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.

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  • CM.Glossary.Downtime
  • CM.Glossary.DistributedMonitoring
  • CM.Glossary.HTTP
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I use it for free an just for having mail of when my website is down, and it's work very well, so I want to thank you.

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- RA
Perhaps your IP-address is already blacklisted but you don’t even know ...

Anyone can be blacklisted – so what can you do? How can you detect such problem? Are there any protection mechanisms? This is what this article is about.

Are you sure that your domain isn’t currently listed with some anti SPAM-database? We recommend you to check this out!  As you can be one of those who accidentally fall into being blocked due to spreading spam, malware, viruses or just having dangerous, illegal or prohibited content (links to such content) hosted on their pages. Apparently, anyone can be blacklisted – so what can you do? How can you detect such problem? Are there any protection mechanisms? This is what this article is about.

Why is this happening?

There are tens of thousands of different DNSBL-servers up for grabs out there and they all have their own set standards and criteria for which IP should be blacklisted. Moreover, these conditions are constantly changing. Therefore, there’s no guarantee that even a law-abiding domain which meets all standards of copyright and trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity, and other applicable regulations and statutes of law, one day wouldn’t be filtered out by the search engine as one that spreads spam.

Actually, HostTracker’s team recently faced the risk of being banned too. HostTracker, in its capacity as a website monitoring service, sends daily many various reports to the people that requesting them, hence it was easy to determine that some of our emails hadn’t been delivered and were dumped into a spam folder.

So what should you do?

Understanding the problem is the first step to fixing it. So it’s crucial to be aware of the warning signs of listing threat and be able to quickly take steps to cut back if you recognize them. Since we recommend adopting our new feature - "DNSBL" on the "Check site instantly" bar - we have implemented just for you:

This option is not exactly brand new, as there are dozens of different check services out there (for instance, Mxtoolbox), which offer a convenient help in testing whether your domain is on some blacklists. But soon we realized that we also needed to arm HostTracker with this check, as without having had such tool in place, we were flying blind.

In light of what was written above, we provide the illustration of how the "DNSBL" check works:

If HostTracker detects some suspicious activity from your IP address, you’ll be notified immediately with an alert of a possible listing reason. For you it means - the ability to track the reason why the site was blocked to its origins.

Usually, the domain will be blocked not at once but only after a thorough analysis of many factors. If you have already discovered your IP on one or more blacklists, don’t panic, more often than not, all you need to do is to follow their specific removal process. That implies, you should visit the corresponding blacklist's website and, following the removal instructions, enter the domain name and press "Delist". Additionally, you may need to contact the blacklist with a removal request. Note that, previously you have to resolve all issues that caused the blacklist.

So, if you happen to discover your IP address involved in spamming – resolve the underlying issues and you’ll be removed automatically, once a certain period of time elapses. How to stay protected and off of blacklists? The best option is to use PTR or SPF for messaging, as this’ll eliminate the likelihood of your domain name getting fraudulently spoofed and abused by spammers, or blocked for appearing to use a dynamic IP address.

There's no single cause of being blacklisted. Generally speaking, if your IP has been tagged illegal accidentally, the removal process won’t take much time and effort. But it is essential to be proactive, so that to be able to act fast and be in tune with such situations. The sooner you find out about the issues, the easier they are to deal with and the more likely that your domain name won’t be deemed illegal among the entire set of DNSBL databases. Use our new option "DNSBL" on the "Check site instantly" bar to be always aware of the "status" of your resource and never be tossed and turned by the tides of website hassles and outages. Remember, we’re looking forward to any interesting comments and suggestions regarding our service and its work.

 

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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 we are doing this. The same things could be done without HostTracker’s help.  And you know what - definetely, they could. 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 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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