Availability
Availability Availability of a site shows if a site is accessible from the Internet.

Availability of a site shows if a site is accessible from the Internet. This term is also about access to a server, database or another entity. As all objects in the Internet are based on comlicated infrastructure, nothing can be available always. The question is how to measure it, what is normal and if we may affect it anyway. The measurement of availability is connected to terms Uptime and Downtime, which show for how long a site is unavailable. However, these values can not create the full view of the situation. There could be many reasons of unavailability - server or connection problems, application error, overload of the site and so on. To avoid or shorter the failures, it is needed to supervise the site and analyze the errors, if they happen. For these purposes there are special monitoring tools, which help to increase to availability of the site, collect statistics and provide necessary information about the errors for fast repair. These tools are called Website Monitoring services.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
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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!

"
- T.
Domains: do they have afterlife?

Every year, millions of domain names are lost. What happens after domain expires? How long will your domain wait for you before someone grabs it? And how to omit this?  

Domains: do they have afterlife?

Everyone may face the problem of losing the domain name. Every year, millions of domain names are lost. Mostly, it happens unintentionally, the owners miss the renewal notices for various reasons and they do not figure out that they are in the process of losing their prized domain until it is too late! In this article you will get to know about the most known examples of domain expirations. Moreover, we will see that big companies, such as Microsoft, Foursquare, Yatra, are also insecure to "the drop game". Additionally, you will find out how to keep the domain name if you forget to pay for domain renewal. How long will your domain wait for you before someone grabs it? And how to omit this?  

How Microsoft lost hotmail.co.uk

One of the most striking examples of dropping the domain name ocured in 2003 due to what is called the collective negligence. In spite of the fact, that people were trying to check up on what was happening and somehow to deal with the problem, Microsoft behaved as a typical bureaucratic organization.  It turned a blind eye to people inquiries. Despite being warned that it’s time for the domain renewal, Microsoft overlooked these notifications. Therefore, the domain was returned to the pool of available domains. Moreover, its mail service wasn’t accessible in England.

Luckily, the domain was grabbed at once. The new owner was so kind that tried to inform Microsoft immediately that they needed to re-register the domain and restore the service. Nevertheless, Microsoft didn’t seem eager to get their site back and ignored these messages. Microsoft realized the issue just when journalists contacted it.  Only then, the software giant reached a new owner of their domain. What is more, even after that, during a long period of time Microsoft had been stalling for time before the problem was sorted out. It seems that no one in the UK could deal with the problem, because only the central office was responsible for domain registrations.

Fortunately, hotmail.co.uk was regained. But still, Microsoft didn’t officially confirm that hotmail.co.uk had been dropped.

Only a registrar for all .uk domains shed light on this situation and born out that hotmail.co.uk had failed to be renewed despite being warned about the importance of the renewal procedure. Moreover, the registrar confirmed that the domain was snatched up by a private person. Apparently, all notifications via mail were ignored by the giant. It’s interesting that it wasn’t the very first time when something like that has happened with this company. In 1999, Microsoft had similar bad experience.

What happens after domain expires?

The procedure depends on registrar of the domain names. In addition, this procedure has changed many times over history. In this article we will be concerned with the most typical up-to-date procedure.

The first stage - the registrar shows loyalty to the client and gives extra time for domain renewal (grace period). Your grace period may take about from one to 2-3 weeks. This window can have a few deadlines - for example, a free update period, an additional fee etc.  When the domain is in a grace period where all services are shut off, it isn’t available for registration by anybody else.

The second stage - the auction. After the registrar is sure that the domain renewal hasn’t been done, he puts it up for auction. It's a registrar’s chance to bring in extra income- the domain can be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  Let’s be frank, it works- many domains are snapped up at auction. Let’s look at some of the most popular auctions:

  •  Go Daddy Auctions
  •  NameJet
  •  SnapNames.com

Each registrar cooperates with only one of these auction services. Domain names are exclusive to one auction, as the sell-off can’t take place at two locations. How does the auction work?

To begin with, there is often the opportunity to place a backorder. For example, if someone is very interested in scoring your domain name. In this case, the buyer will get the notification about the expiration status of the target domain and, definitely, leverage this opportunity. It’s worth noting that during this period, domains can be included in backorder auctions, where another participant can bid on your domain name. Generally, an auction can consist of several stages, as well as, after the main auction can follow the closeout of least desired domain names.

