You can do a splendid job obtaining high search engine ranking and an equally fine job marketing your site. However, your hard work will be of little value unless your site and servers are up and fully operational. Unfortunately, items such as software lockups, hardware failures, databases, hackers, viruses, worms, service patches, and Internet connectivity can all play a critical role in your online success. Enter firms that specialize in email, site, and server monitoring. What exactly is "server, email, and web site monitoring"?
Web site monitoring refers to monitoring operational status and performance of a web site that uses HTTP and/or HTTPS. Likewise, email monitoring refers to monitoring, operational status and performance of SMTP servers to insure that mail is flowing correctly and timely. Server monitoring refers to monitoring operational status and performance of other server services such as FTP. While difference may seem slight, it is important to note difference.
How Does Monitoring Work?
Monitoring firms attempt to connect to your site or server service at regular intervals via Internet. If monitoring service is unable to connect and verify correct operational status, most firms will retry based on customer defined timeout and retry levels. If operational status still cannot be confirmed, then a customer defined contact list is notified. Upon resumption of service, most monitoring services will notify contact list again informing them site or server service is operational.
Determining Operational Status
Some monitoring services simply use ping to see if a server answers and record response times during process. Some services use more complex techniques such as checking web page code, database connectivity, keyword verification, and email round robin. The important point to consider is how a monitoring firm determines operational status. A ping request for example may verify server has power, but does not guarantee a web site or server services is operational.
Most monitoring services provide detailed statistics that can be especially helpful in verifying SLA and QOS agreements are being honored. When reviewing monitoring services, insure that method used to determine operational status is applicable to your SLA or QOS agreement.
What Changes are Required?
Some monitoring services require that executables be installed on your server. While this practice is not wide spread, it does exist. Most Internet monitoring services can query your site or server service without need of agents and associated complexity and maintenance required by installing additional software.
If you need to monitor sites or servers that are behind a firewall, a firewall rule will need to be established. Most monitoring services will provide originating IP information upon request.