Monthly Archives: August 2022

Why We Monitor Your Website 24/7

Management Summary

If your website is down, your visitors will go elsewhere. Lost visitors mean lost business. Here at BlueTree, we monitor all clients’ websites 24/7 to make sure they’re up and running well. We also monitor a few, non-BlueTree, local websites. See Datum_1 to Datum_4 in the charts.

Here is the monitor for the six months to July 2022. Our BlueTree site is hard to see on this chart as it was up all the time during the monitoring period. It’s also the dark red line at zero on the “Number of Incidents” chart, above.

BlueTree hosting uptime compared with other local businesses

More details

Why We Monitor

One morning, a while ago, I tried to visit three local business websites, only to see, “404 page not found”. It was a coincidence, but it made me wonder. Knowing that our clients’ sites are up pretty much 100% of the time, how do others compare?

That’s when we started monitoring a few other websites for local comparison.

We’ve always monitored our own websites, and around 2010 we started checking our clients’ sites too. Things do go wrong, sometimes badly but most events are minor, just a minute or two. Here are a couple of recent major events:

  • in 2017 Firefox and Chrome browsers began to insist web pages be encrypted, with a current SSL Certificate, displaying a warning if not; your BlueTree CMS sites now renew automatically, but certificates did cause problems in the early days; and a few long-term clients, who don’t use our hosting, sometimes fail to renew, even now
  • in June 2021 our ISP suffered a failure that left many servers without an internet connection for several hours. A lot of big company sites went down. Our websites are hosted in another data centre, but several clients lost email access until Open Reach fixed the problem

How We Monitor

Monitoring Software

We use a web service called Uptime Robot. There’s a free option, so you can use it yourself if you want. The free version reports downtimes of 5 minutes or longer. It sends email alerts when it finds problems.

The paid version operates at one-minute intervals and sends text alerts too. It will also check your SSL certificate. Over the years, we’ve spotted several SSL problems for clients.

What We Monitor

We host client sites on leased servers. If a server goes down or loses its connection, all its websites fail. That does happen occasionally when maintenance is planned. These incidents are infrequent, very short, and scheduled in the early hours.

Other failures are website specific. The most common is when a client fails to renew a domain. We’re able to tell them promptly so they can fix the problem.

We monitor our own websites, all clients’ sites, and those of a few, unrelated, local businesses. We chose sites owned by organisations similar to those in our extended “BlueTree family”.

Extracting and Presenting the Data

The monitor displays a list of events like this. These are our datum sites, so we redacted the names.

Uptime Robot monitoring dashboard, showing downtime events and duration

For each “Down” incident, it shows:

  • the down event, flagged in red, the “up-again” in green
  • the domain or IP address
  • date and time the event started
  • duration of downtime
  • duration of subsequent up-time – up to the time of display

At the top right, you can see the words, “Export Logs”, a link that downloads the last six months’ events in a .csv file for spreadsheet analysis.

When There’s a problem

Occasionally, we receive an alert for one of our sites, We find and fix the problem if we can. Where we can’t, or if it takes more than a few minutes, we tell you and explain what’s going on.

In Conclusion

The odd five or fifty minutes down in a month doesn’t seem a big deal, But remember Captain Edward A Murphy, USAF? In 1949 he said, “What can go wrong, will go wrong!”

Who knows? Your best new sales opportunity might choose to visit just when your site has disappeared. You’ll never know, Best to have a site that stays up all the time, if you can.