(Last Updated On: March 7, 2018)

Website monitoring or web performance monitoring is essentially analysing and monitoring a website’s performance. The assessment entails checking a website’s loading speeds and speed consistency, rendition across a range of devices (screen sizes), downtimes, etc. Proper website performance leads to good user experience, which adds to a website’s SEO. A website that doesn’t load properly or takes its sweet time to render completely would eventually hurt itself. Particularly business websites that primarily depend on customer footfalls (virtual) and sales are sensible. That is why, we are launching our new service Monitoring.me – the tool that helps you analyse your website performance at all times.

Background of website performing monitoring

Discussing website monitoring without throwing light on website performance optimisation (WPO) would be criminal. As aforementioned, site monitoring is everything that lends to or enhances a user’s experience on a particular website. This may sound breaching SEO territory, which is true to an extent. But WPO is a lot more than SEO. WPO also enhances user experience, augments revenue and decreases operating expenses.

The general perception is that loading speed is among the important aspects of a site’s overall performance. But the proponents of WPO claim speed is not just another feature but a huge necessity. People don’t like to use applications that take their own time to load. With empirical studies proving this fact, WPO started gaining prominence and popularity within the community. With this rise in interest, it became imperative for firms to better detect, assess, measure and oversee website performance for establishing clear metrics and determining things that need optimisation. Consequently, a range of website performance monitoring practices and tools have sprung up.

Functionality and Features

Several modern website performance monitoring tools are browser- and cloud-based, letting software engineers to inspect their website’s performance from any place and at any time. A trait common to these tools is 24/7 or continuous monitoring. It can push automatic SMS or email alerts whenever important indicators deviate from established optimal levels.

However, for WPO, these tools could also carry out detailed diagnostics of a website and analyse user experience (UX). Ascertaining where users happen to click the most, the way the page elements get displayed, and how a particular website loads and renders in multiple web browsers. Those are just a few factors of user experience. With monitoring software offering such insights, developers would be better equipped to improve a site’s code, streamline user experience, and enhance web page load times.

Purpose of monitoring

Unlike SEO, which focuses on both the user and search engine’s experience, website performance monitoring is primarily for humans. In other words, how the users perceive your site matters the most.

Taking this aspect into account, one among the primary distinctions website optimisation and monitoring claim is the focus on page-load time and response time. On the technical front, both these terms have different connotations. However, within a specific website’s context, response time is the time it takes a page’s individual elements to appear. Page-load time, on the other hand, denotes the downloading and displaying of the whole page, which includes its scripts, HTML documents, embedded objects, and style sheets.

Making this distinction is pertinent because aspects of a website that users don’t focus much on would not affect user experience. If the elements of a web page do not load, but that does not significantly impact a user’s experience on the site, then those elements truly don’t matter. This is provided the most useful and essential aspects (for a particular user) of a website show up quickly enough.

Types of Monitoring and Testing

There are different ways to monitor and examine a website’s performance. The following are the most common methods:

• External Monitoring

External monitoring lets you oversee all the web resource parameters. This includes uptime monitoring, full page monitoring, synthetic transaction monitoring (web page functionality), web stress testing, real user monitoring (number of users) and API monitoring.

• Internal Monitoring

Internal monitoring is local network monitoring. It can do everything that external monitoring can, in addition to local device performance monitoring such as monitoring server CPU, drive and memory utilisation, bandwidth exhausted by network interfaces, status of active server services, various system processes, etc.

• Uptime Monitoring

Then there is also something called uptime monitoring that entails regular checking of a website’s availability and responsiveness. When a page isn’t available, it signifies your business going offline temporarily. Therefore you need to deal with dissatisfied customers and reduced sales. With this monitoring feature, you would be the first to know about issues relating to your website so that you can react promptly. There are multiple protocols such as HTTP, PING, HTTPS, DNS, TCP, FTP, SIP, UDP, etc. that could be used to monitor uptime.

• Full Page Load Monitoring

Generally, web users’ perception of load time is actually 15 percent slower than what the real number is. Even a few seconds of having to wait for the page to load may seem like a minute or two to average users. With the increasing demand for speed, just being atop the various aspects of your website’s performance isn’t sufficient. It is equally important to know the elements that are causing trouble. Load monitoring tools such as Monitis can provide load time data on every element, every hour. A complete report on the resources would instantly detect the reason for failure if a web page isn’t loading when expected.

