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.

  • CM.Glossary.WebsiteMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.HTTPMethods
more glossary
"Thank you so much for your service. We were suspecting problems with our hosting company but they denied any problems saying the issues must be at our end. We know we do have issues at our end but still suspected that wasn't the entire story. Your service was able to prove that they are indeed going down regularly - on average twice a week during the trial period. Thanks again for providing the information we needed to make a proper decision on this issue."
- B.
Monitoring domain and SSL certificate expiry dates

▶ Monitoring domain and SSL certificate expiry dates.

▶ How to activate the SSL certificate monitoring tool and domain monitoring settings?

▶ It takes only several minutes with HostTracker

So many domain names are lost in this fashion. The domain name holders have their names taken away by others, simply because they miss the renewal alerts and they do not notice when their domains are not running the show anymore. Although the whole system for domain name holders is not very practical or sensible, reality confirms that dropping a domain name is a significant problem nowadays. Anyone who holds a domain name is very much prone to losing it, ranging from big corporations, like Microsoft, to small private firms. Trying to solve this problem, HostTracker has developed utterly useful tools that highly increase the chances to reach 100% uptime.

Controlling tools

Registrars are obliged to keep the registered name owner always updated on the status of a domain and must notify of the impending expiration at least two times. One of these notifications must be sent about one month prior to expiration and one must be sent about one week prior to expiration. But “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not”. That’s why a lot of very bad things keep on happening. For instance:

  • Alerts go to the spam folder;
  • Responsible employees are taking time off work;
  • Or just there is something more important that should be solved just at this moment and the domain renewal is put off for the better times.

Problems like these occur very often.  Moreover, when we face them - no one can recall the timing of the registration, the timing of payments, the cards from which the money was written off etc.

Are you getting the idea that it’s truly important to pay attention to this stuff? Use HostTracker tools. The service will monitor your domain/SSL certificates for many different status changes, such as when a domain becomes registered, when it drops and becomes available, when it's renewed and everything. You can enable automatic summary reports that are emailed on a daily / weekly / monthly basis (or at any interval you choose). The reports can include renewal dates of registration and any other useful information and can be sent, for example, via SMS, email or a Skype. These instruments are also fully configurable and can be used together or separate with regular uptime checks.

Domain Monitoring Service Settings

Applying domain monitoring settings takes several minutes:

simply enter the domain name. You can click on "Add list" to monitor more than one website. You may also configure additional options by clicking on "Subscriptions" bar:

  • “Up” - the domain renewal notices are emailed one month, 7 and 3 days prior to expiration.
  • “Down” - you are notified that your domain name has already expired.
  • “Repeat” - you receive alerts every day until you renew the domain name.

Put tick marks next to the contacts of people, who should be informed in case of any problems.

If you want to be notified not only by email, but also by other messengers (Skype, Viber, Hangouts, Telegram), add them in the "Add Contact" bar or in the "Notifications" menu on the main page screen.

How to activate the SSL certificate monitoring tool

Since Google announced that they’re going to be using whether or not a server uses SSL as a ranking signal, the number of people interested in purchasing SSL certificates has skyrocketed. Why are SSL/TLS certificates so beneficial? 

The idea of using SSL/TLS certificates is crystal clear, as it is a type of encryption used for securing web sessions. HTTPS keeps both your websites and your customers' personal information private and secure. As when a SSL certificate is used, the information becomes indecipherable to everyone besides for the server you are sending the data to. This protects it from "domain slamming", "email phishing" attacks and other harmful activities.

Therefore, it is vital not to miss SSL/TLS certificates expiry dates. Both domain monitoring and SSL monitoring instruments are operating alike and have the same configuration, which includes:

  • Sending renewal notifications 30, 7, and 1 days prior to certificate expiration.
  • Sending instant reports when security certificate is becoming “off”.
  • Reporting daily about the necessity to renew the SSL/TLS certificates.
  • Selecting groups of contacts who can be informed in case of a crisis/emergency.

With activating the two monitoring functions in the Business or Enterprise packages, or in a trial mode, you’ll be always aware of the certificate or domain expiry dates. Or at least, in case of unintentional domain losses, you will be eager to know the reason when, why and how it has happened and sort out the problem.

HostTracker is client-focused

That’s why one of our founding principles as a company included remaining flexible and adaptable, as well as open to improving our service. As the technology world changes, we’ll be ready to make quick, minute adjustments, add new tools and implement new features to improve our product.

Many of our features and enhancements are available online and have been minted due to the customer requests. Therefore, we are looking forward to hearing your feedbacks, suggestions and new creative ideas.

 

more blog
Thank you for feedback!
 
Sign In
Sign Up
Prices & packages
Our monitoring network
Home > Blog > part1

Why there is a need in monitoring? How the monitoring could help in the sites and servers development and testing? This review will answer to these questions and will also show how the simple desire to optimize your work may be transformed into a useful product for others, as well as, how not to lose the ‘startup spirit’ and always keep up with your clients.

HostTracker Company is one of the market leaders in the supplying of monitoring services for sites and various web services. It teems with a wealth of different constantly improved tools, which are taking into accounts the most recent tendencies and trends. How did this company emerge? Why there is a need in monitoring? How the monitoring could help in the sites and servers development and testing? This review will answer to these questions and will also show how the simple desire to optimize your work may be transformed into a useful product for others, as well as, how not to lose the ‘startup spirit’ and always keep up with your clients.

