Are you sure you website is available all of the time?
What about when you are not looking?
The only way to be sure is to have automated monitoring in place, and luckily there are a number of paid and free services that will monitor your website and let you know if there is a problem.
This article is part of a series on regular website maintenance that you can do yourself.
Why should I monitor my website ?
It is much better for you to be the first one to know about a problem with your website instead of a visitor reporting it to you (or worse not reporting it and never coming back). There are many services that offer monitoring. Two great monitoring services that will regularly try to connect to your website and send you an email of text if they find a problem are:
- SiteUpTime – Free and Paid for plans (30 – 5 min checking interval) and statistics on downtime for past performance.
- Montastic – Free and Paid for plans (30 – 5 min checking intervals). No statistics, but the free version of this service allows you to monitor 3 sites and seems to email a little sooner if there is a problem.
Which page should I monitor on my website?
With both of these services you have to nominate the page that will be checked. This is an important choice. If you have a completely static website (ie no database or coding to make it dynamic) then you can choose a static page.
The complexity with dynamic websites is that they use a database and coding. So if you only monitor a static page then it may say your site is OK when in fact it is not working due to another problem. I have written a plugin for WordPress that solves this problem and will not interfere with your visitor statistics if you use Google Analytics plugins. You can download PG Monitor from the WordPress repository. Alternatively you can pick any page on your site that will ‘test’ your database and code and then filter this regular test from your Google Analytics results.
Now make sure you check your website availability (or uptime) statistics on a regular basis, I do this as one of the steps in my monthly maintenance check list. If you are using SiteUptime above then there is a simple link provided when you create your account that will give you this summary. You can use it to make sure you are getting the value and reliability from your web host that you expect.
Check my website maintenance summary page for other articles and ideas on keeping your website running smoothly.