Is your website or blog working? When did you last check? When your site is down your traffic and income is zero, which is a disaster. UptimeRobot is a website monitor that alerts you to problems the minute they occur.
Websites are actually very reliable and there are rarely any problems. This lulls us into a false sense of security and we assume that because it has been running fine for the last 30, 50 or even 100 days, it will continue that way. It may not!
Server problems are often beyond your control and just happen. I don’t know why, but for some strange reason the server can crash and your blog or business site goes down. A browser just shows an obscure error message.
Solve web server problems
When your site has a problem, the solution is often to get onto your web hosting company’s technical support and usually they can resolve the problem quite quickly. Most of my problems have been resolved within 10 minutes of getting through to support.
Although most problems are easily sorted, you have to know that there is a problem in the first place. If you don’t know your site is down, it will stay that way until you try to access it, which may be later today or even tomorrow.
What could be just a few minutes offline may be several hours if you do not act quickly. That can be a disaster because visitors are turned away, no sales are made, no adverts displayed and so on.
Web server downtime may be an inconvenience if your blog is a hobby, but it is very frustrating and damaging when it is a business.
Monitor your website
In order to set about fixing a site problem or getting someone else to fix it, you first need to know that there is a problem. There are web services that will monitor your site and check that it is working. If it is not, they will alert you via email or text message to your phone.
They can check anywhere from every few seconds to several hours. No doubt Amazon gets alerted the second there is a problem, but for most people checking the site every 5 or 10 minutes is sufficient.
There are many paid website monitoring services to choose from, plus a small number of free ones. The range of features available with free services is not as extensive or as detailed as with subscription services, but they are good enough for many bloggers and small business websites.
Pingdom Free Website Monitor, Site24x7 (get a free trial, don’t pay, and it downgrades to a free account when it expires), and UptimeRobot are three great services. They check your site every few minutes and email you if the site goes down.
1 Get an UptimeRobot account
Go to uptimerobot.com and if you do not already have an account, click the Sign-up link in the top right corner. Fill in the form, confirm your email and you are good to go. Sign in with your username and password.
2 Add contacts to UptimeRobot
When a problem with your site is detected, UptimeRobot immediately contacts you. Click My Settings at the top of the page, scroll down to the Alert Contacts section and add your email address if no contact exists. It should use your sign-up email by default, but here you could add a different address or second person.
3 View the UptimeRobot dashboard
Go to the Dashboard by clicking the link at the top. It is the first page displayed after logging in. If this is your first time, there will be nothing to see. I already have one website monitor running, but will add a second site – up to 50 can be added for free. Click the green +Monitor button.
4 Select an UptimeRobot monitor type
There are several different types of website monitor and the simplest one and the one that works best for most people is HTTP(s). Select it in the menu.
5 Configure the UptimeRobot monitor
After selecting HTTP(s) you are prompted to enter the friendly name of your site (the site name), and the URL. Set the monitoring interval with the slider. This is the number of minutes between checks of your website. Five minutes is the minimum with a free account and is fine.
6 Choose who UptimeRobot notifies
In settings you added one or more contacts and when creating a website monitor you can choose who to contact. Usually this is you at your email address. Click Create Monitor when finished.
7 Leave UptimeRobot to check your site
Checks are every five minutes, or whatever interval you set, and at first there is nothing to see. It is working, but you need to give it a few hours to collect data before anything is visible in the dashboard.
8 View website events with UptimeRobot
I now have two monitors. RAW Guides has only just been set up, but RAWinfopages has been running for a couple of years. Select your site on the left in the dashboard and down at the bottom on the right is this text display of your site’s uptime and downtime. Here you can see that the site has been down a couple of times, but is generally up for 1,000 to 3,000+ hours.
9 View website response times with UptimeRobot
The time taken for your site to respond is one measure of its speed. It isn’t the only performance measurement, but it is an important one. select a site on the left and the chart on the right shows the response time for the last 24 hours. The lower the number, the better it is.
UptimeRobot is an excellent free service for keeping an eye out for website problems. It is something you can set and forget. It may be several months before you hear from it, but you site could go down tomorrow.
Sometimes sites go offline and then come back online all by themselves. An email is sent when your site starts working again and your site may be up and running before you discover the problem. It could be your web host performing maintenance in the middle of the night for example, and nothing to worry about.