Friday, May 1, 2009

Monitoring Site Uptime

Site Uptime Monitoring can be done by a variety of services to check websites availability and uptime. What does it mean?

While monitoring your site, These services will periodically query your hosting server to see if it responds readily. These requests are similar to those sent by a Web browser when a common visitor types the URL of your site in the browser address bar and presses "enter" to see one of your Web pages.

These queries are sent from several monitoring centers (to ensure that the error response is really caused by your hosting server downtime, not by connection problems between our monitoring center and your host). The frequency of the monitoring queries depends on the service plan you select and can vary from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

As soon as your server is reported experiencing troubles, our monitoring centers send notifications to the e-mail addresses you specify and start querying your host every minute to find out when the server recovers and calculate the estimated downtime. You may also choose to be sent notifications as soon as the host recovers.

These web monitoring tools are also useful to evaluate time needed for an average visitor to get through to your pages. Actually, when a user's browser sends an HTTP request, this request is routed through many hosts in the Internet before it reaches the destination.

Custom ports monitoring
Usually, traffic flows on the server are organized through different ports, each port being responsible for a separate type of data, most commonly termed as a protocol. HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is one of the most widespread protocols on the Web, through which Web pages are commonly served to the user's browser. As a rule (but not always), port 80 (or 8080) is responsible for the HTTP protocol. Another popular protocol is POP (Post Office Protocol) which uses port 110 by default.

What does all this mean? You can connect to one and the same host (IP address) through different ports to communicate different kinds of data between your machine and the server. If you connect to through the 80 th port, it expects you to request and retrieve Web pages, and if you connect through the 110 th port, it expects you to look for mail messages.

In case your server allows for additional ports to be used in custom purposes (i.e. your hosting package includes the ability to establish your own e-mail accounts on the server), you can monitor the availability of those ports as well.

Speed test
Speed test allows you to immediately check how long it takes either of our monitoring centers to download a certain amount of information from your host (more specifically, how much information could be downloaded in one second to each of the monitoring centers). The higher the connection speed, the more information there is available to download per second.

Content monitoring
The content monitoring option warns you when text (a word or phrase) is missing on a certain page of your site or vice versa, when a certain text you don't want appears on your pages. The first can mean that your content has been changed without your permission (and as such this is an intrusion alert). The second can be used to track the appearance of the error / warning texts (e.g. "Host not found" or "Server busy"). The second also can be used to debug server-side scripts (the alert text may be " CGI script error", "Fatal error" etc).

To summarize all you can use site uptime monitoring to see if you're losing a considerable amount of traffic you have earned as a result of your SEO / SEM campaigns, and decide if your server's performance gives you a reason to change the hosting service. To determine whether your pages are being served slowly and damaging your usability Monitor the DNS resolve and host ping average speed, as well as content download speed, to find out whether your pages appear slower than they should to the average visitor, thus damaging the overall usability grade of your site.

For more information on Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing and Web Design, please contact BLaST creative today!

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