How Website Monitoring Can Improve Employee Productivity

website-monitoringMeasuring success and productivity within a business organization used to rely on end results. These days there is software to monitor everything from keystrokes to the amount of time a computer has been idle in order to generate reports for employers to gauge how much their employees really accomplish in a day. While small businesses might not necessarily be interested in becoming “Big Brother” and watching every move their employees make, you certainly need to consider the fact that certain programs and practices, such as website monitoring, can serve to increase security and make your employees more productive and your business more profitable.

What is website monitoring? Website monitoring is the examination of a company’s website performance, including uptime, outages, functionality, and usage, to ensure users have optimal and expected interaction with a site. Today businesses can take advantage of several different types of monitoring software or services. For example, you can hire a company to monitor and inform you of downtime on your own website, helping you to better serve customers that wish to access your website or their online accounts with your business. There are also a variety of tools that can track network usage by employees in order to spot dangerous or merely inappropriate behavior so that you can find ways to reduce threats and increase productivity.

You can implement such IT solutions yourself if you happen to have an in-house IT staff. If you can’t afford this pricy addition to your head count, however, it’s probably best to hire a third-party managed services provider that offers website monitoring, as well as web filtering (or content control). It’s not always enough to be aware of what your employees are doing on your network – you may also have to take steps to restrict their access so as to reduce the potential for data breaches, not to mention the many distractions the internet can provide.

How does website monitoring work? It starts with tracking network usage. With the appropriate software solutions, you can begin to see patterns in usage and pinpoint anomalies. You may, for example, find that you often experience lag and down time when using your network. A monitoring service could provide you with the data and analysis needed to realize that certain employees are hogging bandwidth during the day by streaming music or videos. When you are aware of such behavior you can put a stop to it, increasing the speed of your network and improving potential productivity.

Monitoring can also help you to spot outside attacks. Many systems and services offer alerts that let you know when your system is down or under attack, allowing you to more quickly put a stop to data breaches and the damage they can cause. In terms of productivity, there are few things worse than data breaches, not only because of theft, corruption, or destruction of files, but also due to the response activities that will follow, including investigation, increased security, cleanup, and notifications of the breach; all can slow your workflow to a crawl.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what monitoring software and services can help you accomplish. In addition to watching and reporting on employee activity, the right monitoring solutions can also help to curb wasteful habits. This is where web-filtering programs come into play. Such software is designed not only to track network usage, but to restrict or block access to sites that could pose a threat to security. Some produce a warning message when users are about to visit a dangerous website or click a spammy link. Others outright forbid such activity and stop the user from proceeding.

Such software can also be used to deny access to websites of your choosing. If you don’t want employees spending all day on Facebook and other social networking sites, all you have to do is block them. When you remove such temptations and time wasters, you stand to increase employee productivity by a significant margin. Although you want to trust your employees to behave responsibly while they’re on the clock, you also have to behave in a responsible manner if you want your business to be profitable. This could mean not only keeping an eye on network usage, but also implementing measures to ensure that your employees follow company policies regarding proper behavior on the company network and the company dime.

Avoid Downtime Due to Hackers

As I learned with my personal blog, your site doesn’t have to be big and important in order to be a target of hackers. In fact, small business sites and personal blogs make great targets because they don’t normally have someone on staff to secure it.

Thankfully, I had a backup and I wasn’t counting on revenue from my site. Not everyone is so lucky.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to give your site some basic protection against downtime due to hackers.

Keep Software Up To Date

When software or plugins come out with updated versions, it is often because there were security holes that needed to be fixed. My site was hacked by a script that crawled the internet to find sites with old versions of WordPress. I could have avoided the whole mess if I had just taken a few minutes to click the Update link in my WP admin.

Use Secure Passwords

This seemed almost too obvious to add to the list until I read that “123456” had finally overtaken “password” as the most common password.

You don’t have to go crazy with an obnoxiously long and impossible to remember password, but at least stay away from the most obvious choices like your domain name, your username, “admin”, and “test”.

Backup Your Site

In addition to defacing my site, the script that hacked my site also installed a number of hidden files that sent emails and who knows what else.

