When considering all of the important factors in managing your WordPress site, there are many different facets to keeping your website in front of as many people as possible. The single most important feature in that regard is uptime. If your site has a lot of intermittent or extended periods of downtime, then your customers cannot view your site or purchase your products. Uptime can be directly linked to profit and loss and the overall success of your business; it’s because of this that uptime is given its high level of importance.
What is Uptime and why is it so important?
Uptime is the time your website is able to be viewed by anyone navigating to your site. Whether that’s from a link, Google, or because they have the URL saved as a favourite. For obvious reasons it’s important to keep your website up as much as possible, you may be experiencing downtime whilst you are not monitoring the site, so if your site goes down in the middle of the night, you may not realise, but your customers might and that might mean the loss of sales or readership which in turn hurts your bottom line. However, did you know that search engines like Google also monitor your site’s up and down times and will adjust how well you appear in searches accordingly.
What can cause Downtime?
Some of the simplest things can bring a site down. Most commonly a site will go down due to excess traffic; which may sound like a good thing, but if your site has to manage too many visitors, it can place extra load on the web servers. The usual response from the servers, if there are sudden spikes in traffic numbers, is to shut down to stop the servers from getting overloaded and in turn reducing the speed at which your site runs. This would dramatically decrease the user satisfaction for your site if it’s slow and clunky.
Other causes include maintenance, hackers, your Host Company or coding problems. This is why we recommend regular maintenance during off-peak times, regular security checks and updates to deter hackers, and ensuring your site is free of code malfunctions. There are many other factors that can affect your site’s uptime, including as well any domain expirations or law enforcement intervention, these tend to be rarer incidents though.
How do I monitor my site’s Uptime/Downtime?
There are many different ways to effectively monitor uptime and downtime, there are HTTP Tests, Ping Tests, Plugins and monitoring services. The different features and services can be confusing and you would be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the choices. When it comes to monitoring uptime, the host company you chose for your site should be guaranteed at least a 99.9% uptime and the way to monitor whether you are receiving that is through a plugin or service.
Monitoring the site is easy, the plugin or service you choose will simply check your site at intervals chosen by your, be it seconds, minutes or hours and if your site should go down, the service or plug will notify either data logs that send you notifications or notify you directly depending on the service or plugin and its features.
What is Pingdom?
Pingdom is a popular choice for monitoring websites around the world. Pingdom offers a range of tracking products from monitoring server uptimes to page speed and transitions. Creating your free account is easy and from the moment your account is created Pingdom will run checks across your site and you can set up how often those checks run, and where your notifications go to. You can elect to receive push notifications or emails and for the premium uses, SMS alerts are also available; meaning you can literally monitor your site from anywhere without lifting a finger.
You can also monitor your site from anywhere in the world, and depending on the package you choose, monitor and analyse your site performance up and down times and your set key metrics for evaluating your site.
How much does Pingdom cost?
Depending on your needs Pingdom has basic, standard, advanced and professional packages that range from $10 a month to $200 and offer a swathe of different options and add-ons. Pingdom does offer a selection of free tools however these are rather small and limited in their use and application. If it means you know immediately when your site is down so that you can minimise your losses, the $10 a month for the basic package doesn’t seem so bad when you compare it to potential losses from site downtime.
The starter package is great for small sites with low traffic, around the 100,000 users per month size. It is best to have a look at their pricing on their site to choose the right package for your needs.
How do I install Pingdom on my WordPress site?
Installing the Pingdom software is super easy, so easy, you don’t actually install anything. Running Pingdom is done from your Pingdom account, not from your website.
Simply log into your account at https://my.pingdom.com. From here there are two ways to create the Uptime Check. From the Dashboard, select the “Add uptime check” button or by going through the Monitoring and Uptime menu options and selecting Add New.
A new window will pop up and you will need to complete the options. Start with a name for your check. This should describe what the check does in succinct details so you can differentiate it from the other checks. Then you can set your interval using the onscreen slider. Every minute should provide you with the most detailed notifications and will make sure you will know exactly when your site is down, minimising your downtime.
Select the Web tab, and then select the HTTP(S) check. From here all you need is your website URL and then select whether to check plain or HTTPS. You will then select the regional server to probe from and you can also add tags to your check to make them easier to find in the reporting lists.
You will see an option for using IPv6. Selecting this box will prevent monitoring of IPv4 sites and if you wish to monitor both types of sites, simply set up two separate checks. You can change the settings in the Optional tab, however, bear in mind these are set from the Required tab. Once you have completed all the fields you wish to and made the appropriate amendments, you can save your Check and you are good to set up your alerts.
From the left menu select Users and Teams and then Users. With Pingdom, Users have the ability to both login and receive alerts, whereas Contacts are only able to receive alerts. Creating alerts is simple, and if you are the only user in the account, you would have set this up during sign up, but if you want to check the alert, amend it or set up alerts for contacts, this is the screen you want. Simply complete the name, details for important and not so important checks, and select Save. You can select the checkbox to use the same alert regardless of importance if you like, it just means you’ll get alerts to the one place for both.
Now you can go back to your Monitoring and Uptime checks menu and select the check you would like to set up the alerts for. Click to edit the check and scroll down the new window to Alert settings. Set the importance of the check itself, so if this is your website, you want to know ASAP that it’s down, so set it to High Importance. If the check is for a non-critical site then you would set it to Low Importance. You will need to then select the appropriate options for who to alert, any delays in alerting, if you would like alerts to be resent and if you would like to be alerted when the check is back up again. Now you are all set up, sit back and let Pingdom monitor your site for you.
Your site should be up and running and available to your customers at any time of the day or night and throughout the course of the year. Having a reliable monitoring system in place helps keep your site operational and your customers happy; keeping your business running. If you run into any trouble, please let us know, the WPEZI team are happy to provide WordPress support, whether you are a regular customer or it’s a one-off issue. Contact us via live chat today, it’s just in the bottom corner.