For anyone that has a blog or website on the internet it is important to know your website's uptime, which means when it is working properly. What you really want to know though is if your website has downtime, which is when your website is not working. Website monitoring services and sites are the best way to let you know the reliability of your hosting company and to alert when your website is down.
Website monitoring services are useful since they check your website at set intervals throughout the day to make sure it is up. A single person can't obviously monitor a website every minute of every day. It is just not possible unless you have some super human powers I don't know about that allows you to not sleep.
These site monitoring services and ping services are extremely useful and great for the testing the reliability of your hosting provider. While extremely useful a lot of website monitoring services cost quite a lot of money each month. Generally the high monthly expense is not worth it for a small businesses or someone with a personal blog, or anyone who has to be tight with their money. (Let's be honest who isn't tight with money in this economy?) Is there a good solution for people who don't have money for an expensive website monitoring service? Yes, the answer is Uptime Robot!
Uptime Robot is a completely free website monitoring and free ping service that was started in January of 2010. If this sounds too good to be true or you think being “free” comes with a catch… it doesn't. Uptime Robot allows you to monitor up to 50 websites and checks them every 5 minutes to make sure they are up. If your website is experiencing downtime you can choose to get alerts via a text message, email, Twitter, RSS (Really Simple Syndication), or push notifications for the iPad or iPhone. Uptime Robot also has a keyword monitoring tool and has networking monitoring features as well.
A lot of people are probably familiar with what is known as the Freemium model. A Freemium business is when a company or person offers a service for free, but premium services you have to pay for. The majority of supposedly “free website monitoring” services usually work from a Freemium model. You can monitor one website for free but anything else you will have to pay for. Typically the other free services check your site at intervals that are 30 minutes apart, which is not often enough in my opinion.
Not only is Uptime Robot completely free (just had to mention that again) it is easy to use and setup the monitors. The dashboard user interface is friendly for even non-tech inclined people. It only took me 10 minutes to setup website monitors for all of my sites with Uptime Robot. As well to make sure the IP addresses and domain for the Uptime Robot servers were not being included in my Google Analytics stats. (It is important to exclude the IP addresses for any analytics applications if you are using website monitoring services or it could affect your visitors stats to make it seem like you are getting a lot more visitors than you actually are.)
A few weeks ago I got an email and text alert that my auto repair blog was down. I went to check and sure enough I was getting an error when trying to visit my site. I tried a few different browsers on my computer and then checked my smartphone to see if I could access my auto blog. Nope, it was down and was not working! I went to Isup.me to see if it was maybe something wrong with my internet connection or that Uptime Robot was sending a false positive. Nope, my blog was definitely down. Luckily before I had the chance to contact Site5 support about the downtime it was already fixed. The downtime was only for about 25 minutes or so and I got an email from Uptime Roobt when the server for my sites was back up and running.
It was extremely useful for me to know about the downtime I am confident that even though Uptime Robot is completely free, it is a reliable service. At least that is what I have experienced.
A friend of mine said that Uptime Robot sent him a couple of false positives for his sites, saying they were down when they were not. I have never had an issue using the service though. If you have had an issue with Uptime Robot leave a comment below or if you have great experience leave a comment too. I mean, you get what you pay for! 🙂
I am not sure how Uptime Robot stays completely free but I LOVE that for now it is. I mean 50 monitors per account and the fact it checks your site every 5 minutes is amazing. The two designers and developers that are behind Uptime Robot, Umut Muhaddisoglu and Daniel Rimille, are pretty awesome guys to offer this.
Currently Umut and Daniel are not accepting donations to keep Uptime Robot operational but I think they should. Personally I would be willing to chip-in a few bucks to keep Uptime Robot going since I think it is such a great service. I know that it takes time, hardwork, and dedication to keep a service like this up and running. I just hope they are not spending too much time or their own resources to keep Uptime Robot up.
Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!