Monday, July 28, 2008

It's 10:00. Do You Know Where Your Website is?

Don't you just hate it when some smart aleck geek friend rings your phone, and when you pick up all they do is play half a minute's worth of Janis Joplin's song "Down on Me"? Your friends wouldn't do that, would they? No, they'd play Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down on the Corner."

Instead of being annoyed, you should be thanking your friends for providing a valuable if embarrassing service. In their own not so subtle ways they're trying to tell you that your website is down, dead, missing in action. They've got your number and it's 404.

Let's face it. Every once in awhile servers stop serving. Disk heads crash. Power supplies smell putrid and start emitting smoke. Lightning strikes and knocks out everything. Chances are that you won't be around because Murphy's Law dictates that these things happen when you're far away and least expect it. So, can you depend on your comedic friends catching the problem right away or would you like a more professional solution?

There are two nice things about a professional site monitoring service. One: It's always on duty and ready to alert you to server problems. Two: It's professional. it doesn't point and laugh, or even play songs through the telephone.

An automated site monitoring service can provide you with information no friends or even employees would have the patience to collect. You can get running graphs showing uptime, downtime, average response time, server status, time of last error event, notifications, and so on. View them online at your leisure and look for trends.

A monitoring and alert service called Just Uptime will do that and more. Like your friends, Just Uptime will call your phone to let you know when your servers have a problem. But unlike your friends, you'll get a text message not a snarky song clip. You can set the system to check and report in whatever increment you wish, from a paranoid every minute to a lackadaisical every hour.

Just Uptime. Catchy name, huh? Well, their name is their fame. They offer quite a range of checks, including HTTP/HTTPS, Ping, TCP/UDP, DNS, POP/IMAP/SMTP, and website keyword. You can get error notifications by email or SMS to unlimited contacts. All of this is controllable from a handy online control panel where you can also set parameters and view reports. The system will check locations worldwide and you can include all of your servers on the same account.

Pricey? Not really. Basic service is under ten bucks a month and you can upgrade for more checks and more notifications as you see fit. There's no setup fee or long term contract. Just to make sure you like the service, you can try it free with no credit card needed. Chances are you will like it and continue service, to the chagrin of your jovial compadres. Learn more and try Server Monitoring & Alerts from Just Uptime.

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