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Monitoring and downtime alerts

One of the most important aspects of owning a server is necessity to monitor and maintain it's stability. Early issue detection can help you react faster and prevent massive downtime, in turn making your clients happier and increasing profitability.

There are several performance indicators to keep in check. You can track hardware stats like CPU usage, Average loads, RAM usage, disk space, disk health and so on. You can also track the availability of the services and ports.

Here we will give a brief description of several tools we and our clients use for monitoring.

Uptimerobot

Uptimerobot is a free and easy to use tool for Monitoring web services.

For basic needs free version is more than enough, it will allow you to monitor and receive alerts on:

  • Web page accessibility
  • Ping test results
  • Accessibility of a certain port (could be used to monitor device ports or services like SMTP, DNS, POP)
  • Presence of a specified key-word on a web-page

Main benefit of Uptimerobot is its simplicity. Service can be operated by anyone almost regardless of IT skills. You also do not need your own SMTP server to receive alerts.

Another noticeable feature is the ability to create a publicly available dashboard that can be hosted on your own domain. Link can then be placed on your site or given to customers so they could see current status at any time.

Paid version of the service also has some interesting features - e.g. SSL certificate checks + certificate expiration notifications as well as SMS notifications.

AWS CloudWatch

CloudWatch is built-in AWS service that collects various operational metrics and logs from your AWS instances and provides you with a unified view of AWS resources, applications, and services.

CloudWatch requires more setup than uptimerobot but it can be accessed directly from your AWS console. you just need to select the instance you want to monitor and click on the Monitoring tab.

Tab will contain only basic Monitoring features and quick alert rule review/ creation. If you would like to track more resources you will need to go into detailed mode. There you will be able to fine tune your service as well as create a convenient dashboard to see all of the important information in one place.

Service can also notify you or your tech team by email if any parameter goes out of set range. Your own SMTP server is not required.

Zabbix

Zabbix is also a free but very powerful tool that can monitor both various server resources and web-page accessibility.

Unlike other services mentioned, Zabbix has to be installed on a separate server which makes setup a lot more advanced. In turn, such method of system deploy makes Zabbix suitable for monitoring servers that have restricted or no access to the internet.

Configuration has 2 steps:

  1. Installing and configuring Zabbix server instance
  2. Installing and configuring Zabbix monitor services on servers you want to track

Once that is done - you can track pretty much anything from basic staff like amount of RAM usage, CPU loads and disk space to more specific options like MySQL status, variable values and performance.

We highly recommend to use several features at once - e.g. UptimeRobot and Zabbix as it gives you the most control, one external tool for customers and one internal, powerful engine for internal work.

These are our favorites, you may choose any other service that suits you. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from online.

If you would like assistance with setup of any of the services listed above - we would be glad to help you. Please contact your Navixy account manager for more details and requirements.

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