I could have just swapped out the home page, but starting with a clean backup ensured that these hidden files didn’t stick around and cause damage.

Avoid File Uploads

Allowing file uploads gives hackers yet another access point to get into your site. Even image uploads can be risky and you cannot rely on the extension.

The best solution is to prevent direct access to uploaded files altogether, but if this isn’t an option, you may want to consider consulting a professional.


SSL is a security protocol that is used to prevent attackers from “sniffing” data as it passes between the website and web server or database.

If your site collects payment information or personal data, you should consider using SSL to keep it secure.

Monitor Your Site Content

When your site is hacked, the sooner you know about it the better. One way to find out if your site has been defaced is by monitoring a snippet of content on your site that does not (or should not) change.

Content monitoring is available at no extra charge on all of our $5/mo+ plans. To enable content monitoring on a new or existing SiteUptime monitor, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Log into your Control Panel and click on “My Monitors”.
  2. Click the “Options -> Edit” link next to the monitor you wish to edit or click the button to add a new monitor.
  3. Click the Advanced Options button.
  4. Towards the bottom of the form, you will see “Monitor Page Content”. Enter the snippet you wish to monitor and you will receive an alert if the that content cannot be found.



Are You CC’ing Your Web Host on Your Email Alerts?

m-notifyingYourHost-155x155The only thing more annoying than your site going down at 2:00 in the morning is having to get out of bed to send an email to your web host and then stay up and play middle-man until the issue is resolved.

One way to get a little more sleep is to just CC your host on your downtime alert emails.

On the Add/Edit Monitor page in your Control Panel, simply enter your host’s support email address in the “CC the Following Addresses” field.

(Note: Please be respectful of your web host’s time. If your site frequently goes down for reasons outside of your host’s control, you probably shouldn’t use this feature.)

Want to Stay in the Loop on the Alerts?

By default, alert emails are sent from “”, so if your host wants to respond you won’t get the message.

Keep yourself in the loop by changing the From and Reply To email addresses to yourself or your admin. Then, when your host responds, they will actually be responding to you.

To change this information,  go to the Edit Profile page in your Control Panel, and look for the “Change ‘From’ and ‘Reply-to’ email” field. Don’t forget to save your changes!

Log Into Your Control Panel – or – Register For A New Account

Re-Introducing, Our Website Monitoring Webhook

If you have been with SiteUptime for awhile, you have probably stumbled upon a few of our “surprise features” while working in your control panel. These are big/small/medium-sized system enhancements that we scope, develop, test, and deploy without really telling anyone.

One of these surprise features is our Website Monitoring Webhook which went live months ago, but was never properly introduced.

This user-requested functionality allows you to specify the URL of a script where we can send data when an event occurs with one of your monitors. You can use it to customize your email routing, trigger an event in your system, switch to a backup, etc.

Learn More >

Did you know we that we have an affiliate program?

If you have a website or app (which you probably do) and you want to make some extra money (who doesn’t?), then you might want to check out our affiliate program.

All we need is the PayPal address where we should send your payments, and you can immediately start referring users and earning $30/Advanced Plan and $15/Premium Plan for each qualified upgrade!

Log into your SiteUptime Control Panel or Create a free account.

Then, click on the “Affiliate Program” button in the side navigation, give us your payment email, and you are ready to start referring users.




Cloud Services and Your Site’s Uptime: What You Need to Know

If your website struggles with server lags or occasional downtime issues, it can hinder your biz. But if your site becomes inaccessible without your knowledge, you may end up facing a much harsher set of consequences: lost revenue, disappearing data, angry customers – or worse. Moreover, nothing gives a website a bad rep in an industry like frequent outages and server slowdowns.

These are all great reasons to employ a website uptime monitoring service. However, you should also stay on top of the actual factors that could potentially lead to website downtime. Of course, there’s the obvious stuff: keeping an eye out for traffic spikes, staying up-to-date with your server status, and routinely checking for errors or other on-site issues.

Here’s what most webmasters don’t know: cloud services have the unique ability to disrupt a website’s otherwise smooth uptime track record. It’s a newer problem, so it’s been largely ignored. Recently, however, a few well-known websites have done an excellent job of bringing some much-needed attention to the matter.

