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Website Testing / Monitoring Service

Posted on 2010-09-07
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Last Modified: 2017-04-26
Hello,

Our website is hosted by a vendor and we recently had an outage where the site was "down" for roughly ten hours due to none of the alarms having activated. The outage was with a backend process, so the site was returning a cryptic DB error to users. Since the site was responding with something other than a standard error code, none of the alarms went off.

I am looking for a monitoring service that would check the website periodically and emulate a few user actions - such as accessing a couple of pages and making certain a specific result comes back (i.e. not just pages of SQL errors). The goal is to detect a situation where the web server is operational but the content is not being delivered as expected.

Any ideas or suggestions? I prefer a hosted service, however if there is a tool I can run on one of my windows servers I am open to that as well. The key is that we do not host the site, so I don't have server level access to the site.

Thanks.
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Question by:epaschal
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9 Comments
 
LVL 65

Expert Comment

by:rockiroads
ID: 33623023
maybe some live smoke testing - if you want a fixed test then you can use freebie tools to do this

1. You need to use Firefox
2. Download Selenium IDE
3. Record some tests
4. Playback

This is the simple way. There is also iMacros which works on more platforms.

Selenium IDE is a simple record and playback features and is a addon to Firefox.

Selenium also have Selenium RC where you have to develop a test progrsm so you need to know a language.
If you have some java development skills then this can be done free as well using htmlunits.

Now this is not automated in that you have to trigger the tests. You need to design your tests carefully.



Regarding outages maybe you can change your code to email users on failure, and of course the logs investigated.
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by:epaschal
ID: 33623062
Thanks. I'm really looking for something that would be automated that would check in day and night and send notification in the event of a failed test.

Changes to the code are not an option at this time due to cost and complexity, as any number of things can fail, however they all would result in taking the site down for our users. Plus this is all hosted so I don't control the code.
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by:rockiroads
rockiroads earned 250 total points
ID: 33623077
I have not tried any tools like what you are looking for that but found what looks like a freebie service but not sure exactly what they do but maybe give it a try http://www.montastic.com otherwise pay for services like websitepulse http://www.websitepulse.com/
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arober11 earned 250 total points
ID: 33625466
As "rockiroads" (thought you'd abandoned EE m8) suggests, there are numerous companies around, my last client used half a dozen, of which this lot appear to best match your requirements: http://www.siteconfidence.com/home.aspx, but there are many more out there, including these that I have no personal experience of: http://www.ippatrol.co.uk/ or http://www.exclamationsoft.com/webwatchbot/

If you wish to monitor the site yourself there are numerous tools around, that will generate the necessary alerts:  nagios, Compuware vantage agentless, tealeaf, cacti, jmeter. All of which will do what you want and some include in-built email / sms alerting, and those that don't you can fairly easily add the functionality. If you want to have a look / play I'd suggest you have a look at the VMware Virtual appliance site, as there are a number of pre-built network/application images on the site, and will give you an idea of what the tools can do without having to spend hours installing / configuring software.

If you were Unix / Linux based I'd suggest a few lines of shell script may suffice / meet your needs.
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Expert Comment

by:khbasha
ID: 33625806
http://webtest.canoo.com/webtest/manual/WebTestHome.html

Canoo WebTest is a free Open Source tool for automated testing of web applications in a very effective way. Look at for a features' overview.
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by:arober11
arober11 earned 250 total points
ID: 33627368
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by:rockiroads
ID: 33627952
wotcha buddy (arober11), been a while, work and no internet doesn't help lol
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Expert Comment

by:munirb14
ID: 33642836
I am using Websitepulse to check Exchange and Sharepoit sites, but the do have a lot of options for websites check. Their support is mainly done by phone but it is very efficient and fast.

Try this link: http://www.websitepulse.com/targets/add.php?grouptype=3
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:khaledf
ID: 33652007
Monitis have a transaction monitoring feature which performs actual checks from within the real browser ,  from the same perspective as the end-user.

http://portal.monitis.com/index.php/transactions-monitoring

it is not free but a reliable one
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