Free services alert you when your website goes down [I just Googled]

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.

mrmerlot.com is now evercurious

After much debate, mrmerlot.com has moved to its new home here at evercurious. All posts have been ported over and visitors are encouraged to update their bookmarks.

The decision to move is not very glamorous. Mrmerlot.com was set up as a site to offer musings, insights, and repostings from various domains. The moniker “mrmerlot” was originally chosen as a Twitter username and was a convenient domain name. It reflected both the “blend” of topics on the site (as merlot grapes are often blended with other grapes) and as a reflection of the bourgeois nature of the site (as merlot is often sneered at by wine snobs).

However, the name also seemed to erroneously attract Googlers and others looking for a site about wine. This confusion cannot be placed on the user, obviously, so an effort was made to identify a new domain name.

evercurious came out of the realization that the topics posted to the site are a reflection of, and encouragement toward, a curiosity of the world we live in. From technology to education, health to art, entertainment to science, posts steer readers toward things that are changing our world or are being changed by it.

Hopefully this transition goes smoothly. There is no site logo or theme setup as of yet and since there’s no SEO or Google ranking to speak of, there won’t be much that falls through the cracks. Please provide comments or feedback (on this post) about the new site name or what you’d like to see more/less of moving forward.

And, as always, stay curious!