot

This is an external system where you setup one or more sites or multiple pages within one site, I used this for many years.

It has pings and content monitoring, the pro version has SMS alerts.  There are some advanced monitors such as ports and http specific monitors.

There is a plugin for WordPress where you can pull in uptime stats into your WordPress dashboard.

Cost – the first 50 monitors are free then you pay for pro versions at about $5 per 50 monitors.  A monitor is a single check, so on one site ping would be 1, a content check would be another.

URL – uptimerobot.com

ManageWP

My preferred uptime monitor for my own and maintenance client sites.

Managewp uptime monitor checks for http codes and for custom strings on a page, it sends alerts via email, SMS or slack if that is your thang.

Cost – managewp is free but the uptime monitor is an addon at approx $1.50 per month (managewp billing is super complex).

URL – managewp.com

Wrap Up

I recommend an uptime monitor even the free ones above are really good and the 5 minutes it takes to activate can help your online reputation.

Photo Credit: MaartenB Flickr via Compfight cc

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