Website Monitoring | Uptime Monitoring | Service Monitoring

This page will be divided between two principle types of uptime or website and service monitoring. The first group of listings will be websites that for free (or a fee) will monitor website uptime, or a service uptime and notify you of an outage. The other listings on this page may be of software that you can install that will do the same. Advantages of software doing the same are that you will not have to pay a monthly subscription, although the disadvantage is that the machine that is running the monitoring software must be up and running with an adequate internet connection. From what I have seen of many services, it may be cheaper if you have a lot of sites to monitor to setup a monitoring solution in a vps of your choosing (preferably at a different data center than your other hosted sites.) The only catch with this is that many of the service do offer other interesting features beyond whether or not a site is up or down.

Many of these services collect and can report uptime data in percentages of uptime, average web site response times, some even go so far as doing SEO monitoring and reporting as well, indicating how you rank for various keywords in the main search engines.

Free Website Monitoring Services

There are many services that offer some level of free website monitoring however most of these will only offer free monitoring for a limited number of websites (between 1 and 5) and will have some restrictions on how frequently the sites are checked.

Montastic – I have used them for quite some time – Free for one site, around $10 a month for about 15 sites (and more frequent monitoring). Higher level package for more. Email notifications – rss feeds as well. Other than that, it’s a basic up/down check. – link popularity and uptime monitoring. Currently in beta – looking to keep a free service level when they’re out of beta. – for free – monitor 2 web sites at every hour or longer. Multiple price points and packages based on the number of sites to monitor. – looks to allow simple up down monitoring of several sites for free. It says every 15 minutes – I haven’t found it in my logs as of yet. (sister of – offers more advanced features including blacklist lookup for mailservers (great idea…) – Pricing is based on credits and credits are used per frequency of monitoring and whether or not it’s a blacklist lookup for single domain or multiple. – they look to be free for 5 monitors – have nice graphing of previous query responsiveness. This could be good for monitoring whether a particular domain needs to be upgraded or move servers. I’m not sure that they’re limited to 5 monitors – I have 12 that are currently updating info – but I am being nagged to upgrade to monitis. One thing I’ve noticed with the free monitoring is the statistics seem to be lost when I close the browser. Maybe it’s just me, but that may be the free limitation.

Monitis – is the pay service related to above – pricing will depend on the number of sites monitored, frequency and other variables. Plans from $9 a month – for 8 external monitors – although customized plans are possible with configurable numbers of monitors. – Plans starting from around $5/month. Number of services monitored and frequency of checks are a trade off, you could monitor 10 services very infrequently at this rate, or 1 very frequently at this price level. They can monitor a number of services in addition to just web monitoring. – free trial – single site monitoring from $10 month with keyword checking as well. (Discount if paying by the year). – they have a quick check on their main page which can be used for free to quickly check the status of a site. Pricing plans vary – 5 sites for $5/month – around 20 sites for $30/month. Discounts for paying quarterly, yearly or for 3 years.

Website or Service Monitoring Software

Given that I use linux primarily, most of the software options that I will list are primarily linux related. Yes, there are probably options for windows. I may list some here, but right now I don’t know of any to list. One of the catches is that under linux there are more ways to do service monitoring than can be listed. I have in the past scripted basic bash scripts to check a web page, make certain that it responds and has some expected text on the page (such as the page title or perhaps the footer) and then change a status icon to green if it’s up or red if it’s down. This is well and good for one off, or a handful of monitoring tasks, but when you start having a long list of 30 or so…. it can be a bit hard to deal with.

One of the advantages with the scripting it yourself approach is that you truly can customize it specifically to your needs, but why reinvent the wheel. There are several remarkable monitoring applications or linux. This will not be a complete list:

Nagios – Enterprise class, open source monitoring – many plugins for monitoring of events and alerts – web interface with graphing. Lot’s of features, lots of things that can be monitored, with or without software installed on the remote monitored hosts.

Mon – can run on the same machine as the monitored service and restart it if it’s not running. Also can send alerts (email) – other alerts (configurable as well – you can create your own alerts).

zabbix – enterprise class, open source monitoring.

Argus – Less expansive than the enterprise class options, still fairly flexible with what can be monitored and the alerts that can be raised. Web interface – extensible.

Munin – web interface – open source



More details on some of the services listed above may be found in the following subpages:    Send article as PDF   

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