Free Web Server Monitoring Tools: Guide To Best Online Services
Monitoring automatically your web server allows you to be alerted anytime the server "goes down" or when there are some serious performance issues with it. This is crucial especially when you run a commercial business online and your business depends on the ability of your web visitors to access your content without hindrance. In this guide I have reviewed and compared the best free web server monitoring services available online.
Photo credit: Alexander Sabilin
By utilizing a web server monitoring service you can see at anytime the health status of your server, its ability to serve rapidly your content and the impact that the traffic is having on it. Plus, when there are serious issues, or your web server "crashes" for one reason or another, you can be immediately alerted in one or multiple ways (RSS, e-mail, SMS, IM, etc.).
In general, an automatic web server monitoring service works by running periodical tests (every 1, 5, 30 or 60 minutes depending on the service being used) by collecting specific data that is organized into reports, and by launching alerts and notifications when specific parameters or values are not met.
More specifically, web server monitoring tools send so called "pings" to the designated server(s) to make sure that data is received correctly and to measure its specific response time. If the ping is not successful, or if the conditions you have set are not fully met, the monitoring service sends you a notification via e-mail, SMS, RSS or via telephone, depending on your selected tool and preference.
Key traits that make for a good automated web server monitoring service are:
- Multiple testing sources: The service tests your servers from multiple worldwide monitoring stations for better accuracy of the results.
- Thorough reporting: You get detailed and persistent reports on the status of your web server. This might be useful to foresee potential issues.
- Multiple tests: The monitoring service allows you to monitor not only your web server but also mail servers, FTP and authentication processes to have complete control over all the activities of your site.
- Access from multiple platforms and mobiles: Keep track of your web server from anywhere, even via a mobile phone.
If you are ready to take these free web server monitoring tools for a spin, here are also the additional criteria I have used to compile this mini guide reviews and comparison table:
- Notification channels: Server alerts distributions via SMS, e-mail, RSS or other.
- Multiple servers monitoring: Number of web servers you can monitor at the same time.
- Monitoring Intervals: Time interval at which web server tests are run.
- Registration-free: Service can be used without registering.
- Pro features: Advanced features available with premium paid accounts.
Free Web Server Monitoring Tools Comparative Table
Free Web Server Monitoring Tools
HostTracker is a free web server monitoring tool. You can check up to two web servers every 30 minutes. HEAD / POST / GET HTTP-methods are all supported as well as operations on CGI scripts. Your servers are checked from multiple locations across a global network of 71 nodes and 48 hosting partners. Registration is compulsory to utilize the service. No notification channels are available at a free level. With $4.99/month, you can upgrade to a starting premium plan and have up to five servers monitored every 10 minutes, receive 10 alerts via SMS if your web server goes down and also obtain detailed reports about the status of your web servers. HostTracker homepage also allows you to check whether a website is up or down by sending a ping request to a specific URL.
Mon.itor.us is a free monitoring tool that lets you monitor one web server in real-time. You can either check HTTP / HTTPS / FTP web sites, TCP ports, Pings as well as DNS, UDP, POP3 and IMAP mail servers. If your web server goes down, you get immediate notifications via e-mail, IM, RSS or through a widget installed on your Mac or PC. With mon.itor.us, you can also track your visitors in real-time from multiple locations using the same dashboard that monitors your web server performances. The service provides a free API that allows developers to build useful add-ons or extend Mon.itor.us current features. Registration is mandatory. No premium plans available.
Pingdom offers free accounts to utilize its web server monitoring tool. Available check types are: HTTP / HTTPS / TCP port / Ping / DNS / UDP / SMTP / POP3 and IMAP. You can track the performance of one server with time intervals spanning from one to 60 minutes. You also get free email notifications and 20 SMS alerts to be warned if your web server goes down. Web servers are persistently monitored from multiple locations. Registration is necessary to use Pingdom monitoring tool. With a premium account priced at $9.95, you can check up to five web servers with 1-minute monitoring intervals. Additional features inside premium account include the ability to purchase more SMS alerts and get detailed reports about the status of your web server.
Montastic is a free monitoring tool to check up to 100 web servers at the same time. You can either check HTTP / HTTPS web sites and port numbers. The service tracks the status of your web server from six to 20 times per day. Servers are monitored from two different locations for better accuracy of results. Any downtime is reported through alerts via e-mail, RSS or a widget you install on your Mac or PC. Montastic requires a registration process to be used. Premium accounts are not available.
- Free Network Monitor
Free Network Monitor from Paessler is a Windows software that lets you check your web server in real-time. Free Network Monitor utilizes 10 sensors to monitor the health of your web server, including PING / HTTP / SMTP / POP3 and FTP. You can extend the range of monitoring sensors from 10 to 20 by placing a link back to Paessler on your web site. The service also allows you to receive alerts on the status of your web server via e-mail, SMS and pager. No registration is required. First level of premium account unlocks up to 100 monitoring sensors, detailed reports and advanced features to control web server uptime and downtime for $195.
