What I Googled: free website outage alert system
Why I Googled it: I tried to visit my website (this one) to write a new post when I realized I couldn’t access the site (admin or otherwise). I then checked the other two domains I host, both of which were also unavailable. I checked downforeveryoneorjustme to confirm that it was truly down (which it was).
After I submitted a ticket to my web host, I realized that as a responsible website admin, I should have a way to know if the site is experiencing issues before my visitors find out.
What I found out: There are several services that will monitor a domain for free and alert you if the site becomes unavailable. I found the following:
- Basic State (http://basicstate.com). Free account includes 10 “credits” for domain monitoring. Each domain you set up uses 2 credits for 15-minute incremental monitoring with email alerts. Other features, like SMS and more frequent check intervals, also require credits.
- Pingability (https://pingability.com). Free account includes monitoring for a single domain for a total of 750 checks (quick math: 24 hourly checks for 31 days equals 744 checks). Email alerts only.
- Pingdom (http://www.pingdom.com).
- Site Down Alert (http://www.sitedownalert.com). Free account includes monitoring for a single domain every 30 or 60 minutes with email alerts.
The takeaway: I decided to try Basic State first since the service offers the most flexibility for free.
One thing to keep in mind if you choose to use a domain monitoring service: be sure to use an email that isn’t tied to your website. When I first configured my services, I used the email address associated with my website. Which means, in the event the site goes down, no mail will get through either. Whoops. I quickly realized my mistake and changed the alerting email address to my Gmail account.