Monitor the Up-time of Your Site with These Powerful Plugins

You face a lot of challenges in keeping your website running at all times. These challenges may start from a down server and end on interrupted hosted email systems – making you helpless in that particular situation. While you may rely on your email or website to simply continue working properly, you must also opt for an Up-time monitoring tool to keep an eye on your website 24/7. This tool is necessary for two basic reasons: Firstly, to get notified in a timely manner ; secondly, to resolve the issue as soon as possible, without suffering much loss and business credibility. 

The good thing is that there are a variety of premium as well as free tools for up-time monitoring. In this article, we will be discussing some of these tools in detail and will also learn the basic reasons why a website goes down, ways to manually monitor the website up-time and most importantly about some powerful plugins that simply automate the up-time monitoring process to help you stay stress-free.

What is Up-time Monitoring ?

Up-time monitoring is nothing more than checking your website periodically for any possible problems and ensuring that it is running properly. Manually, this can be done by simply typing your website’s URL and letting it load. However, if you want to go for a more sophisticated option, then letting a third party monitor the up-time of your site is the answer. To check the availability of your site, these services automatically ping the site at regular intervals. The latter is obviously a better and hassle-free option to go with as reliable third-party services or a plugin will regularly monitor your site up-time, even after every one minute or depending on how frequent you would like it to be. Moreover, these services also notify you whenever the site is unavailable or goes down to help you fix the problems. 

Why Are Site Shut Downs a Cause for Concern?

When a site is down for a short period of time, people usually take it easy. However, this can be a source of much more harm than than it apparently appears to be. Some of these harmful impacts are as follows:

  • You lose new users permanently: When a new user visits your site and it appears as unavailable, it creates a negative impact and gives the impression that the site is down permanently, causing the user to not come back again. Moreover, users may share these experiences through tweets, social posts or feedback, which again makes a bad impact on your business credibility. Moreover, if your site is down, your visitors are unable to raise service related queries or even place orders – causing you to lose money down the line.
  • You lose regular users: If your site goes down frequently or even once, you lose reliability and confidence of your regular users, making them reluctant to share personal information and leading them to stop investing their time on your site.
  • Search Engines stop considering your site: If your site shuts down at the same time as a search engine bot analyses your website, or if this has happened frequently enough, chances are your site will not be indexed in popular search consoles such as Google or Bing. The bot considers such sites as permanently unavailable or not reliable enough to be ranked high or even ranked at all. 

All of this might sound like a harsh reality if you have put enough work into getting your site up. And this emphasizes the monitoring of the up-time of your site at all times, even more, to avoid the above-listed consequences by promptly fixing the issues.

Main reasons that cause your site to go down easily and frequently:

Exhausted PHP Memory Limit

If you run a site with too many scripts or plugins than the server can manage, the chances are that your site will go down as soon as the traffic reaches the memory limit. This is because any script or plugin that is in use, including that of your site, needs memory to run correctly. And every time any of these tools get loaded on the site, it consumes PHP memory of the server. Hence, if your hosting company or you have not allocated enough memory to match the size of your site, all the allocated memory may get used up, and that makes your site go offline. The best way to manage this problem is to increase the PHP memory limit, though it shouldn’t be your only course of action.

The Site Is Not Optimized

One common reason of exhausted memory limit is that your site isn’t properly optimized. Optimizing your site comprises keeping only the required plugins, minifying files, compressing images etc. Another associated aspect to this is the site’s cache.

Caching refers to temporarily storing a website’s files in the user’s browser so that they are already available the next time your site’s being loaded. This will make sure that the pages are not loaded from scratch, eventually reducing the memory consumption required while loading the site. Although you might not get this option automatically with WordPress, you can still avail it through many available plugins such as W3 Total, WP Rocket, WP Super Cache etc. To read more about top cache plugins click here.

Another way of bringing down memory consumption is to reduce the images sizes on your site. This will help load your site easily faster and can easily be achieved by an image optimizing plugin.

Your Hosting Company Does Not Match the Site Requirements

This usually happens as most users initially get a hosting plan that works best with small sites having low traffic, but even as the traffic on their website increases, they don’t change the hosting plan. As a result, the old hosting platform fails to meet the memory requirements of the fast-growing site – causing the site to go down again and again.

To handle such a situation, always contact the hosting provider and get an increase of the PHP memory limit. Also, as you continue growing your site, you should consider upgrading the hosting plan with scalable VPS that can be used comfortably unless you get yourself a private server. Remember, whether your site is well-designed and properly optimized or not, if your chosen hosting plan is not scaled to manage your site’s needs, it has greater chances of going down frequently.

A Sudden Influx of Traffic on Your Site

We all aim at getting more and more traffic on our websites, don’t we? But with this, we must also ensure that our server is capable of managing this sudden influx of visitors. Because if not, your site will buckle and the host will shut down the site. You could say that the popularity of your site, in this particular scenario, works against you. However, it isn’t just viral or regular visitors that should concern you. There are some other factors too, that can take down your site.

For instance, if your site is infiltrated by the attempt of a hacker, it counts as traffic. And as hackers can easily automate the process, you can get thousands of such attacks on a daily basis. Moreover, hackers can attack your site externally and with GET requests, and this will still count as traffic.
You may think it’s unlikely that this would happen to your site, but sorry to break it down to you, it is in fact a common scenario.

How to Know If the Site is Down?

