How many times a day do you check your website is working? These website uptime monitors check the status of your website up to 96 times per day and send you an email or even an SMS when the site goes down.
A lot of webmasters are happy to trust the reliability figures quoted by their hosting company but using an uptime monitor is a great way to check you really are getting what you pay for. These tools are also great for testing out a potential new host before you switch – find a site thats using the host you want to test and run the uptime monitor on that rather than your own.
Although it doesn’t look like the best designed website my personal favourite is the Basic State service. It’s totally free and checks a range of stats every 15 minutes, all day, every day. At the end of each day it sends a summary and also sends an email if your site ever goes down.
Basic State even plots graphs of your data so you can see whether your host is performing better or worse over time. Thanks to Tim from SEO Leeds for tipping me off about this.
Next on the list is Host Tracker which offers to ping your site every 30 minutes if you use the free account and up to every minute on the Pro package. It also allows you to receive error notifications both to your Email, ICQ, GTalk or cell-phone via SMS and has a 30 day free trial so you can test before you buy.
http://mon.itor.us is one of the better designed services and is a spin off from monitis.com which is a very cool performance research and web analytics company offering charts and graphs of pretty much every aspect of your website. The graphs can even be embedded in your iGoogle homepage. The AJAX dashboard of mon.itor.us is well designed and the system offers visitor tracking as well as uptime monitoring & alerts.
Another service offering a free basic level package with the ability to upgrade to a premium service is Site Uptime. With multiple monitoring servers around the world they promise to test your site every 30 minutes (free version) and every 5 minutes if you upgrade to the Advanced Plan at a reasonable $10 per month.
Finally we come to Pingdom, which is probably the most advanced tool and isn’t actually a free solution. However they do offer a 30 day free trial so I decided to include them in this list. Pingdom is a more advanced service and they are a perfect way to test out a new host, simply use their free trial for the first month to see if your hosting is working as expected and then cancel your account. Or, if you really like them, upgrade to a paid account.
Pingdom gets bonus marks for having a really useful free tool to check how fast a website loads.