Mar 12 2011
Making sure your website is working and online, is an unending task. Just when you think everything’s going right, you check it and learn your site’s down. I remember the pang of panic the first time a site of mine crashed. Being a newbie to site ownership at the time I nearly expected the internet police to stop by and give me a citation. When your site goes down, it’s cause for immediate concern.
Most site owners find ways to monitor their sites. The most basic is a rudimentary ping service. This will ping your site and notify you if it’s not online. At a very practical level sometimes this is all that’s needed. It provides a timely answer to the basic question of whether your site is accessible or not.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In many circumstances site owners don’t want to wait until their site is down to learn that they have a problem. For this, ServerMonitoringHQ as built. It’s a server monitoring service that goes far beyond a basic ping service. It’s a tool that can remotely access your machine and track what’s actually happening on your box. Thus, it can track potentially problematic issues prior to your website going down.
To set up ServerMonitoringHQ you first need to register for an account. The fee depends on how many machines you’d like to track, with the basic plan being $5/month. Once registered you need to give ServerMonitoringHQ ssh access to your machine. For added security you can have it generate a public key so no other system will be able to access yours. It can track CPU, Load, Memory, bandwidth, and disk space. You can configure it to monitor your machine down to one minute intervals so you will be alerted to issues as soon as they happen.
The basic dashboard displays all your servers being monitored, along with their load, memory, and percentage of swap space being used. You can drill down to see how much disk space is being used, as well as your bandwidth usage. It comes with various graphs and displays including memory usage graphs, and my personal favorite feature- a live top display.
You can configure exactly how you’d like it to monitor your box. It allows you to toggle whether you’d like it to check web pages (like a basic ping service) or check TCP/IP ports. It also allows you to designate when you’d like to be informed that there’s an issue. For instance, you can say you’d like to be alerted once 80% of your swap space is taken up. The same is true for memory, CPU usage, and disk space as well. If an issue occurs, you can establish an escalation path for the alert system. By default you can have your staff be notified immediately, and if the issue isn’t resolved within an hour the supervisor with be alerted as well. All issues are tracked in a log so you can gauge how well your system is working over time. If your site happens to go down often, perhaps it’s time to find a new hosting service. Or if MySQL is always hanging, then maybe you need to upgrade or debug what the issue is.
Keeping one’s website online is important. If your site is continually having issues, users quickly lose interest. Web surfers aren’t widely known for their patience. Thus, every minute your site is down equates to lost users and lost money. ServerMonitoringHQ provides you the tools to be informed before your site crashes, so you can proactively resolve the issue.