Website Monitoring 5: Alerts & Providers
Depending on the monitoring service and plan you select you will have varying options. The most sophisticated will let you choose who (and how) gets notified when there are status changes with each of your checks.
Email and/or SMS text message are standard. For some people texts are more immediate, but email is more permanent and keep all your email alerts in a special folder can help you get a sense of things without even having to generate monitoring reports.
Some services also provide an app. Pingdom for instance includes a very well designed mobile app that shows you the status of all your checks. It is great for taking a quick look and making sure everything is ok, checking response times, etc. but email and text messages are better at alerting you to a problem.
There are many different service providers but my current favorite is Pingdom. It offers good value, great reporting, and a variety/frequency of powerful checks and alert options. Several other options are listed below.
Like Pingdom most of these services offer a free option with a limited number of checks. Switching to a paid account generally gets you more checks more often.
The number of checks is very important because you need to be checking for a few different things – things like the availability and speed of several pages that are essential to a good customer experience, products, links, etc. The frequency of the checks is important because infrequent checks will almost always miss the brief outages/timeouts that are so frustrating to your online visitors.
A package that provides ten different checks running every minute is probably adequate for most flower shops. With Pingdom this would cost about $10 a month. It’s not an insignificant amount of mont but, in return, you get detailed minute-by-minute reports on a vital aspect of your business.
One approach is to try the free options from a couple of different services. This lets you evaluate all aspects of the service (variety of checks, alert options, ease of use, etc.) before committing to the one that provides the best fit for you.