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Monitoring the availability of a website with Hitflow

Recently I needed a solution for website uptime monitoring. It can be done semi-automatically via a plugin for web browser for instance. Or automatically by an external service such as Hitflow, which I got a recommendation for.

Why I needed website monitoring

There can be a numer of reasons for website monitoring. I had a few – I needed to check if my hosting provider is reliable enough and if my website is available at all times. Also, I have been struggling with getting a perfect score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights and this seemed like a good way to check if my website has a stable response time at different times in a day.

For these tasks I got recommended a service – Hitflow. Hitflow is mainly a solution for website and server monitoring but it can be also used for a variety of other tasks such as:

  • controlling the use of the resources of the server
  • checking for the validity of SSL vertificate
  • checking for domain’s expiration

How to start?

After registering a free (test website for free) or a paid account on the Hitflow website you can login and add your own website monitoring via a wizard.

I checked the first option. In the next step I entered the project’s name and website URL. Click OK and that’s almost it. Then there’s monitoring page for our website and things such as: verification interval (1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60 minutes), connection port, exact page path within website, request data to be posted, list of words to be in the page and a lot more can be changed.

Crucial function is the possiblity to set up the alerts. You can set the value in seconds what server waiting time is too long to access the website and also its response time in milliseconds. You can also choose country of origin of the probes that access the website, for now it’s United States, United Kingdom, France, Poland, Canada, Singapore and Australia. If the website is unavailable the alert will trigger and send an email, text message or a Telegram message to the chosen contact.

Reporting

After you set up a website and choose the intervals you can see the reports page with website’s uptime, graph response time’s on each check and more data. The screenshot below shows it better:

For this timeframe I hadn’t had any errors so my website’s uptime is 100%. If it wouldn’t be so I would have a list with errors and logs containing the information what HTTP response code was received at what time etc.

All of this data can be exported to nice looking PDF or XLS file which can be really useful if you show this data to a client for instance.

Other features

One very interesting feature which I should mention is the “List of words to appear (or not) in the page”. This can be useful for checking if a certain HTML code or visible text is shown or not on our own website or just any website. I used this for monitoring if a price of a certain product on a popular online store has changed. If it does I can setup an email alert and receive a message immediately after the price change. This feature can be used for many different purposes, be creative!

For server monitoring there’s a pre-configured and ready to use Python script that you can install on your server and check for system load, processors usage, RAM memory and storage space. Each of these things can be gived a percentage usage at which you should be alerted if it’s exceeded. There’s also an API and documentation so own tools for data collection can be created.

Other features include expiration reminders for SSL/DNS certificates, maintenance scheduling and multi-user accounts.

I was very happy with my experience with Hitflow, so if you want to check it out feel free to do it.

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