Easily Monitor Your Website’s Uptime and Downtime with these Plugins & Services

Posted on March 24, 2015 by in Tips & Tricks | 36 comments

Easily Monitor Your Website’s Uptime and Downtime with these Plugins & Services

A lot of WordPress users are enticed to use the software because it’s free, highly customizable, and highly extendible. We tend to get caught up on the design and functionality of our sites–since that is primarily what we have control over.

However, just as important as our site’s functionality and design may be, knowing that it is actually available to those looking for it is just as important–but not easy to do by yourself. After all, you can’t sit at your computer simply refreshing your website all day and night to make sure it’s still there.

That’s why in today’s post we’re going to talk about some easy ways you can monitor your WordPress site’s uptime using outside services, plugins, or a combination of both.

First: What, Exactly, is Uptime Monitoring & How Does It Work?

First, let’s make sure we all know what uptime monitoring is. Uptime monitoring is simply the act of checking regularly with your server to make sure your website is up and functioning as it should. This is typically accomplished by having a plugin or service “ping” your server and share the results with you.

Each plugin or service that does this tends to offer their own twist on the service (beyond just telling you if your site is up or not) in order to add the most value, as they see it. But we’ll get into that more when reviewing the service and plugin options below.

The Importance of Monitoring Your WordPress Site’s Uptime

Even if we spend a considerable amount of time in front of our computer, looking at our website, that doesn’t mean its always up when we’re not there or that everyone else is seeing it. Obviously if that is happening, especially on a regular basis, it can become a fairly large problem.

There are a few ways this can damage your brand and business:

1. You will be seen as unreliable. If you can’t keep your own website up and running, why should your customers or clients trust you with their business?

2. You will lose potential clients/customers. If they can’t see your products or services, how can they buy?

3. You will lose the trust of search engines, resulting in poorer SEO rankings. If every time they index your site it is down (or simply too many times) then they will give your search results less priority.

Obviously, site uptime is important. And it is not as if hosting companies don’t know it. Uptime is usually one of their top selling points. So I can see how some of you might be wondering why this is necessary. Don’t most hosting services offer a 99% uptime guarantee?

Yes, it’s true that most hosting providers do offer this guarantee, but without monitoring it is impossible to tell whether or not they follow through on that guarantee. That’s where uptime monitoring tools and services come in quite handy. They insure that you’re getting the service you’re paying for and help protect you from the unfortunate consequences of an unreliable host.

Easy WordPress Website Uptime Monitoring with Third Party Services

The services below are a handful of the top third party services recommended for website uptime monitoring. They work with all kinds of sites, not just those running WordPress. These services may  be the preferred choice for someone not looking to add another plugin to their install, but still want solid uptime monitoring.

Pingdom

Pingdom

Pingdom is probably the most popular service for monitoring website uptime. They are 100% free and offer several key features and benefits. Obviously the first is that they will monitor your websites uptime and notify you if it goes down. They do this via email and SMS. They also provide detailed performance reports, help you analyze key interactions, and share that data with others on your team.

Price: FREE | More Information

Site24x7

Site24x7

Site24x7 can help you monitor servers, apps, and websites. They can track your uptime, downtime, performance and more. Their key features include email, SMS, RSS, or Twitter notifications for site downtime or unavailability. They will also track response times and other performance metrics; along with the tools you need to analyze them. All in all, this will work for any operation large or small but it is definitely designed to be scalable for larger sites and companies.

Price: $4.50/month | More Information

Service Uptime

Service-Uptime

Service Uptime offers much the same as the options above: Uptime monitoring, performance monitoring, data analysis, and notifications. Where their service seems to differ is that they drill down a bit and monitor the uptime/availability/performance of different sections of content on your site–making sure your visitors are getting the experience you’ve created.

Price: Freemium Plan (Full feature package starts at $4.95/month) | More Information

Monitor.us

Monitor-us

Monitor.us is a one stop shop for all your site monitoring needs. Their product/service is meant to be a replacement for the complex monitoring software typically used by IT professionals. They offer website monitoring, network monitoring, open API monitoring, and more. For the average WordPress users, this may be a bit overkill. Thankfully you can choose to use just the website monitoring and forget about the rest (unless you want/need it.). When used this way, it really is a free and easy solution that may will enjoy.

Price: FREE | More Information

DownNotifier

DownNotifier

DownNotifier is all about simplicity. It’s free and they cut out even the process of having to create an account in order to get right down to the business of monitoring your uptime. All you have to do is enter your domain, email, and optional phone number so that in the event of your site going down they can notify you via email or SMS. It’s a super simple free tool with a premium upgrade available for those who are interested.

Price: FREE | More Information

Are My Sites Up?

