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
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"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.
Why a low uptime may affect not only your revenue, but also your company's reputation?

While you may be spending more time and resources on developing your website, you need to be sure that the core of the website is still performing well. There is a strong correlation between uptime and visitor conversions. Are you still wondering why is website uptime so important? Then take a deeper dive into this...

While you may be spending more time and resources on developing your website, you need to be sure that the core of the website is still performing well. There is a strong correlation between uptime and visitor conversions. Moreover, nothing drives your visitors to your competitors faster than multiple extensive and ongoing downtime issues. Are you still wondering why is website uptime so important? Uptime is being considered a critical metric of the website well-being. It reflects the percentage of time your website happens to be available to the visitors. Let’s take a deeper dive into this.

Track your website uptime or you put your business at risk

Imagine, you’ve already done all hard work – built a dream team of talented individuals (designers, copywriters, developers etc.), who are shouldering their delegated roles perfectly. And together you all created more than just a website - a master of the Google search that reflects on your personal brand. This suggests you put specific keywords and phrases throughout your website and your brand’s online profiles – so that if people go looking for you on Google, they are likely to find your website.

And there is someone who wants to visit your website, but a current outage is stopping him from camping on the webpage. No matter who you are, a multinational corporation or news portal, if your website goes down for even several minutes, it can impact negatively on your reputation, revenue, productivity and appeal among your visitors. Apparently, downtime is bad for your bottom line, but it costs differently within industries. Business size is the most obvious factor, but it is not the only one. Most of the visitors have a short patience span for even minor website hassles, especially when it comes to making major purchases. Therefore, ensuring your website stays up is a key to your successful business.

Inaccessible website is your clients’ losses

It seems that, inaccessible website puts the visitors off from using it. If your website is designed, for example, for reading books online but inaccessible at the moment, all your customers, including your loyal ones, wouldn’t be able obtain the information they need from your website. This suggests, all your readers won’t be able to get to know you and vice versa you won’t be able to connect to them. Imagine that right now there is someone who wants to buy or read a book from your platform. Try as he may, he can’t reach your website, because it’s closed. And now, he’ll think twice before going back to the platform that evokes frustration and irritation in him. He will definitely find another platform where buying and reading are much easier. Having an online 24/7/365 presence means you are very likely to gain more customers, increase your credibility and spread your business.

Server is down?

Reliability is a key piece of a good web hosting. Reliable web hosting providers not only try to keep the websites always online, secure, and fast, but also ensure that they’re reachable. Consequently, if you’re an unreliable hosting company, you put businesses that use your service at risk. Every minute their websites are down they are paying for it in business success and positive image among customers. What could it mean to hosting providers? In the era of an increasingly connected world, information spreads faster than ever. And we all know the power of customer reviews. Negative feedbacks mean little unless they have a profound effect on a company's ability to do business as well as the ability to stay ahead of the competition. When the company, in particular web hosting company, lost the faith of their clientele, this lead either to huge outflow of service consumers or potentially damaging situation for a brand.

Another example of how company’s reputation could be burned worst by downtime is an online store. Research shows that 60% of shoppers are surfing the net and even more read product reviews before making a purchase. There are many reasons why people choose not to shop at an online store, but perhaps the most striking is when specific website is down. Obviously, it would be a real struggle to keep the visitors on the website in case of a sudden server downtime. Downtime should be considered something to be avoided at all costs, because visitors are not going to wait at your doorstep. They’ll certainly leave your portal and never come back, as how they can lend an air of credibility to your website if you can’t help yourself…

Warren Buffet once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”.

Out of a search engine?

Downtime issues contribute negatively to your search engine rankings as well. This implies, when Google try to rate your website and find out that it’s down, your website in most cases will temporarily drop in the Google search result rankings. Generally speaking, short periods of website downtime won’t hurt your search rankings that much, but long, consistent ones - will blow your rankings to bits. Scary?

Proactive monitoring of your website is the best way to stay one step ahead of any website bottlenecks and outages. You may rest easily using HostTracker service. HostTracker'll let you know whenever the incident is escalated, as well as, you will be in advance of your website issues. Spot problems before they arise and protect your business from losses that they can create!

 

 

 

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Why do we need monitoring? The overview of the HostTracker service. Part 1

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!

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