If you have a website for your company, blog or hobby, how do you know that it is working? One way to test it is to log on and check it with a browser, of course, but you cannot constantly monitor it. It might be working when you test it, but what about in between visits? Here are four apps for the iPhone that monitor your websites.
A website monitoring service is designed to check that a website is working and it can do this as often as once a minute, every 10 minutes, every hour or as frequently as you need. It will alert you when your site is not available.
Punchr Page Monitor
Punchr is a simple website monitoring app. You enter the URL of a web page and it then displays it. You are prompted to select an element on the page, such as a title, news story, even the price of a product. This is then saved and Punchr will tell you when that page element has changed. So far, so good and it sounds like a useful tool.
However, it does not have any settings, it doesn’t tell you how often it checks the web page and it doesn’t allow you to set the interval. It works, but it lacks any configuration options, it doesn’t appear to store any historical record, and I find the colour scheme with light grey text on a white background makes my eyes hurt with the strain of trying to read it. This app was deleted after just five minutes on my iPhone.
This app looks more promising and after logging in, which can be done with a Facebook or Twitter account if you want to simplify things, you can then add one or more websites. Monitoring can be turned on or off, and pop-up messages and audio alerts can be enabled or disabled.
Website Alerts, the free version anyway, has options to check the websites every 1, 6 or 12 hours. Although this is a free app, it would be useful to have a few more options. There is a big difference between one and six hour checks, and it would be better if it was configurable with 30 minute increments. The developer’s website mentions charts showing load time and performance, but I have yet to see these, or find where they are in the app. Perhaps they will show up after a day or two after some data has been recorded. I was tempted to keep it, but there are better apps.
This is actually a web service and the app is just a way to access your account. You can’t create an account with the app and the first thing you see is a prompt to sign in with your username and password. Go to the www.site24x7.com website and you can sign up for free. This provides you with the ability to monitor up to five websites every 10 minutes from one location. (Actually you get a full account for 30 days that reverts to a free one if you don’t sign up for a more comprehensive paid service.)
There are lots of features accessible through the website, but here I am just interested in the mobile app. It is pretty good and the home screen is straightforward. There is a plus button to add websites and the sites being monitored as listed. Tapping a website displays the history and you can view daily, weekly, monthly, three or six months. The availability percentage and response time is displayed, and there is a nice chart showing response time.
There is an Outages screen that shows down time and there is the daily, weekly, monthly and so on history views. An email is sent if a problem is discovered.
This is a nice app and if all you want to do is to monitor a few blogs or personal sites, it is very useful. There are paid plans that provide a lot more features, but the free one is fine for my purposes.
Pingdom is another web service and the app is just to enable you to access your account on the go. It isn’t obvious, but there is a free Pingdom account that enables you to monitor a single website. There is more than one way to monitor a website and a simple http request is the quick and easy way to do it. You just enter the website URL and set the time interval, which can be as short as one minute. There are lots of configuration options, reports, and notifications, but you don’t need to enter much to get started.
The app enables you to sign in to your Pingdom account and it displays the list of web servers you are monitoring (only one with a free account, but more with paid accounts). Tap the website and there are four pages of information. There is Outages, Uptime, Response time, and an info page. Statistics can be viewed for the last day, week or month.
I haven’t been running it for very long, but so far it looks good. The frequency of updates is excellent and is more often than I need. A 10 minute interval is fine for a blog, but this can perform checks every minute. The charts clearly show the server status and it is easy to see if and when problems occur. This is another nice app that is worth having. You can only monitor one site, so Site24x7 is better if you need to monitor more (without having a paid account).
Site24x7 and Pingdom are the best in this small group test of website monitoring apps. (I actually tried more apps, but some turned out to be more like ping tools measuring speed rather than monitoring availability). Although you are best signing up for accounts using a web browser on your computer, once this has been done, everything you need to know about your site can be accessed on the iPhone through these apps. Both offer free services and free apps, although Site24x7 monitors five vs Pingdom’s one. Try both and see which best fits your needs. Mine are fairly simple and Site24x7 is all I need, but I’ll keep both accounts running for a month and make a final decision on which one to keep then.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 10 May 2014