​Unfortunately, no one can really know beforehand if the site is about to become unavailable. Even the big names such as Twitter and Facebook have reported outages multiple times.
So what is the solution for this?
​Except for visiting your site, there are some ways to check the site response time manually, and by sending a ping. This is not only a good approach to confirm if the site is down because of some technical issue such as an interrupted connection, but it is also a good starting point to troubleshoot the issues that your site may be facing. To use the ping for Mac OS X, all you need to do is to go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal. In the case of Windows, press the Windows button on your keyboard along with the ‘R’ key simultaneously. Then in the run window, type ‘cmd’ and click OK.
Once loaded, enter the following line;
“ping google.com”

On Mac OS X, you will have to stop pinging the entered site manually and by entering command ‘C’ on the keyboard simultaneously, but to get a clear sample, let it run for about 10 minutes. Because of being a reliable site, you can ping Google at first and then compare it with your site later. However, if the ping does not result in errors, this means that Google is not down and is able to send out data perfectly. But if you do get an error, try to access it on your browser. If it is accessible, try again. But if it does not work, check the settings and internet connection to make sure the issue is not at your end.
In some cases, pinging Google may go off without any hitch and you can then ping your own site;
“ping your_site.com”

[Don’t forget to change your_site.com to the real URL of your site.]
If you do it and find no error in the results, it means your site is perfectly healthy and running. But if you do receive an error which states that your site cannot be pinged successfully, your site is definitely down for all and is unresponsive.

If you notice the milliseconds average round-up is higher than 12 ms, this means that your site may be having some issues. This should be taken as the first sign for troubleshooting requirements, and to avoid further issues, especially when your site is still easily accessible. While there may be other possible reasons for the slow ping, one of them could be inefficient scripts and plugins or unoptimized images.
This is only one valid way of checking the uptime of your site but it is not an effective or consistent approach unless you continue pinging your site 24/7 and keep implementing some troubleshooting measures. It is by no means a fun or practical way of monitoring your site’s uptime. But luckily, we have some other ways to automate more practical checks and that is through using some powerful plugins.

Plugins to Monitor Site Uptime Automatically

The below discussed are the best automatic plugins available to monitor the uptime of your. All of these plugins are not only updated but also maintained regularly in order to ensure your site’s success and quality. You can avail either the premium or free option depending on the requirements of your site. While not all of these plugins might work with Multisite, they are the best options to go for when it comes to single or network WordPress installations.

Jetpack is a free plugin offered by WordPress. This has a lot of services including the one that monitors the uptime of your site and notifies you through email, in case the site is unavailable or restored again.
To use this plugin along with all the features, you will need to have a WordPress account, although it is free to use and can be installed easily via WordPress’ official website or the plugin directory of your website.

This plugin comes with many features including restores, backups, uptime monitoring and multiple site management. But not all of these features are available for free, and if you want to avail the feature of uptime monitoring for your site, you will have to upgrade to their subscription – business plan.
Once you upgrade to their subscription, you will be eligible to receive both SMS and email messages whenever your site goes down. You are assured to remain informed at all times.  ManageWP is a trusted plugin and is widely used by owners of WordPress websites.

SensorPress also notifies you through email and works by pinging your site after every 15 minutes. The plugin comes with a few configurable options and a simple user interface. The plugin does not offer many features but the features that it does offer, perform well.
For installation and use, the plugin does not need an API key or account.
While a 15-minute check is perfect for freelancers and businesses, it is also an excellent option for smaller or personal sites.

This plugin checks the uptime of your site with 5-minute intervals. The plugin is free to use up to fifty sites, and also offers notifications through Twitter, email, push or webhook in case your site is down.
However, if you want to receive SMS notification or require monitoring of more than 50 sites, then you must opt for their premium plan. Whether you avail the premium or the free version, you do not need any account or sign up to use the plugin. In addition, you also get the option to either show the up-time stats on your site by means of short codes or you may choose to view these statistics on the dashboard instead.

To use this plugin, you need to create an account and sign up for their premium subscription. The plugin is best to monitor one or more than one site, subject to the chosen plan. It sends notifications through SMS or email in case of the site’s unavailability. No matter which plan you decide is fit for your site’s needs, all the features of the plugin including performance monitoring, testing in one-minute intervals, Google Analytics integration, and downtime history, is made available to you.

This is another paid-for plugin. To avail the features of this plugin, you are required to sign up for an account and get their premium subscription. Once you are done with that, you can avail uptime monitoring services along with timely notifications for when your site goes down. The plugin makes it very easy to analyze your site’s overall performance.
InterVista is different from all the other plugins we’ve discussed here in the sense that it gives you an option to choose how you’d like to receive notifications and also decide the frequency at which you’d like your website to be checked.
For notifications, you may go with Twitter, email or SMS, and for the frequency, you may choose anything from one minute to even sixty minutes’ time slot. While this is one of the most costly plugins, it justifies that by offering exceptional services.

Summing Up

Once you’ve selected and installed any of these plugins, you’ll be able to tell if your current hosting service is actually working for you, and if there are other changes you need to bring to your website to avoid downtime.
If you’re serious about growing your site’s traffic, it is absolutely essential for you to keep an eye on its uptime and make sure you’re not losing any visitors as a result of your site being unavailable. And automating this process of monitoring your site’s uptime will help you a great deal in doing that!

November 28, 2017

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