Cloud Services: Risky for Your Website

Read Write recently published an excellent write-up about cloud services, and the author expertly laid out the mechanics of their effect on website uptime. He pointed out that a great many websites rely heavily upon external (cloud) services. Think apps such as social media feeds, advertising plugins, or even third-party analytics. If any one of these cloud services happen to punk out, your website could pay dearly in the form of slow loading speeds, empty pages, or even by going offline.

The article pointed to the recent (and now infamous) Amazon and GoDaddy site downtime incidents that triggered a wave of panic and lost revenue following the blackout last year. Sites such as these are considered “too big to fail,” but at the end of the day, they’re just websites like yours. As their unexpected downtime proved, outages can happen to the big guns, too. It doesn’t matter how well known the company behind the cloud service on your site may be – if it crashes, you could still go down with the ship.

In the piece, readers were also reminded about an incident back in May that stemmed from the widespread use of a defective Facebook “Like” button. When webmasters attempted to add the button to one of their pages, it would prevent the entire page from loading for visitors.

Don’t Shortchange Your Customers

Over at Modernize, Ryan Hughes recently mused about where exactly the blame should fall for massive cloud service outages like these. He suggests that webmasters may be lured into a false sense of security by the brand names behind all those questionable cloud apps. Many make the mistake of failing to properly investigate the mechanics of the tools before plugging them into their sites.

Further, he wonders whether webmasters themselves seek to use free services simply to cut costs and have someone to blame when the lights go out. This, he notes, would be much simpler (and cheaper!) than creating and implementing their own apps for their own websites.

Key Takeaways for Your Site

According to Read Write’s article, the bottom line is this: as a webmaster, you should always have your finger on the pulse of your website. This means understanding all the moving parts – including third-party plugins and cloud services. What’s more, you should know where these services originate from and put in the hard work of investigating the source’s security strength and operational fortitude.

Hughes, on the other hand, says your primary concern should be your responsibility to your customers. For him, that translates to investing in your own original apps and services that you’ll be able to monitor and control internally.

No matter which route you choose, remember this: if GoDaddy, Facebook, and Amazon taught us anything last year, it’s that keeping a close eye on your website uptime is especially vital when you’re using cloud apps and services. However, when you’re a busy webmaster, constant uptime monitoring doesn’t exactly fit into your schedule.

That’s exactly why Site Uptime offers 24/7 website uptime monitoring and instant SMS alerts for webmasters. When you implement our monitoring service, you protect the investment you worked so hard to build.

Keep Hackers at Bay with HTTP Authentication Monitoring

When you spend any significant chuck of time creating and maintaining a website, it becomes a labor of love. When you’re heavily invested in your creation, protecting it should always be at the top of your list. In recent years, countless horror stories have surfaced about hijacked websites, hacking of sensitive hidden info, stolen user credentials, and more. In light of this sad reality, it would be insanely foolish to neglect website security.

Basic HTTP authentication is one way to tighten up security around your site. Think of your overall security plan as the layers of an onion – the more layers you add, the harder it will be for a bad guy to break in. By enabling basic HTTP authentication on your site’s private webpages, you’re adding a much-needed layer of safety to your online masterpiece.

Understanding HTTP Authentication

In order to appreciate the benefits of HTTP authentication, you first need to understand what exactly it is. Let’s break this down super simple style, shall we? Firs, there’s the HTTP transaction. That’s just the act of a browser sending a request to a server, followed by the server’s response. Both request and response use HTTP when they’re sent.

Whenever an HTTP transaction happens, if the server has enabled HTTP authentication, the browser or client program must offer up some credentials in order to gain access. Once an Internet user enters the correct user name and password, he or she will gain access to the protected page.

Advantages and Warnings

The first major plus of using basic HTTP authentication is simply that all browsers support it. If your company runs a smaller website that’s not open to the public, this option would be a dynamite addition to your existing website security plan. If you are the head of a large (and very public) online community, then you may need to opt for a different kind of authentication plan.

