Downtime
Downtime Downtime is when your site does not work. It's really bad.

Downtime is when your site does not work. If the site does not work - you'll not get any benefits from its existence. Downtime is opposite to uptime. There could be various reasons why a site does not work. Most usual cases: problems with server, server overload, application error, network problems and so on. The first step of fixing en error is detecting. There are special instruments, called website monitoring services, which may check sites for errors over the time. Such tools help you to detect error and provide primary analysis of its reasons. Also, usually some information could be found in server logs. If you have access to them, you should review. If not - ask your hosting company to provide them. Detecting of errors may help you to evaluate the reliability of your site and hosting.

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Very useful for my company's website verification whether it's up or down and be notified immediately about it, even if using a free account!

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- T.
snapshot - instrument for site supervision

How does the site look like when I’m not looking at it? What if it looks bad or does not work at all? HostTracker offers an instrument for site supervision - snapshot feature. Let’s take a look at its practical application.

How does the site look like when I’m not looking at it? What if it looks bad or does not work at all? HostTracker offers an instrument for site supervision - snapshot feature. Let’s take a look at its practical application.

What’s going on with my site?

Now it’s usual to use different services and applications for site maintenance and support, and sometimes they do report some problems. Often we feel the lack of information - Google Analytics or a similar service reports the downtime and renewal, but likely we will never know what exactly has happened. To investigate the issue, it is necessary to review the logs, write to hosting support and perform many others exhausting actions, frequently - with no result. There are also more interesting cases - when a site is not available from a certain country or is not downloaded completely. Such problems could long for months, or even years, till they are accidentally detected. One more important issue - content check. It will automatically review the content of the site and informed the responsible staff in case it has disappeared - for example, something has not been able to be downloaded from the database. But it’s hard to find the cause if the issue is short-term, because people usually do not sit in front of a laptop refreshing the page every minute. To resolve the problem, HostTracker offers a new feature - snapshot. It is very simple in use and does not require any additional adjustments. The service simply makes a snapshot of the checked page every time and saves it for review in two ways: page source code and html-view. This let you easily see how the page looks at the moment of failure, understand what’s wrong and fix the problem quickly without spending time for diagnostics. It saves lots of time for server administrator, developers and other concerned people.

How does it work

Doing the regular checks, our servers with predefined interval try to download the checked page. Additional algorithms could be used at the moment - the page could be parsed for keywords to make sure that this is the one we are looking for (there are cases when an error page returns 200, Ok, http code, or when redirection is activated in case of error). If there is no error - fine. But if there is, it will be written down into the HostTracker log, which is easily available from the web. Then, notification are sent and a snapshot is made.

 

The snapshots could also be found in the log - if several errors were detected, a different snapshot will be available from each one.


Though there are some remarks. First, we do not run javascript while making snapshot - same thing for regular check. Second, the error must be detectable. I mean, the server must return something. In case of timeout or connection error - snapshot will not help, and only a corresponding record will remain in the log.

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Home > Blog > Escalatios

As many people know, HostTracker is a sites efficiency monitoring system. One of its main functions is to notify the user of any problems promptly. The efficiency of the notifications and the acceptable level of “detalization” are important. If you send alerts at each “sneeze”, the person will not find the important information in this flow...

I was woken up by an SMS at three a.m.
My site dropped for three minutes, and it raised back itself.
But I could not go back to sleep.
True-life story

As many people know, HostTracker is a sites efficiency monitoring system. One of its main functions is to notify the user of any problems promptly. The efficiency of the notifications and the acceptable level of “detalization” are important. If you send alerts at each “sneeze”, the person will not find the important information in this flow.

We have provided several mechanisms that will help the right people to get the necessary notifications:

  • Separation of the notifications into several groups according to their criticality;
  • No notifications at short-term failures;
  • Report the problem to the manager promptly;
  • Report a prolonged failure to the administration;
  • Use the free alerts first – email, gtalk, and then the paid ones – SMS or phone call;
  • At the contact level – set the working time when this contact should receive the alerts.

 

There are three types of notifications:

 

  • The website has “dropped”;
  • The website is still “down”;
  • The website “rose

 

The “dropped” and “rose” are clear. The notifications “site is still down” are sent at each test fail, but only at the confirmed drops. The fails confirmation algorithm was described in the article “False alerts exclusion”

 

For each site-contact pair you may enable or disable the appropriate notification type. The setting can be located in the contact properties as well as in the general “matrix” at the “Notifications subscribtion” page.

Escalation and the notifications detalization level.

Suppose, two people are responsible for the site:

  • Administrator
  • Manager

 

Let's try to implement the following scenario:

 

  • In the event of a “drop” we want to send an email message to the administrator immediately;
  • If the site does not rise within 15 minutes, we send an SMS to the administrator;
  • If the site is “down” for more than an hour, then we send an SMS to the manager.

 

Adding the contacts for the users. While adding, draw attention to the “Notification Delay” window.

 

We appear to have three contacts with the following delays:

  • Administrator (email) – no delay;
  • Administrator (SMS) – 15 minutes delay;
  • Manager (SMS) – 1 hour delay.

 

According to this configuration the administrator will get all the failures notifications to the email, but SMS notifications will be sent only if the site is “down” for more then 15 minutes. The manager will receive only SMS about major failures lasting more than an hour. Setting up the contact working schedule

 

Suppose that one administrator can not cope, and we hired one more administrator. The first one works during the first half of the week, the second one works during the second half. Accordingly the notifications should be sent to the administrator “on duty” To set this scenario the window “Set the contact working hours” is used in the contact settings.

In this case the first administrator will receive the SMS notifications from Monday to Thursday inclusive. Additionally, you may divide the notification for different employees according to the time of day, for example appointing day and night administrators.

Conclusions: with the help of relatively simple mechanisms we may cover most notifications fine-tune user scenarios.

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