In addition to this, there are such sites that collect information and provide it in a more convenient way. For instance, these sites will help you to discover that more than 3 million domains have expired for the last 10 days. Furthermore, you will realize that even expensive (costing up to $ 500K) domains can be dropped after a while.

The third stage - domain "death". The domain disappears, and it can be retrieved on a common basis. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely if a domain name has any marginal value, as well as, consists of unambiguous words and is well-promoted. If so, the domain will probably get purchased, as nowadays it is also kind of business.

Some extra good examples

In 2010, a well-known website Foursquare forgot to renew their domain name. Luckily, they noticed this in time and quickly sorted out the problem. Nevertheless, customers couldn’t reach the site during this period of time. At that time the internet was bombarded with these news, yet the company has taken the advantage from this situation.

However, sad examples do exist too. In 2012, a popular Indian travel site Yatra.com, with millions of visitors and huge income, dropped their domain. Therefore they lost not only money, but also their reputation, clients and the trust of their partners. Eventually, the domain has been restored. The company hasn’t been as successful since.
Such common experience has held almost everyone once in a while in their history, from banks to giant companies.  Actually, HostTracker had such experience too and it was the reason why we decided to write this article.

Web site monitoring service almost lost its domain

The truth is that host-tracker.com was almost lost despite having an instrument for keeping an eye for an expiration date and sending renewal alerts. Actually, this feature became HostTracker’s last resort, as all domains and sites are being monitored by HostTracker’s own monitoring system. In a manner of speaking, even though at that time the HostTracker company got the renewal alerts, everything seemed to be fine, as the auto-renewal was on. However, for some reason, the automatic payments didn’t pass through and the domain wasn’t renewed. To be honest, we are still not sure why did that happen, as their support could not explain the issue clearly. Luckily, we noticed the problem in time and solved it quickly.

To sum up:

  • Renew your domain in advance. In this case you might want to ask your registrar to set up your domain to auto-renewal in advance with your approval beforehand. Moreover, you will be notified in case of any problems. It is strange, that GoDaddy hasn’t done such thing by now.
  • Backorder does work. Just before HostTracker entered their grace period, someone had tried to contact HostTracker by mail to acquire the domain name. So pay attention to such things!
  • You would better not enter the grace period. Once the domain expires, it can be easily renewed at the regular price within a few days and HostTracker showed this. The disadvantage is that all customers will be greeted with the message that domain page isn’t available. You should never allow a domain to expire because working on recovering it can take a vast amount of time.
  • Monitor your domains for any changes. You can keep an eye on the state of available domains which you like, but don’t forget your own ones too. There is a wide variety of services, like HostTracker, which provide an easy, efficient way to track any changes of domain’s state. Check out the description of such HostTracker’s tools here.
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Home > Glossary
Active Monitoring
Active Monitoring Active Monitoring is the way to check the site performance by simulation of visiting by real users.

Active Monitoring is the way to check the site performance by simulation of visiting by real users. It is done by external service, usually with distribyted networks. The checking servers create the requests like the real clients, who are trying to download a web page. Doing it on regular schedule, allows to check if the page is available from the web. If not - there is a possibility to catch and report the error. The difference between the bot and a real person is visible only for bulky pages with lots of content - in order to save the traffic, monitoring systems usually download only a part of such pages, which is enough to make sure the site is Ok.

Active monitoring is an independent eye on your site. The checking is not connected to your company and web hosting, and so provides the clear third-party view of the situation. HostTracker service uses active monitoring to supervise web sites.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
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Availability
Availability Availability of a site shows if a site is accessible from the Internet.

Availability of a site shows if a site is accessible from the Internet. This term is also about access to a server, database or another entity. As all objects in the Internet are based on comlicated infrastructure, nothing can be available always. The question is how to measure it, what is normal and if we may affect it anyway. The measurement of availability is connected to terms Uptime and Downtime, which show for how long a site is unavailable. However, these values can not create the full view of the situation. There could be many reasons of unavailability - server or connection problems, application error, overload of the site and so on. To avoid or shorter the failures, it is needed to supervise the site and analyze the errors, if they happen. For these purposes there are special monitoring tools, which help to increase to availability of the site, collect statistics and provide necessary information about the errors for fast repair. These tools are called Website Monitoring services.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
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Content Check
Content CheckContent check is a way to check the presence of specific info on the page.
Content Check Content check is a way to check the presence of specific info on the page.