Are-My-Sites-Up

Are My Sites Up is designed to be an extremely easy and simplified version of uptime monitoring. Their focus, as opposed to a lot of features, is speed. They want to detect and notify you of a downed site as soon as it happens. Or, as they promise, within one minute. Which is pretty great!

Price: $8/month | More Information

Easy WordPress Website Uptime Monitoring with Plugins

The WordPress plugins below are all ways in which you can monitor your site’s uptime. For the most part, they bring the notification and analysis process into the WordPress dashboard, which will probably be preferred by those who don’t want to be jumping around a lot.

Jetpack

Jetpack

The Jetpack plugin by WordPress.com (Automattic) is an extremely popular plugin with a lot of features/extensions bundled together. One of those is uptime monitoring. You can activate the Monitor feature to begin receiving this free service. Notifications are sent via email.

Price: FREE | More Information

SensorPress

SensorPress

SensorPress is another extremely simple plugin. Once installed all you have to do is activate it and provide details. The plugin will check your site ever 15 minutes (or faster) and immediately notify you if any uptime problems are detected.

Price: FREE | More Information

ManageWP

ManageWP

ManageWP is the first of what I’m calling the “‘hybrid” plugin options. The larger ManageWP services–which is designed to help you manage a large number of separately hosted WordPress installs from one dashboard–requires a plugin to work. But its universal dashboard is at ManageWP.com instead of the backend of your WordPress site.

Website uptime monitoring is just one of the many features offered by ManageWP. If that is the only thing you are looking for then I wouldn’t suggest using ManageWP. But, if its core service is valuable to you then its monitoring feature is sure to be helpful as well–since it will monitor all of your websites, not just one.

Price: $2.40/website/month | More Information

Real User Monitoring by Pingdom

Real-User-Monitoring

And finally, we have our last plugin option; the second “hybrid”. This plugin is by the first service we mentioned in the section above–Pingdom. The advantage of using this plugin over just the third party service is that it brings everything into your WordPress dashboard, saving you the hassle of going to other websites to monitor activity. And it’s still free, which is nice.

Price: FREE | More Information

In Conclusion

It’s never fun to log into your email or social channels to find that people are talking to you and about you because your website is down. Neither is it fun to attempt pulling up your website only to realize it has been down and inoperable for who knows how long, potentially costing you new business, search engine rankings, and dings to your brand reliability.

Thankfully, any of the tools featured above can take care of this by making it easy to monitor your WordPress website’s uptime and downtime. Many of them even offer tools for analysis–both of site uptime and performance.

What I like about the tools showcased in this post are not that you can have your choice between third party and WordPress plugin options–which is nice–but within those there is another scale or spectrum ranging from feature rich to bare bones simplicity.

Personally, as a blogger and content creator, I think I’m a fan of bare bone simplicity. I just want a notification as soon as my site goes down and a recommendation on how to fix it. But I like knowing that more robust options are out there if I ever need them.

What is your preference and how to do you monitor your website’s uptime and downtime? Please take a moment or two to share any thoughts or tips in the comment section below.

Article Thumbnail via Max Griboedov // shutterstock.com

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36 Comments

  1. Been using Pingdom for several years and am happy with them. What I like is that they send you an SMS when your site is down and it’s free (if you have 1 website). Another free option that I’m using is SiteUptime.com – it’s another good service.

  2. Hey Nathan,

    You have forgotten one more free plugin from the founders of WP-Rocket : WordPress Website Monitor.

    It’s free and the robots check the websites every 5 minutes. It seems to me it’s better than SensorPress !

    You should check it out : https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-website-monitoring/

    Cheers,

  3. How was uptime robot not listed here? It is the best!

    • I agree. It is the best and helps me out a lot !!

    • Another vote here.

      Uptime Robot is excellent and the one time I needed help the CEO ed me himself. Highly rated.

      • Just found out about that one. Thanks!

    • I vote for uptime robot here. Free and Reliable! Thank you Nathan for this recap

    • Thanks for the tip, signed up and this seems like a great alternative! I’ve mostly been using Pingdom but I feel it’s become to confusing and the free version is limited to only 1 website so I have to have multiple accounts on different emails…

    • Thanks for the tip, signed up and this seems like a great alternative! I’ve mostly been using Pingdom but I feel it’s become to confusing and the free version is limited to only 1 website so I have to have multiple accounts on different emails…

    • Uptime Robot sucks. Unless they’ve recently fixed all their servers. I was constantly getting notifications that my sites were down when they weren’t. I use Status Cake now. Much more reliable

  4. I 2nd Andrej about Pingdom. It’s a good, reliable service. I also use iThemes Sync to manage some sites & it includes an uptime monitor. I’m new to using it but so far, so good. Easy to use & seems to be accurate.