BasicState is a free monitoring tool to check an unlimited number of web servers at the same time. Only HTTP and HTTPS web servers are supported. Each web server is checked every 15 minutes. In case of a downtime, you get an immediate alert via e-mail and SMS. Public interest e-commerce sites are checked every 5 minutes. BasicState also provides you with a detailed report of your web server conditions. Registration is required to utilize the service and no premium accounts are available.
Site24x7 is a monitoring tool that allows you to check the status of one web server free of charge. Each server is checked from a single location every 60 minutes. If the web server goes down, you get a quick alert via e-mail, SMS and RSS. Site24x7 also lets you check your web page content. Registering to the service is mandatory. Premium accounts starts from $1/month per URL and allow you to monitor not only your web servers, but also web apps, mail servers and DNS servers. With a premium account you reduce the monitoring time from to 1 to 60 minutes as well as having your web servers checked from multiple locations. Additional SMS alerts are available upon request.
FreeSiteStatus allows you to check the status of your web server from 13 worldwide monitoring stations. Free of charge, the health of your web server is tested every 60 seconds. If a downtime occurs, you receive an e-mail to take immediate action. FreeSiteStatus runs only on Ping and HTTP (limited to port 80) web servers. Registration is compulsory. Upgrading to the Professional Account ($2/month) allows you to decrease the monitoring time of your web server to one minute. You also get advanced monitoring tests and unlimited e-mail contacts. Additional SMS alerts are priced at $0.25 each.
- Are My Sites Up?
Are My Sites Up? is a free, ad-supported web server monitoring tool. You can monitor up to five different HTTP web servers. No other web server types are supported at a free level. Your web servers are tested in time intervals of 60 minutes each. If your server experiences a downtime, you are immediately alerted via e-mail or SMS. Registration is needed to utilize the service. If you need further options regarding your notifications, you must purchase a premium plan. Starting from $35/year, the first level of premium plans offers you up to 25 web servers monitored every 30 minutes, RSS and Twitter notifications and an iPhone app with push notifications. Premium plans also support HTTPS web servers and are ads-free.
- Monpage ***DEAD
Monpage is a free web server monitoring tool that checks the status of your servers and the responsiveness of your web pages. The service checks up to 3 different web servers every five minutes, but it is not clearly specified which kind of web servers you can test (HTTP / HTTPS / FTP / etc.). Monpage website interface is optimized for mobile phones and you can access detailed reports on uptime / downtime of your web servers. Registration is mandatory. No alerts nor premium accounts are available.
- PA Server Monitor
Server Monitor by Power Admin is a free software for Windows that checks the integrity of your web server. You can run your tests at custom time intervals. In case your server goes down, you are immediately alerted through e-mail. Registration is needed to utilize the service. PA Server Monitor checks include HTTP / HTTPS, Ping and mail servers. To access advanced monitoring tools, receive notifications via SMS or pager and also get detailed server activity reports, you need to purchase a premium license starting from $49.
Observu from Moving Labs is a free monitoring tool for web servers. You can keep track of an unlimited number of servers in real time. If one of your servers goes down, you are promptly alerted with an e-mail. You need to register to utilize Observu and premium plans are not available. It is not specified which type of web servers you are allowed to monitor.
Livewatch.de is a free monitoring tool that you can use to check the status of your web server. After registering, you select one server to have it tested every 5-10 minutes. No details are give on the type of web server you are able to monitor. If your server experiences a downtime, you can choose to receive alerts either via e-mail / SMS / Twitter or IM. Please note that with a free account you have only 10 SMS available and that you can use just 1 SMS per month. If you need to monitor more than one server or have reduced monitoring time intervals, you can upgrade to one of the premium plans that start from around $4/month. With a premium plan you also have up to 8 SMS alerts per month and 3 phone calls notifications. Registration is needed to use Livewatch.de.
- Service Uptime
Service Uptime is a free web server monitoring tool that allows you to test and receive alerts if your server is not responding. The service checks your web servers every 30 minutes and alerts you via e-mail and SMS in case your server is down. You can test HTTP / HTTPS / FTP / Ping servers, POP3 /IMAP mail servers and much more. Registration is needed to utilize Service Uptime. By purchasing a premium plan (starting from $4.95/month), you get multiple alerts, a facility to perform schedule maintenance on your server and you can also set custom monitoring time intervals.
Robin Good -
Originally prepared by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on September 7th, 2009 as "Free Web Server Monitoring Tools: Guide To Best Online Services".
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