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
  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.Uptime
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Very usefull service, helps us to monitor activity of our sites.

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- A.
Some secrets of content monitoring

HostTracker provides the best practice for monitoring both content changes and website availability. HostTracker’s tools allow you to check whether your webpage loads correctly and test it for errors as frequently as you’d like. Additionally, you'll know:

▶ Why do we need that?

▶ Service Settings;

▶ Content Check Methods.

HostTracker provides the best practice for monitoring both content changes and website availability. HostTracker’s tools allow you to check whether your webpage loads correctly and test it for errors as frequently as you’d like. Moreover, our service will be the best assistance in tracking websites with complex structure.

Why do we need that?

With “Content Check” you can spot the presence/absence of specific words on your page, as well as, to monitor the integrity of the website. However, it shows that it is insufficient to enable clear conclusions about the webpage performance. And there will certainly come a point in the life when questions like these arise: “Does the data load completely from the database?” “Are there any missing items on my page?” “What if my website is being hacked right now?” etc.

Little time for writing a simple script on your site - and you can check whatever you want. Server scripts come in handy when there is a need to keep an eye on any changes in website performance. To illustrate, you can write a script which will display “OK” provided everything is operating fine or there is enough disk space. If it happens that the website seems to be available, but actually “Error connect to mysql” pops up, then it’s highly recommended to tune the monitoring function for tracking the absence of a word, in particular, the word “Error”. To the boot of all that, this function can be used as a stopgap to identify obscene comments or suspicious activity until more sophisticated alternatives can be found. Notably, unwanted activity can be tracked by detecting the keywords of virus scripts.

The “Content Check” tool is easy to use and the results are crystal-clear for understanding. Moreover, our service is cloud-based, so you don’t need to install any additional software. Interestingly, the same check let hit HTTP load-testing and collects all statistics you need. Simultaneously, you can carry on website speed and response time tests and, by extension, pinpoint whether your IPs is blacklisted with one of nearly seventy DNS based blacklists.

Service Settings

Are you ready to start monitoring your website content? Let’s go! First and foremost, type the URL of your website into the space provided (or click on “Add list” - if you need to monitor a bulk of websites). Please, pay attention to the “Content Check” field – complete blank space with keywords you wish to monitor, use commas to separate words. It’s worth noting that HostTracker will keep you always updated on your webpage performance, and if, for instance, the presence/absence status of the certain phrases ever changes, you’ll be notified immediately by email and/ or by phone.

Additionally, there are some additional content monitoring options. The first advantage of using them is that, they give you the opportunity to choose only words or phrases that you want/don’t want to show on your website. The second advantage is that, in case of defining a series of keywords, both the disappearance of all words and a single one cause the error. A tick next to “Follow redirect” reflects that the request is forwarded to the target page (defined in the Redirection).

Methods

For more configuration options, click on “Advanced options” drop-down list. Make sure your desired method is set up in the “HTTP method” area.

Available HTTP methods:

  • GET (default parameter value) - is used to retrieve information from the Request-URI for keywords search.

  • POST – gets a content body used to send specific parameters and data.  It tests the functionality and correctness of the website forms.

To sum up, HostTracker incorporates a lot of powerful tools - you're bound to find something you'll like!

 

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Home > Blog > part2

  In the beginning, HostTracker company was founded on the basis of a simple website to provide free customer services. Though, a few years later, this startup developed a wide variety of tools serving to solve various problems, including different network issues. In a series of publications, we have decided to describe thoroughly all the features of our service, also to share our experience in the development of such projects with you and to mention interesting challenges that we faced. 

In the beginning, HostTracker company was founded on the basis of a simple website to provide free customer services. Though, a few years later, this startup developed a wide variety of tools serving to solve various problems, including different network issues. In a series of publications, we have decided to describe thoroughly all the features of our service, also to share our experience in the development of such projects with you and to mention interesting challenges that we faced. Moreover, for those seeking an example of how to sell something that had been made for themselves, our experience would be useful, as most of our features were developed due to our personal needs.

In the previous part of the review we have talked about the history of the service and the most basic functions - regular inspection of sites and servers, and what is more, notification of their efficiency. Before starting to describe more advanced features, we should write where do all these ideas come from and how to prioritize them. One of the key secrets often used by entrepreneurs is to follow the statement: all people are unique. All customers’ requests are unique, so you have to learn how to deal with them. Therefore the IT sector is utterly susceptible to this factor, as a great number of customers have profound knowledge and diverse experience. Nevertheless, part of the problems can be solved with available resources. However, the main feature of our work is that, frequently, we have to evolve something. Most of the HostTracker’s functions were developed or adapted due to the conveniences and needs of the particular people. We are also a part of that people, as having rather large infrastructure, and also need to have everything work properly. Therefore, we ourselves are the most picky client.