• Synthetic Transaction Monitoring

Synthetic transaction monitoring helps e-commerce platforms that typically should provide service round-the-clock. Starting from a customer visiting your site and ending with the buyer checking out, it’s important all the steps that are part of the process are completed well. Otherwise, losing potential buyers and revenue would be hard to mitigate. Synthetic transaction monitoring helps regularly inspect and carry out the same actions as users.

The tool employs a predefined script to execute actions identical to real users. A script can be easily recorded using a transaction recorder and a monitor can be set up to use the recorded script. A custom script can be sought from external service providers, who would document and upload script on your behalf within 48 hours. Certain intricate scripts, however, could take longer.

The script would emulate website transaction flow and inspect each step for functionality. The loading time for each action or step can be chosen and if the duration is more than what’s predefined, the monitor would alert you accordingly. The alert notification would present all required data, such as the cause of alert, page screen shot at the time of failure, and the step where the script failed.

Such synthetic monitoring would usually let you run the script every five minutes. And multi-location access is also there for such monitoring, letting you maintain control from any part of the world.

• Page Load Testing

A web page usually functions as planned until it’s not overloaded. To comprehend a web page’s average acceptable load, load testing can be done. This stress test places a predetermined load on the site to exhibit how it performs under unusual scenarios. For example, a web stress test could entail asking several thousand users to visit a website or its page within a span of a few minutes. If the site doesn’t break down and manages to carry the load, then that speaks volumes about its stability.

• Real User Monitoring (RUM)

Real user monitoring or RUM amasses information from real users to provide insight into a website’s performance. In other words, RUM lets you oversee real users’ interactions with your site to ascertain how quickly your users were able to access various pages on your site, errors (if any), and what troubleshooting approaches to take. RUM collects user data from a website’s page views, load time, etc.

How Does Monitoring.me Help You?

• Lets You Keep a Tab on Downtime

Website downtime is no real drawback. Almost every other website would face downtime issues at least a couple of times during its lifetime. Things, however, get bad if a website stays down for more than a few minutes and the owner has no clue about it. Fortunately, a site monitoring service would notify you of the problem right away. You can make sure the website goes up again as soon as possible. Therefor most of your visitors don’t get to experience the break in service.

• Facilitates Communication with Customers

Imagine your website is down due to a major issue and rectifying the problem would take time. You can then communicate it to your customers through email or on your site’s social media pages. Consequently the customers know that the site owners are aware and working on resolving the problem. This upfront communication would uphold your company’s reputation and ensure even hours of no service would not dent your company’s prospects.

• Helps Retain Customers

A slow website is never the ideal experience, and that is even if you’re site is not directly selling anything. Content-rich websites that make money primarily through advertisements should also load and render as quickly as possible. Web monitoring ensures you know every time your website loses speed. You won’t lose customers as well as potential sales and profits. Most web hosting service providers offer 99 percent uptime guarantee. This may sound excellent but in reality it means almost four days of downtime every year. And if those four days happen to be when your site is running a major promotion, the downtime could cost you dear.

What Does Hosting.co.uk Offer?

Hosting.co.uk offers a range of website-related services, and website monitoring is a major part of its service portfolio. There are four different kinds of monitoring plans: uptime monitoring, full page load monitoring, server and VPS monitoring, and custom monitoring. The first plan starts at as low as £0.60 per month. For that price, you get multi-location monitoring, downtime notifications, etc.

The other three plans are only marginally pricier at £3.60 per month. These plans obviously offer a lot more features and functionalities for the money. The full page load monitoring plan times an entire web page’s load and displays sequentially how the different objects (images, JavaScript, CSS, etc.) load. Server & VPS monitoring tool monitors the fundamental metrics of your dedicated server or VPS. And the custom monitoring tool, as the name indicates, comes with an open API that provides unlimited choices and the ability to monitor any website metric.

We offer real-time views in the form of reports and charts; history monitoring; regular checking intervals (not more than a minute); shared monitoring and shared reports; more than 30 strategic monitoring locations; and seamless integration with external tools.