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

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"Your sites is very nice and is the best service for web designers. thanks a lot."
- Del.
Database Monitoring with HostTracker

We’re happy to introduce our newest monitoring feature - Database Check – that is easy to use, crystal-clear to understand and designed to get you through your website ‘critical hours’ as smoothly as possible.

We’re happy to introduce our newest monitoring feature - Database Check – that is easy to use, crystal-clear to understand and designed to get you through your website ‘critical hours’ as smoothly as possible.

There is a wealth of different collector services for gathering and analyzing performance information from, for example, the number of visitors, disk usage to the duration of a database session and geographical distribution of the audience that visits the website. In the real world, it is very common to find two or more of these metrics presented together. Anyway, the problem is that you should not only assess these numbers but also somehow examine and compare them.

All that made HostTracker team eventually develop a Database Check – a perfect tool for deep database monitoring and successful troubleshooting database performance problems.

Task Configuration Concepts

Generally speaking, adding a new Database Check won't take long to set up. Once it is enabled, you’ll get the chance to adjust the check to suit your overall strategy. Now let’s look at some of the available options to better understand how they can be effectively applied.

First and foremost, this feature has an option to include a specific database query every time you run the check, whilst still having the opportunity to manage the processing data. If you don’t want to specify any query – the service will verify the ability to connect to the database. In addition, the Database Check tool supports a deferred execution option, which allows you to specify the point of query declaration and track its results.

Besides that, you can use any command - from a simple Select statement to a more complex procedure, - as a database query. However, the specified request should be executed in 30 seconds or less, otherwise, the error message will be generated. Basically, you’ll get the 408 Request Timeout or related error.

Please note: When enabling a new DB monitoring check, there are a couple of things to consider. Use an SQL statement that returns a single value. Furthermore, this value should be returned in the first column of the first row. This step is vital for further performance analysis of the monitored system.  

At the same time, in case of using a DML command as a statement, you’ll also get the total number of rows being affected.

The following example shows the graphical interpretation of the results from executing DELETE statement, according to the specified condition:

For the record, the collected results are not only displayed in a real-time graph, but also stored for later analysis. Besides, such a solution can really help to get valuable insights into how to optimize your database performance.

Moreover, at this stage, you can specify the type of selection criteria. You can choose from no, equal/not equal, greater/less than, in/out of range.

Once the system finds some deviation in records from the expected results - you will receive a notification. To boot, you can control which events you want to receive alerts for and which ways (Skype, Viber, Telegram, Slack etc.).

First Steps In Starting Successful Performance Troubleshooting

This example shows how to create a check for both tracking the growth of all the database log and data files and getting alerts when critical database size is reached. It implies, the following example contains information about the file data/log file size, the total space used, free space details etc. So what you need to do:

  1. Create a new query that displays how much free space you have in your tablespace.

          SELECT
          convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round(sysfile.size/128.000,2)) AS 'FileSize/mb'
          , convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round(fileproperty(sysfile.name,'SpaceUsed')/128.000,2))
          AS 'Used/mb'
          , convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round((sysfile.size-fileproperty(sysfile.name,'SpaceUsed'))/128.000,2))
          AS 'Free/mb'
          , filegroup.groupname AS 'File-group'
          , sysfile.[name],sysfile.[filename]
          FROM dbo.sysfiles sysfile (NOLOCK)
          inner join dbo.sysfilegroups filegroup (NOLOCK) ON filegroup.groupid =
          sysfile.groupid
          UNION ALL 
          SELECT
          convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round(sysfile.size/128.000,2)) AS 'FileSize/mb'
          , convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round(fileproperty(sysfile.name,'SpaceUsed')/128.000,2))
          AS 'Used/mb'
          , convert(DECIMAL(12,2),round((sysfile.size-fileproperty(sysfile.name,'SpaceUsed'))/128.000,2))
         AS 'Free/mb'
         , (CASE WHEN sysfile.groupid = 0 THEN 'Log' END) AS 'File-group'
         , sysfile.[name],sysfile.[filename]
         FROM dbo.sysfiles sysfile (NOLOCK) WHERE groupid = 0
         ORDER BY [File-group],sysfile.[name]         

      2.  After execution, you should get the following results:

     3.  Add a condition of selection:

  • Query result - select "value in the first column of the first row (mainly for SELECT)".
  • Result verification - choose "less than" and add "1000"  as the max value.

Finally, you’ll get the following result once all the previous stages have been successfully completed: if the log file size exceeds 1 GB, you’ll receive a notification.

Please keep in mind all data collection history information is saved and always available to view. It means you can easily identify the cause of this or that problems, for instance, the reason for rapid tablespace growth.

Adding a New Database Monitoring Task

To activate a new Database Check you need:

      1.  Fill in the following fields:

  • Server – enter your server name;

  • Port -  add your port number;

  • Database – add your database name;

  • User ID- enter the login name under which the check should be executed;

  • Password – add the password that corresponds to your login.

For this task only, it is recommended to create a new user account with limited rights.

       2.  Provide access to your database. For this, add the IP addresses of the HostTracker agents to a Firewall Whitelist and your server list.

Note that, the IP addresses of our agents are permanent.

       3.  When ready, click on Save.

If you have any questions about this feature, well, just send us a message. We’re always ready to help!

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Home > Blog > Domain expiration
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?  

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.

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 using HostTracker's Domain expiration and Certificate expiration functions?

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.
  • 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 in our blog.
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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, 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.

 

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