  5. Perfect timing Nathan. This is an area I have not spent much time investigating and I have on my list as something to do this month. I did not even realize Jetpack offered that with its package. I think I will give that a shot as I run it on most of my websites. Thanks 🙂

  6. I’ve been using Google Docs to do this for free, thanks to this blogger:

    http://www.labnol.org/internet/website-uptime-monitor/21060/

  7. In case the readers what another option, we’ve used https://uptimerobot.com/ (free) for about 4 years now. Great Ux/UI too.

  8. You’re forgetting the best of the bunch, StatusCake. I have no affiliation but love using their service. Best part, it’s free forever if you’re on a tight budget.

  9. Is there a good tool or plugin for monitoring the database? I’ve used pingdom to monitor website uptime but haven’t found anything to check and see if the database is down or not. For example, when you receive the “Error connecting to database” situation.

    • Gene, did you find a solution for the pingdom and “database error” case?

    • Monitoring if a database is quite simple – assuming it serves content for the website.
      You set up content monitoring to check if a defined phrase is present on the page – and the phrase you choose must come from the database (not be hardcoded in the template).

  10. Site24x7 also has a free account. I currently use Pingdom, because it’s better in respose time reporting.

  11. +1 for StatusCake. I mean, +10 or +100 for StatusCake. Best value monitoring tool out there. Does unlimited sites with up to 1-minute polling, MASSES of options. Monitors domain expiry, SSL certs, does content checks, you can white label and set up public-facing status pages. Really comprehensive, amazing support, brilliant product. Don’t know why it’s not on the list.

  12. i am using jetpack and its awesome, no need for any other plugin 🙂

  13. Great post, but one little correction. The Pingdom plugin simply places the tracking code onto your WordPress site. You still must visit my.pingdom.com to monitor activity. It does not bring everything into your WordPress dashboard as the article states.

    • In addition this plugin is not anymore maintained!

  14. Hello! I’m curious. You didn’t go into too much detail on Jetpack’s monitor option. Is there a particular deficiency in it? Is there a reason to bother with a third party site or install another plugin to duplicate that free functionality already built into WordPress?
    Thanks!

  15. Great list, Nathan. I’m currently using Uptime Robot but am disappointed that it only pings the server and has no idea whether any pages are actually being shown. I had the white screen of death going, and Uptime Robot and I were blissfully unaware of the situation. I’m going to check out some of the others on your list.

    I’m not going for Jetpack right now, though. I was just about to install it on a site yesterday when I started reading the reviews in the “one star” category. LOTS of people are complaining that the latest release caused issues that took down their sites. Worse yet, they complain that it updates itself automatically, so if a person is managing a bunch of sites that could very quickly become quite a nightmare. I hope they get this resolved soon, because I want to use their new brute force protection.

  16. I was using pingdom and the servers pinging my website needed to be white listsed on my server in order for them to do there job. It would say my website had been for hours and hours and that my servers was 60% uptime. After checking with my host and other monitor services my server was 99% uptime and was never down. Moral of the story is can you rely on your monitoring service? Your website might be doing better on up than you think! Careful with this. Thanks for the article.

  17. Hi Nathan,Never knew before that plugins for monitoring website up-time exists. But I have a question, since these plugins will be constantly residing and monitoring the server, will they not slow down the website?

  18. StatusCake let’s me monitor all my websites for free. For my most important websites I use ithemes sync pro, which is like managewp, but integrates with their awesome backupbuddy plugin and has a ton of other useful remote features as well.

  19. Since I’m using CMS Commander to manage my sites, I use his “Uptime Robot” to monitor uptime through the same menu interface. Works. http://uptimerobot.com/

  20. Great List.
    Currently I’m using Jetpack for monitoring website up time and downtime and it work perfectly.
    Going to check out them all.

  21. Uptime Robot works for me. You get up to 50 monitors for free.

  22. I use pingdom plugin 🙂

  23. Great list, a good addition to it will be Testomato tool from http://www.testomato.com – automated website checking and uptime monitoring in one.

  24. Nice list. I use neoWatcher else. Great service for tracking website changes, and you can watch your competitors.

  25. Nathan, interesting article. I am interested in hearing about your experience with Pingdom. I recently read a similar article like yours that offers a few ways to quantify total cost of downtime from a risk mitigation perspective. The article mentions uptime monitoring services can be used to assist in calculating risk. For someone who is interested in the analytics that these services offer, in your opinion, does Pingdom offer useful and a sufficient amount of tools?

  26. For plugin in wordpress “WordPress Website Monitoring” is good and for 3rd party website “Pingdom” work best for me.

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