Using Uptime Robot to monitor your website

Using Uptime Robot to monitor your website

In today’s article, I want to show you how to put a free alert in place so that you know if your website goes down.

The service we are using here is Uptime Robot, there are others (of course), this is just the one we use and I’m most familiar with.

They offer free as well as paid services. Today I’ll be showing you how to use their free plan.

 

1) Sign up

Firstly, go to UptimeRobot and sign up for an account.

 

2) Add New Monitor

Click the big old ‘Add New Monitor‘ button……

Uptime Robot - add new monitor button

Fig 1 – click the ‘add new monitor’ button

 

3) “New Monitor” panel opens..…select “Keyword

Uptime Robot - add new monitor panel - keyword

Fig 2 – select ‘keyword’

Note: there are various ways Uptime Robot can monitor your site and I’ll spare you the differences and nuances in this post, let’s just concentrate on getting a standard website uptime monitor in place for you.

 

4) Find in the blanks

….you’ll now see this screen:

Uptime Robot - keyword monitor fields

Fig 3 – Uptime Robot keyword monitor fields

On this screen enter:

  • ‘Friendly Name’ – doesn’t’ really matter, it’s for your purposes only; put ‘my website‘ if you like
    (If you are likely to monitor lots of sites, then yes, having a meaningful name here helps).
  • ‘URL (or IP)’ – enter your full website address here (including the HTTP or HTTPS*)
    (*If your site is not HTTPS, it should be)
  • ‘Keyword’ – in this field put “</html>“*
    (*copy </html>, just that bit, not the quotes)

5) Keyword Not Exists

Select ‘Keyword Not Exists

Uptime Robot - add keyword monitor - select keyword not exists

Fig 4 – select ‘keyword not exists’

Note: you can leave the Monitoring Internal as is.

 

6) Add alert

You now need to tell Uptime Robot who it needs to alert if there is an issue……

Uptime Robot - add new monitor - add alert

Fig 5 – adding an alert

As you see here, I have two options set up; once for my email*, and one for Slack.

(*Which I’m pretty sure you can decipher, if you squint 😉

If you do not see anything in this panel, you may need to go to a different section on the site to set up your alerts.

 

7) Go to “My settings”

 

Uptime Robot - my settings menu link

Fig 6 – select ‘my settings’ from menu

 

8) Adding Alert

Uptime Robot - Add alert contact

Fig 7 – click “Add alert contact’

You can choose from a variety of ways that Uptime Robot can alert you – unless you are feeling adventurous, just click ‘email‘ and follow the instructions.

After that you may need to go back to the alert you set up and assign your new created alert contact – see the right-hand panel in Fig 5.

 

Pro Tips

Ok, let’s run through some ways you can make Uptime Robot work even harder for you.

Keyword

Let’s revisit the keyword we are searching for: </HTML>

Whilst this will work, this is not unique text to your website so, if for example, the webserver throws a wobbly and displays an error page, that too may contain </HTML> and so could pass the above test – which isn’t super helpful. So, what you can do is to search for something unique on your website – a great place to look here is your website footer….

website footer

Fig 7 – our website footer

If you look in our website footer, you’ll see that the text ‘Glass Mountains Digital Ltd‘ looks a great candidate here, so I would use that text instead.

Note: I really should update my copyright; ironically we tend to do this automatically for clients

Caching?

If your website is heavily cached then it might be best to help Uptime Robot see through that cache so that it is always looking at the website drirectly.

The knack here is to add ?*cachebuster*  to the end of the URL field in step 6 e.g.

https://{your website here}/?*cachebuster*

(For more details, read Uptime Robot’s article on this.)

 

Hope that helps & happy uptiming!

Joel

 

p.s. if you do find your website is going down a lot, it may be time to change hosting.

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