If you’re on team of programmers or system administrators, then you may have used basic HTTP authentication in your trusted network environment at some point or another. Since programmers must be able to read and diagnose activity, this form of authentication is preferable due to its simplicity. Bottom line: use this authentication technique in a trusted environment or on a private network. Otherwise, proceed with caution or enable additional security features to supplement HTTP authentication.

Introducing SiteUptime’s HTTP Authentication Monitoring

Did you know that SiteUptime offers HTTP authentication along with its other website uptime monitoring services? When you purchase a website monitoring plan (you can compare the features of each here), you can add HTTP authentication for only $5 extra per month. We do all the heavy lifting – all you must do is select a user name and password for the page you want to protect, and we’ll take it from there. No coding required.

If someone tries to access the page and the login attempt fails, SiteUptime will automatically send you an alert so you can check out the situation immediately. If you have a private network with webpages you’d like to protect, HTTP authentication is for you. If you have questions about this service, contact us for more information.

How to Prepare for Traffic Surges When Your Content Goes Viral

Every webmaster dreams of the day that they finally post that special article – the one that suddenly takes on a viral life of its own and pulls in the traffic like gangbusters. The really good ones follow this path and eventually wind up on a major website or online news organization.

When that happens, it’s supposed to be the most exciting day of your online career. Unfortunately, many site owners miss out on the feeding frenzy because their website simply can’t handle the traffic. People begin to have trouble accessing the site, frustrate, and click away to something else.

When that happens, how will you know? What can you do? Fortunately, you can take some precautions before your site crashes under the weight of all that new traffic.

Planning for Traffic Surges

If you’re just getting started, then it will likely take some time for your website content to circulate widely enough for a potentially viral piece to take flight. The more places your content and links to your site show up, the more chances people will stumble upon something great you’ve just written. If no one knows your website exists, then, that great piece may never see the light of day.

Once you’re established, have a reputation, and you’re becoming known for generating cutting-edge stuff, it’s time to think about taking some precautions. You need to have services on standby that can step in and handle any traffic surges that may slow down or temporarily disable your site.

For example, Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) Storage Gateway offers solutions for just such a crisis. The service allows webmasters to leverage Amazon EC2’s on-demand compute capacity to mirror data in case they need a boost of capacity during traffic surges. It may be worth considering if you have a site with a unique concept that seems to be catching on rather quickly. That’s a sign that you may become popular more quickly than you originally expected.

Website Monitoring Services

Now that we’ve talked about how to handle unexpected traffic surges after they’ve happened, let’s focus on how to monitor your website uptime. It’s important to watch for downed pages and slow load times consistently in order to prevent your site from missing out on a rush of new visitors. Think about it: a percentage of that traffic is almost guaranteed to convert to loyal readers if you keep setting the bar higher for your content quality. However, if you fail to accommodate for the initial traffic spike, you may just lose every one of those new visitors.

But who has the time to monitor their website’s uptime all day and night? Certainly not you if you’re busy creating all that great content. That’s why using an affordable website uptime monitoring service like SiteUptime is so vital. SiteUptime can curb your website downtime through its wildly popular free and advanced remote monitoring services. When your website goes down, you get an instantaneous notification via email or text so you can take action right away. That will give you the chance to correct problems instantaneously – before you lose all those precious new readers.

Website Uptime Monitoring – Critical During the Holidays

If you’re an online retailer, then you’re probably acutely aware that holiday sales will make or break your biz. The month-long time span between late November and December is a money machine for many retailers – in fact, most merchants earn up to a third of their sales during this short window of time each year.

Now, imagine you’re the webmaster of a slow site (or one that experiences downtime) this season. It may not seem like a big deal at the outset – but you should definitely consider moving it to the top of your list of business concerns. Luckily, you don’t have to take time out of your busy schedule to keep an eye on your site. SiteUptime offers 24/7 website monitoring – the best in the biz – so you can rest easy and focus on bringing in the sales.

Holiday Downtime Can Cripple Online Retailers

According to a recent stat from, $96 billion in sales will take place online this year, and that’s a 12 percent increase from the previous year. Online shopping is on the rise, a fact that should cause brick-and-mortar shops to sit up and take notice right alongside their online counterparts.