Content check is a way to check the presence/absence of specific info on the page. It helps to check not just the page itself for accessibility, but the performance of the site too. It is useful for sites with complicated structure - which contain many scripts and data that is stored in database or other off-site storages. In this case, there is possible cases when the page itself is working fine while some of the linked resources are not available - thus, some info on the page is missed.

HostTracker provides tools to solve this problem. You may create ContentCheck task and provide specific keywords for monitoring:

There are several important things on that screen:

Content Check - set of comma-separated keywords to look for.
Advanced Content Check option - useful for immediate detection of the reasons of a problem. In case of appearance of the keyword, the phrase, previous to the keyword, is sent you as the result of the check. For example, you enter keyword exception and select this option. Somehow, on the page appears the statement: Wrong SQL statement on the line 123 exception. In this case, you get an alert saying Wrong SQL statement on the line 123.
Conditions Field - allows to specify conditions for set of keywords. You may set to detect an error in case of presence/absence of all entered keywords, or just any of them.

For monitoring the presence of images, videos, execution scripts - you may choose a keyword from their description, or add a special short script which will return Error or other keyword if something is missed.

Restrictions:
Only first 10 Kb of page are analysed
Only first 120 characters of each line are analysed

  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
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Database Monitoring
Database monitoring Database monitoring - DB check for access and regular execution of the specified query.

Database monitoring feature allows to run a query during every check and react in the appropriate way on the result. Also, it is possible to check just possibility to connect to DB - by ignoring the query field. To set the monitoring, fill the connection data: DB server address, port, database name, login and password of a user for connection. We strongly recommend to create the new user with limited rights. However, do not forget to provide him enough rights for performing the supposed actions. Also, it is necessary to add HostTracker servers addresses, to the whitelists on firewall or other blocking software, to allow the access. The addresses are permanent, and are listed on the same form.

Create ContentCheck Task

There could be arbitrary query - SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE, INSERT, execution of stored procedures (like scheduler), results comparison, logical operations. The only restriction is execution time - it should not take longer than 30 seconds. Otherwise, the timeout error will be reported.

It is recommended to create the queries which display the necessary value in the first row of the first column. This result can be analysed. For UPDATE, INSERT, DELETE queries the number of affected rows is analysed. There are different ways to analyse the resulted value by comparison with specific preset - equal/not equal/higher/lower/in range. In case the condition is not satisfied, no connection to DB, query timeout - the error is reported.

Create ContentCheck Task
  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.ContentCheck
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Distributed Monitoring
Distributed Monitoring Distributed monitoring is a method of website monitoring when the checking is performed from several locations.

Distributed monitoring is a method of website monitoring when the checking is performed from several locations. The main purpose for this is to exclude errors of checking server (which is always possible) from the site statistic and provide more precise result. Usually it is realized through the network of independent servers which check the sites one-by-one or simultaneously. The advangtages of such checks are listed below:

Checks are happening from different locations, just like the real users do.

If a single check fails - others may prove or decline the failure. So, probability of false downtimes is really low.

It is possible to overview the access and download speed from different countries and cities.

Possibility to catch network-related or DNS problems: site might be visible from your computer, but are you sure it works for everyone?

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Availability
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DNS
DNS DNS - domain name system, a system for locating a web site.

DNS - domain name system. This system helps to find a real server by virtual site name. The system is realized by the hierarchy of DNS servers, each of them holds information about specific domains and may delegate such role to lower stage servers. Let's take, for example, site www.host-tracker.com. The upper domain is .com, so the request is made to the server, which is responsible for all .com sites. It knows where each site is located, or at least, where is another server, which knows for sure. If you get "Server not found" message, that means no record exists on the DNS server for the site name you've requested.