Precious little things

It worth noting, that in addition to different regular checks, there are other useful tools. They include monitoring of the domain and SSL certificate expiration time. This seems to be negligible, but could bring a lot of unexpected inconveniences to work. These functions appeared in HostTracker, when one of our personal domains had expired. Moreover, large companies also frequently face these problems, as the prolongation of the domain /certificate expiration time depends on the unreliable human factor. Therefore, a notification that the domain should be prolongated, is stored not only within spam folder (already overflowed with continuous marketing messages from your hosting company), but also to the folder with the data of website downs. As well as, the SMS notification capability still exists. That’s why these features are being so handy.

Another interesting feature is the domain check to see if they are blacklisted in DNS-based lists. These lists are independent and are generated separately using different algorithms. What is more, they were mainly created for filtering of the suspicious entities. Each administrator can configure own web server in different ways, for example, not to receive messages from the servers from a specific list. It helps fight off spam, malware spread, DDoS attacks and other problems. But all of these lists have their own algorithms, and there is no guarantee that in the result of any coincidences your website wouldn’t appear in any of these blacklists. Moreover, according to the statistics, this is happening on a regular basis with the most innocent sites. For example, no one can guarantee that a hacker wouldn’t use your nearby IP for different spam attacks. In this situation, the entire range of IPs would be considered as unreliable. What are the consequences of that?  Your messages wouldn’t be delivered to customers, the site wouldn’t be so easily found in search system and so on. Furthermore, you will find out this problem when the changes become critical or even irrevocable. Therefore, the monitoring and notification of DNSBL are also essential.

The content check

Here is a good example of how the usage of functions may exceed developers expectations. We have mentioned about several such cases earlier. Actually, nowadays a lot of things have a web interface whilst for others – it could be easily created, if needed. Therefore, it was developed not only the check function of whether the page was loaded completely using simple parsing, but also another mind-boggling things of this check. Adapting to different customer requests, this feature has become very flexible. It may look for one or plenty of words from the list at once. Moreover, it may detect the emergence of certain phrases. This feature may also raise as an error the whole line that contains the keyword. For instance, if there is a kind of server-status page (“Server 1 OK” etc.) and it shows “Error”, then the message will be “1 Server Error”.  In this case, all diagnostic is already done, and you can start troubleshooting immediately.

What if it happens, that the server should be down?

In addition to the notification of the failures of the sites, HostTracker provides another important function – gathers statistics of each examined site. When the various buttons on the sites were popular – HostTracker’s button also often appeared with the figures of website attendance, the weather forecasts and other things like that. Now it is possible to use a widget, but still the button is also available for retro fans. In addition, statistics is very important for managers. They constantly want to know whether the website and administration of it are working properly. Therefore, there is another useful function - the maintenance planning. Even the most stable sites and servers must be updated or rebooted from time to time. At the same time, it’s not the desired to lose so-called “9s” in terms of uptime. Planning of the maintenance let us achieve two goals (together or separately). This includes: not to send error notifications and not to record errors to the statistics during a specific span of time. Of course, it seems to be a kind of cheating, but outlined maintenances are justified, especially in excluded time. In addition to this, different verifications have being done and written to the log during maintenances. It can be useful for webmasters and administrators, as log let determine exactly the duration of updating or restarting processes, any occurred errors, other breakages etc. Moreover, thanks to that, the whole process of error emergence could be tracked: from the stage when the server wouldn’t be available for some time to the stage when the application would return an error.

Maintenance can be scheduled as a one-time job or on a regular basis. For example, if the backup is done every night, or a new release - every Thursday. The only condition is that the maintenance schedule should be made up at least 12 hours prior to the site/server nearest suspension period of time. This is done to ensure that all maintenances won’t be responsible for any pity unexpectancies, and statistics provided by HostTracker will be trustful.

A kind of an epilogue

We are frequently asked why are we doing that. The same things can be done without HostTracker’s help.  And you know what - definetely, they can. Especially, if you need only one tool. Many people are talking, that the whole Business World is built on human laziness. By solving routine problems, HostTracker provides a slice of work-free and responsibility-free time in the customer’s schedule. Truly, not everyone is able to assemble a car by himself. We look up to the people, who are eager to create something good for personal needs in our field, but most people don’t want to spend their free time for doing something like that.

Additionally, our clients are: non-IT specialists; IT specialists who have to report something to their managers; managers themselves; fans of reliability – they use their own tools and take advantages of someone else’s; and many other groups of people.

All in all, we are always looking forward to your comments.

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