This short how-to will get you started with HostTracker, a simple but effective way to monitor the health of your web site
Step 1: Add a “contact”
This is the notification channel. I used “email” , but you can have SMS, Viber, Skype, or even HTTP Posts, to handle the notification with your own web service.
Step 2: Add a “check”
To check that a web page is up, use a “web site check (http)”. In the basic options you will define the URL of your site, and the interval of the checks.
Step 3: Advanced options – Content check
In the advanced options, you have the field “content check”. Make sure to use it to verify that the page you’re GETting contains some string that is expected in the live version of the page. This will verify that the site is behaving as expected. Some malfunctioning might result in some error page, that still looks like a valid response to an automated life check. If you look for a specific piece of content, your level of confidence in the check will be higher.
Step 4: Advanced options – Preferred region
HostTracker is great: it lets you decide from which region your requests should be executed. You should pick the regions that are closes to your target audience. If you have a global audience, I suggest you pick the region closest to the datacenter that hosts the site.
Step 5: intentionally take down your site (optional)
If you have the luxury of taking down the site without hurting your audience (before launching the site, or as a “scheduled maintenance”) , you will be able to actually verify that the notifications are getting to the right place.
If you don’t have this luxury, go back to step 3 and add an incorrect content check. This will result in a failed check, and subsequent notification.