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 that something broke during the night. I have had that happen a few times and it was never a pleasant experience. Having your site go down due to a hardware or software problem is more than a nuisance and it can be extremely costly if you make your living through your presence on the internet.
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 a problem arising. 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 setup 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 Domain” button, and proceed to checkout.
- Go back to your No-IP account and click My Services > Server Monitoring > Configure > Add Monitor.
- Select the domain using the radio button, select the service using the dropdown, and click “next”. Select a hostname, and click “Next”.
- If you run your web server on a port other than 80, enter it in the port section. Use the dropdown menu to select the a specific path or file. Select “Yes” to activate. If you signed up for the Advanced package, you can enable failover support for this hostname by clicking “Yes” on “Use Offline Settings”. Make sure you set up your offline settings for this hostname under My Services > DNS Records > Modify (to the right of the hostname that is being monitored) when you are done, if you have not already.
- The next step is configuring alerts. 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.
- 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 more particular, 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 “Create”, and that’s it. Your device will be checked the next time the Monitoring service runs. You can view the status of the monitor under My Services > Monitoring > Status.
Now that you have Monitoring set up, you can add more monitors. This is by far the easiest and most cost effective solution to avoid unnecessary outages and downtime.