A Monitis survey was just released that revealed another shocking stat. 56% of shoppers who spend more than two hours online each week will cancel an order if they run into slow websites, sites dealing with downtime, or sites with internal server errors. They simply abandon their shopping carts and click away. If your website is one of the unfortunate few that experience these issues during the holidays, you may not find out about the glitch until it’s too late. If you don’t correct the issue immediately, you may wind up missing out on your holiday sales bump altogether, and this could wreak havoc on your bottom line.

Monitoring Your Website: Vital for Your Biz

A major issue for online retailers during the holidays is unexpected traffic spikes. Shoppers are prowling the ‘net in droves during the holidays, and if a deal you’re promoting happens to go viral or you have an unusually large response to an email you’ve sent, you may just find yourself hit with a jolt in traffic that your servers can’t contain.

Keeping a dedicated employee on staff during the holiday season is a great way to prep for an increase in resource usage following a promotional sales event. But what about external factors; things you can’t control?

That’s where a third-party website monitoring service come in, and it’s worth its weight in gold during the unpredictable holiday shopping rush. SiteUptime is dedicated to making sure your customers can reach your website every second of every day.


Simple. SiteUptime provides both free and advanced remote monitoring services for your website. Plus, if your website experiences downtime, SiteUptime will alert you by email or text the second it happens. The stats above prove how critical response time is during the holidays. SiteUptime even goes a step further – the service will furnish you with detailed reports about your website’s blips and response times so you can keep an eye on things at a glance.

Don’t let the holiday crowds pass you by. Do the smart thing and invest in SiteUptime’s website monitoring service. It will pay dividends by protecting your bottom line. Start your free trial now.

SiteUptime Steps Up in Wake of Major September GoDaddy Outage

Here’s a little proof positive that services like SiteUptime are vital to protecting your website’s online reputation. On September 11, 2012, the worst kind of outage imaginable took place: GoDaddy itself came tumbling down.

Yup, you read that right.

GoDaddy’s website tumbled right off the grid and remained out of service for a period of hours that Monday in an attack of unprecedented proportions. That meant that many of the 10.5 million webmasters using the Internet mega-company to host their sites were rendered impotent as they waited (impatiently) for the lights to come back on at GoDaddy HQ. GoDaddy’s official website was also unreachable during the attack.

What Happened, in a Nutshell

The legendary Internet hacking group Anonymous initially took credit for the alleged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The security leader of the group, who goes by “Anonymous Own3r” on Twitter, took sole credit for the takedown.

During the chaos, when questioned whether the group was responsible for the attack, Anonymous Own3r tweeted this response:

“@wordwhacker nah it’s not Anonymous coletive the attack is coming just from me.”

After things were restored to (relative) normalcy, GoDaddy released a statement in which it claimed that the outage was in fact not an attack by Anonymous after all:

“Yesterday, and many of our customers experienced intermittent service outages starting shortly after 10 a.m. PDT. Service was fully restored by 4 p.m. PDT.

The service outage was not caused by external influences. It was not a “hack” and it was not a denial of service attack (DDoS). We have determined the service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables. Once the issues were identified, we took corrective actions to restore services for our customers and We have implemented measures to prevent this from occurring again.”

Keeping Watch Over Your Website’s Uptime

Was the attack indeed instigated by Anonymous, or was it simply a result of the “internal issues” that GoDaddy claimed? We may never know, but one thing is certain: outages can happen for a variety of reasons – at any time. Even to the heaviest hitters on the Web like GoDaddy.

That’s why it’s vital to keep watch over your website’s uptime… constantly. Unfortunately, you likely don’t have that kind of time. After all, you’ve got a website to run. That’s why using a service like SiteUptime is critical to protecting your bottom line when future catastrophes like GoDaddy’s inevitably rear their ugly heads.

Site owners using SiteUptime were aware of the problem before their unfortunate peers got wind of things, so they were able to warn customers, take appropriate precautions, and make arrangements before it was too late. The advanced notice likely saved thousands of dollars for those who played it smart and chose to monitor their websites for potential downtime.

Disasters like this will continue to plague the Web for years to come, which is why it’s vital to protect your investment by heading bad guys off at the pass with monitoring services like SiteUptime.