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Server Monitoring

Server Monitoring

As the owner of a VPS server or dedicated server it will be important for you to be sure that you are receiving good value for money from your web hosting company, especially if you have spent a lot on your dedicated web hosting service; one of the main ways of doing this is to monitor your server because one of the most important features of a dedicated web hosting service is the uptime offered and if you aren’t being provided with a sufficient level of uptime then you can argue that you aren’t receiving good value for money.

There are many third-party companies that have sprouted up offering server monitoring services and it is recommended that you use an off-site, third-party monitoring provider as this will offer you an unbiased view on how reliable your VPS server or dedicated server is; however, these do cost extra which is why you may simply wish to use the server monitoring tools that are provided by your web hosting company.

For the most part the main point of server monitoring services is to notify you of any downtime that may occur so that you can take action to bring your server back online if it has crashed or is unavailable for whatever reason; most services will provide you with the option to be contacted in a number of different ways because for most the case is that you won’t always be sat at your computer and able to access emails which is why you also choose to be notified via SMS if your server is unavailable.

Why should I consider server monitoring?

Server monitoring can benefit businesses in many ways and is recommended for businesses that have invested a significant amount of money in their own server infrastructures or have spent a lot on dedicated web hosting services. The main benefits available through server monitoring include:

  • Notification of downtime – if your server does happen to become unreachable for whatever reason then most server monitoring services will notify you of the downtime so that you are able to take the necessary steps to bring your VPS server or dedicated server back online – if you’re sat at your computer then you can rely on email notifications to tell you if your server is unreachable and this will allow you to contact your web hosting provider’s support team there and then, but if you are away from the computer then you can always opt to receive SMS notifications when your server becomes unreachable so that you still have the option to contact your web hosting support team – it should be noted that some server monitoring services have a feature that will allow you to opt to have your web hosting provider contacted in the event of downtime so that they can take the necessary actions to bring your server back online without the need for any input from yourself
  • Value for money – if your dedicated web hosting plan comes with an uptime guarantee then you will want to be sure that you are receiving good value for money, especially if you have chosen a web hosting service that comes with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) – a server monitoring service will provide you with an uptime summary at the end of each month, which will detail the period of time for which your server has been online and will give you a percentage that you can then compare against the uptime guarantee provided by your web hosting company – if you have an SLA in place and the level of uptime provided doesn’t meet the SLA then you could be entitled to compensation, depending on the exact details of the SLA
  • Cost in relation to benefits – for the most part, server monitoring services are relatively inexpensive to purchase and you aren’t tied into any contract meaning that you can always cancel at any time if you no longer have a use for them – this low cost in relation to the benefits that are to be had from using a server monitoring service mean that justifying the cost should be easy for any user of dedicated web hosting, whether they be an individual or business.

How reliable are server monitoring services?

Some people may choose to call into question the reliability of some server monitoring services as different services will use different monitoring techniques meaning that the outcome of the monitoring over a certain period, i.e. a month, may differ between the different server monitoring services that are available. Most server monitoring companies allow you to purchase services based on the monitoring intervals, with most allowing checking intervals of 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes; obviously the more often a server is checked, the greater the validity of the results that are provided.

The methods used by some server monitoring services may also affect the reliability of results; for example, if a company is simply going to be pinging port 80 of the server then this doesn’t mean that other vital services on the server are going to be running, thus rendering the results useless as it would mean that your server is available, but vital services such as email and DNS could be down. At the end of the day it is important to remember that the shorter the interval in between server checks, the more valid the results provided by your server monitoring service are going to be; however, a shorter interval will cost you more.

In conclusion, server monitoring is an added expense when using dedicated web hosting and is optional, but is recommended if you wish to keep an eye on the uptime of your VPS server so that you can be sure that you are not only receiving good value for money, but that your visitors are always able to access your website. Most server monitoring services will provide you with some sort of notification if they detect that your server is unreachable and this will allow you to take the necessary measures to bring your server back online.

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