Ever have those days when you come into work only to find 500 messages in your inbox. All of which are complaints that the web server is down or something broke during the night. I had that happen a few times and it was never a pleasant experience. But having your site go down due to a hardware or software problem is more than a nuisance, it can be extremely costly if you make your living through your presence on the web.
Taking steps to ensure your site stays up is always a good plan, but something can always go wrong. For example, your cable or DSL modem could go out. You could have a power failure or your ISP might have decided they don’t like seeing traffic on the port you are using and block it. What about if your site uses a database backend, if the database fails, your site fails. There are countless other factors and forces of nature out there that can bring your site down. Sure, there are hardware solutions, but those are costly. I want something that notifies me within minutes of there being a problem. That way I can fix a problem when it happens and not have to check on it manually.
It is this exact situation that prompted No-IP to create its Network Monitoring service. Monitoring effectively is a system that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, numerous times each hour. It runs from two primary locations in the U.S. on separate networks and has a third backup location should anything go wrong. Monitoring works by checking your web services remotely. If the monitoring service can get to your site, database, ftp server, etc. and verify it’s working Monitoring will log its result and continue. Should it get a bad response from your service, or a slow response, Monitoring will then notify you of the problem.
What makes Monitoring different is the fact that with the Advanced Monitoring package, you will have optional failover support. Should your service go down you can have all your traffic diverted to another IP address, web site or to a custom web page stored on No-IP.com’s servers. When your service comes back up online, Monitoring will undo the failover settings and normal operations will continue.
Here is how you can set up monitoring through No-IP.com:
- Verify the service you want to monitor is working. Whether it is a web server, ftp server, POP, IMAP or SMTP server etc.
- Sign up for No-IP’s Monitoring service. If you already have your DNS with No-IP then you can take full advantage of all the services. If not, you will not be able to use the failover/offline support. The set up for monitoring is very easy and only takes a matter of seconds.
- Login to No-IP.com (create an account if you don’t have one, it’s free) and click on “Add Domain” under Monitoring on the left hand side.
- Pick a Monitoring package. Click on “Basic” or “Advanced” for more information and click the radio box on the one you decide on. If you want failover support, the Advanced package is the one you want. Enter the domain you would like to have monitored. If No-IP.com manages your domain, choose it from the list. Otherwise enter it in the space below. Click the “add my domain button” and activate it.
- Go back to the site and click on “Add Monitor” under the Monitoring link on the left hand side. Select your domain and click “Next”.
- For this example I will setup Monitoring to monitor my web server that is running on my “WWW” host. So I would select the “WWW” host from the drop down and under “Service” I would select “Check HTTP” and click “Next”.
- The next page lists the options for this monitor. To start Monitoring immediately I would chose “Yes” to activate. If you run your web server on a port other than 80, enter it in the port section. If you signed up for the Advanced package, you can enable failover support for this host by clicking “Yes” on “Use Offline Settings”. Make sure you set up your offline settings for this host under the “Plus” link on the top left when you are done, if you have not already.
- The next step on the page is to figure out where you want the alerts sent. I entered my primary email address for the primary. And since my cell phone can receive emails I put that for the secondary. This way, I will get notified on both if Monitoring sees a problem.
- The last step is to decide when I want to get notifications. You can select different rules in the “Notify on” list. Since I want to know about anything that happens I selected, “All Events” for my primary email account. For the phone I’m a bit pickier, so I selected “Critical and Recovery”. This way I will only get alerts on my cell phone when my site is confirmed down or when it recovers.
- Click “Add”, and that’s it. Your service will be checked the next time the monitoring service runs. You can go view how it is doing at the “View Status” link under Monitoring or under Manage Monitors.
Now that you have Monitoring set up, you can add more monitors to keep an eye on other services that you have. This is by far the easiest and most cost effective solution to avoid unnecessary outages and downtime. Plus, you will be able to enjoy my nights and weekends and not have to keep checking up on your web site.