Introduction or the history of startup

Everyone involved in the IT sector must know the feeling, when a server (website, database, software, network) seems to be perfectly configured, but it suddenly stops to work properly. Solving this problem could take a lot of time. Meanwhile, this mess would go on, take place regularly or wouldn’t happen at all – but, nevertheless, that’s the worst, as it wouldn’t be clear when it shows up another time. Moreover, what if this happens during handover the project to the client? Pondering over all these things caused HostTracker to appear.

A founder had always tried to make his work on objects as brilliant as he could at his main job, so he decided to automatize the process of monitoring. If at that time (at the beginning of 2000), there were reliably working monitoring services – possibly, HostTracker would never have appeared. Therefore, he had to write a simple script to check his bulk of sites. However, the script faced the same problems that were mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. From time to time, the script didn’t work at all or didn’t work properly.

So, that’s why, we had to optimize the script a little and make it more reliable, as well as, through the duplication and distribution it on several machines. After a series of optimizations the idea crossed our minds that it could be useful for someone else, and HostTracker became public. With the advent of a variety of clients – we decided to monetize the efforts. As you can see, our service appeared to solve personal problems, but during the process of development has become available to others to help them solve the same problems, which, at one time, we faced.

Monitoring: the main points

This part of the review contains information about the most popular feature - regular check of the site or other entity available from the network for immediate identification of emerging problems. These checks can be run on different protocols: http (s), icmp (aka Ping), port (check any port over TCP) etc. It is worth noting, that there are different approaches to monitoring. There is an internal monitoring - when the state of the site is estimated by the software hosted on the same server. To put it tentatively, there may be included such tools like Google Analytics– built in the page script sends information about customers who entered the site, and can make indirect conclusions about the site performance. The other type of monitoring - external, or, as lawyers say, "monitoring by a third party." It is embodied in simulating the logging in of real users with real addresses to the site, and making conclusions on the real server replies to the sent requests. Further we will talk about this method in the review.

Infrastructure or how it works

For easier understanding, the infrastructure can be divided into two components: the "internal" and "external". The “internal” is placed in the cloud and consists of computing servers, databases, file servers etc. All of these components belong to HostTracker and are operated directly by HostTracker employees. The “external” component - nodes or agents, which are placed around the world and serve as independent servers inspectors, similarly to "Secret shoppers" at the stores. They are testing the sites and other entities by creating the standard requests for checking protocol. If it is a web site test, then it will be the usual http requests and there will be no difference between these requests and requests of real visitors.

These servers are completely independent from each other and from internal system structure. Everything what they do – receive a list of sites for checking from the central server and give it back the check results. Some of these servers are being rented by the HostTracker, whilst the majority of them belongs to the partners. These partners are providing them for free or with a significant discount, in return for backlinks or discounts for our services, or just due to friendship relationship.

This kind of infrastructure allocation is a result of monitoring service performance algorithm.

The service performance algorithm

Regular checks are being done due to the client’s predefined interval, beginning from one minute. When it comes to testing, the server sends the task to one randomly selected agent – a part of the external HostTracker network. It is performing checks by a given protocol, and sending back the response of the checking server. These results are being processed on the “external” side. If it happens to have a positive response - nothing happens, there will be only a record in the database about this (it is available to the client in a form of an inspections log). If an error has been noticed, then tasks are immediately created to verify, again, this site by other randomly selected servers from the general network. After that, the answers from all these servers will be analyzed.

If the error hasn’t been confirmed by the majority of servers - it remains in the log and there is no reason to worry. Apparently, anything can happen: the network lag, requests overload and everything. If most or all of the agents do confirm an error - then it is assumed, that the trouble occurred and there is a serious problem – likely, at that time, a lot of people can’t get to the site. Moreover, almost all commercial sites will suffer from a great loss of money in this situation.

Error handling and clients notification

According to the settings, after identifying the problems, a lot of different things can also happen. The problem initial diagnostics is being done at once. If there is any error, the code of this error is recorded, otherwise there will be a record of the protocol response. This data can be used for detecting the reasons of the error, for example, network failure, server failure etc. However, first and foremost, the client is interested in getting to know about the problem. So, if you want to be aware of any errors at any time, you should register your phone number, e-mail or other communication channel to receive notifications from HostTracker.

These notifications may be sent to different people, with different contacts and at any time. Truly, a lot of interesting features are there to offer. The message can be sent immediately, which is done the most frequently. Although, that’s not enough for the particular customer to be satisfied. Firstly, the "unimportant" sites do exist and it would be inappropriate to wake administrator up because of the short-term downtime. Secondly, there are "important" people, that shouldn’t be bothered because of different insignificant problems. Therefore, HostTracker offers a feature of the alerts escalation. As well as, HostTracker would send a notification to a specific address after some time of the site’s fall, if it didn’t recover by itself.

Moreover, you can create "work schedule" for each contract - set the time interval during which, it is possible to send alerts. So, HostTracker wouldn’t disturb this person at other time. It happens to be very useful for some customers. For instance, this configuration will send an alert to the particular person between 8:00 am. and 7:00 pm., in case the site has been “off” for one or more hours:

We will describe a wide variety of other service functions in the next reviews. Also, you will find all histories of their emergence and development, the examples of their usage and other things from our own experience. It is worth noting, that one of the main advantages of the service is the orientation to clients. Many service functions have been invented due to clients, friends and partners requests, enabling them to solve their specific technical problems, the solution of which on their own would require a lot more resources. Therefore, we’re looking forward to your feedbacks and suggestions!

Share:
Send to Twitter Send to Facebook Send to LinkedIn Share on Google+
Blogs:
HostTracker blog HostTracker page on Facebook