Each time you enter an address into the browser - a DNS request is made, in order to find where the site is located. To make this process faster, DNS data can be saved into a cache. If you own a site and decide to change its name for some reason, or if you have just created the new one - you should keep in mind that DNS cache needs some time to be updated globally. Usually, it happens within couple of hours, but it can take up to 48 hours. That's why sometimes a newly-hosted site can not be visible for some time.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.WebHosting
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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.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.WebHosting
  • CM.Glossary.Availability
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HTTP
HTTP HTTP - hyper text transfer protocol, a way to transfer website data via Internet.

HTTP - hyper text transfer protocol, a way to transfer website data via Internet. At first, was created for transfer of HTML documents, now most of website data (audio, video, images etc.) is downloaded through this protocol. HTTP has several methods - to check a website, to get the data from the server, and to upload some information from client to the site. More about them you may find in this article. HTTP has its secure version - HTTPS

This protocol is used by clients to review web pages. Thus, to check a website, we should use it too. Website monitoring services, like HostTracker, perform HTTP checks to make sure that the site is operating well.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
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HTTP methods
HTTP methods HTTP methods define actions, wished to perform to a specific site.

GET method is used when the page is loaded from server to your browser. If it works, your web page is available to load. It is the most common method among all, when you type a site address in your broswer - this method is used to show you the site content.

HEAD method is similar with GET, but it load from server only headers of your page. It is useful if You want to test just accessibility of a web page or review its headers.

POST method is used to send information from you to server. If a page includes text field(s) for filling, POST method is used when you click button "submit" (or whatever is name of that button). It brings information you have typed into those fields to server. So, if there are some text fields on your page, you can use this method. If it works, your web page is available to use, and text, typed into fields on your page, is able to be transferred to the server. An example of using POST method for Website Monitoring is provided in this article (You provide specific keywords, which are inserted into text fields).

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.HTTP
  • CM.Glossary.POSTMethodExample
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Passive Monitoring
Passive Monitoring Passive Monitoring is the way to check the site performance by server-side software.

Passive Monitoring is the way to check the site performance by server-side software. It can create the exact copy of incoming traffic for analysis, or it can operate on real traffic. Passive monitoring may collect statistics and watch over some important values, like traffic consumption, number of visitors etc. Also it is handy to analyze the real workflow on your site. However, only server-side errors could be caught. If case of broken Іnternet connection or other Internet-related errors, passive monitoring fails - as it shows only the server performance which is Ok. You'll notice the the lack of visitors, but this fact does not appear immediately. And this is the main difference between the Passive Monitoring (server-side) and Active Monitoring (third-party).

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.DistributedMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.ActiveMonitoring
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Ping (ICMP)
Ping (ICMP) Ping is request message for protocol ICMP.

Ping is request message for ICMP (stands for Internet Control Message Protocol). This protocol is used by different network devices to check if a service or a device is available. Usually it is used for network diagnostics.

Ping monitoring allows you to keep an eye on your network infrastructure. Ping failure means broken connection to a network entity. It is handy to use Ping together with HTTP monitoring. In this case, you get additional information - for example, you know if the error is site-related, or the whole server has gone down. However, sometimes ICMP could be blocked for incoming requests, in order to prevent ddos attacks.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.DistributedMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.HTTP
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POST method example
POST method example Example of monitoring a webform with POST method.

For example you have such simple form:
form action="some-site.com/some-script.cgi" method=post
input type=text name=login value=''
input type=password name=password value=''
input type=submit name='Submit' value='Login'
/form
User fill this form with value login: Peter and password: 1234 and click submit. If everything is Ok, script prints "LoginOk" on the result page.
For making a monitoring task to control this script, create task with next fields:

URL: some-site.com/some-script.cgi
Http Method: choose POST
In "POST parameters" field you should add three strings:
login=Peter
password=1234
Submit=Login
In "Content check" field: LoginOk
Results: HostTracker with every check will fill this form and assume that it is OK if the set keyword LoginOk is returned.

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Quick Start Guide
Quick Start GuideStart using HostTracker in 5 minutes

1. SignUp and fill the Profile

2. Enter your sites for checking
Create monitoring task

3. Set monitoring parameters
Set monitoring parameters

4. Register contacts for alerts and reports
Create contact for alerts and reports

5. Subscribe for alerts
Subscribe for alerts

6. Subscribe for reports
Subscribe for reports

7. When the Free Trial expires, subscribe to a permanent package
Upgrade your account

In case of any questions, write us to ht2support@host-tracker.com

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Response Time Monitoring
Response time monitoring Response time monitoring is testing how fast is your site.

