The following is a guest post by: Dirk Paessler, founder/CEO, Paessler AG (www.paessler.com)
Every website owner understands the need to keep a close eye on their site to ensure peak performance and uptime, and thankfully, network monitoring technologies make this task relatively simple. The challenge arises in determining what exactly needs to be monitored. You want to ensure no red flags are being overlooked, while also trying not to overwhelm yourself with tending to every minor issue that doesn’t pose a significant threat.
The key here is proactive website monitoring. This ensures that, instead of reacting to issues, you’re actively seeking them out to keep them happening in the first place. Based on the nature of one’s business, the website owner can decide exactly what items need to be monitored. But there are ten general indicators that every website owner should keep an eye on. These are as follows:
1. Uptime – Monitoring the availability of your website is the single most important part of website monitoring. You should constantly check the uptime of your key pages from different locations.
2. Website Visitors – Regularly checking the number of visitors to your website helps you to assess the loads your website has to stand and to forecast trends for the future. If the number of visitors is constantly rising, you might have to upgrade your web servers. A sharp fall in visitors can draw your attention to problems with your web site.
3. Website Load Tolerance – Do you know how many visitors it takes to considerably slow down your website? Regularly run stress tests and compare the results to your visitor numbers at peak times. Keep in mind if your company is mentioned in the news or runs an aggressive marketing campaign, visitor numbers are likely to escalate. Don’t lose all those visitors just because your website cannot handle them.
4. Page Speed – Internet users are impatient. If your website does not load fast enough, they’ll be gone before they even got a glimpse of your site. You can check your website’s speed using Ping requests. This measures the time it takes from your location until the website starts loading. And you can check loading time measurements, which measures the time it takes to download the source code of a web page.
5. Error Messages – Check your most important pages for errors, e.g. get an alert if the string “404 Error” is included in the source code.
6. Geographic Performance – Check your website’s availability and speed from different locations. This is especially important if you are a globally active company, or if your clients come from different parts of the world. But even if you are a local business, you can only benefit from being easily visible to a worldwide audience.
7. Full Page Load Time – Although Ping and simple loading time tests give you a feeling for your website speed, they do not tell you how long it takes to load a page completely in a web browser. It’s important to measure the time it takes to download the page including all embedded page elements, such as Flash content, images, etc.
8. Your Web Servers’ Free Disk Space – Log files, database entries, video and photo uploads, and the likes create a lot of data on your web servers. To avoid errors and data losses, keep an eye on your free disk space.
9. Broken Links – Use an online link-checking tool to find broken links on your site. Options range from on-demand tools that give you a quick overview of your broken links to more advanced link checkers that will run periodically and notify you whenever a broken link is found.
10. Website Quality – In addition to monitoring and testing your websites automatically, regularly review your websites manually for spelling errors, outdated content and overall quality.
About the Author
Dirk Paessler, CEO of Paessler AG, is an engineer, entrepreneur, computer networking professional and software guru. To learn more about Dirk and his expertise in network monitoring, visit his blog at http://www.paessler.com/blog.