Response time monitoring is testing how fast is your site. It might be accessible, but bad performance can still make it unattractive for the clients. The monitoring of the response time allows you to check how the site acts as the time goes on. Do any of the scheduled tasks, like backup, updates etc affect the performance? Does the site works well for the whole world, or some regions of interest could meet a confusing delay?

HostTracker provides a possibility to check the reaction of your site. Select Response time check on the main screen:

Create ContentCheck Task

Then, select the largest satisfactory response time for the site. Is this value is exceeded, you receive a notification. Also, all the statistics is stored in the check log, and response graph is generated. You may check this data at anytime.

Create ContentCheck Task

NOTE! Response time depends on the distance between the datacenter of your site and our checking server. It might be large enough for a remote country. To decrease this effect, select a checking region in advanced options.

Create ContentCheck Task
  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.ContentCheck
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Uptime
Uptime Uptime is the period of time when a site performs well.

Uptime corresponds to the time when a site is accessible from the Internet. The opposite term - downtime - shows for how long a site has not been working during specified period of time. Usually uptime is measured in percents, and for period of time is choosen year. Percents over the year could be easily transformed into time values. Some typical values of uptime and corresponding period of unavailability during the year are shown here:

90% - 876 hours

99% - 87 hours, 36 minutes

99.9% - 8 hours, 45 minutes, 36 seconds

99.99% - 52 minutes, 34 seconds

So high uptime is really important. Even if it seems that 99% is pretty high value - it corresponds to several days of failure. If that happens in a row, many clients can be lost. Uptime value is usually guaranteed by web hosting, where the site is hosted. Website Monitoring may help you to increase the uptime and check if the value, declared by the hosting company, is real.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.WebHosting
  • CM.Glossary.Availability
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Web Hosting
Web Hosting Web Hosting is a service which makes a site available from the Internet.

Web Hosting is a service which makes a site available from the Internet. It provides a physical place for your site (server) and Internet connection, also it may provide DNS services. Hosting companies differs from those who own huge datacenters to the small ones who rent couple of servers somewhere.

How to choose a hosting? You should pay attention to several important things: features, price, support and uptime.

Features include disk space, database usage, bandwidth, monthly traffic etc. Requirements totally depend on your site. It is clear that personal page has different requirements than a well-known online market.

Price. You may even find completely free hosting, just look if the service satisfies your needs.

Support. How long does it take to solve a problem with your site? What is an avarage response time? Your site is down for a week, and noone cares - is that possible?

Uptime - what is actual running time of the site.

Reliable hosting is very important for business. Using website monitoring services may help to evaluate the hosting service and check how often do the problems really appear.

  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.DNS
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Website
Website Website is a basic unit of information in the Internet.

Website is a single resource of information in the Internet. Usually, it is realized through a set of web pages, devoted to some specific topic. The pages are written in special markup lenguages and may contain various types of data - applications, audio and video files, images etc. The site is hosted on a hardware server and can be found in the Internet by unique name due to DNS. The access to a website usually provided by HTTP (hyper text transfer protocol), or its secure version - HTTPS. This protocol provides possibility to deliver information from the server to a client, who is usually viewing the pages with the help of special application, called browser.

  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.Website Hosting
  • CM.Glossary.DNS
  • CM.Glossary.HTTP
  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
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Website monitoring
Website monitoring Website monitoring is an automated process of checking availability of a site.

Website monitoring is an automated process of checking availability of a site. The main goal of it is evaluation of possibility to access the site by clients. It is clear, that a site is efficient when an interested person can load the page and make a purchase or look for some information. If this action fails for some reason - the site does not execute its mission, and a client will find what he needs somewhere else.

There are many solutions of this problems, and all of them could be divided into passive and active ways. The result of monitoring is the value of uptime, measured with some accuracy. Having it, one can conclude how long is the site broken during some period of time (usually, for a year). Low uptime usually means that the server where the site is hosted, or internet connection to it, is unreliable and is required to be changed.

  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.ActiveMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.PassiveMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.Availability
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