Monitoring Sitefinity Websites with Pingdom

Pingdom is a service that's suited for Sitefinity administrators who wish to remotely monitor and track a website's uptime and performance. Recently, I've been using it to monitor Sitefinity Down Under and thought it would be a good opportunity to share with you some of the things I like about the service. In particular, I'll be writing about Pingdom's check and notification system for monitoring sites.

Pingdom offers different packages to suit your needs. If you're looking to evaluate this service, I'd suggest signing up for its complementary offering, which allows you to monitor 1 website for free. Alternatively, each of its subscriptions start with a 30-day trial period.

Once you have signed up, you will be asked to setup your account and to create a check:

Pingdom: Create New Check

Pingdom: Create New Check

Pingdom features three categories of check:

  • Web
  • Network
  • Email

Network and email checks include those for lower-level network checks like responses from TCP ports and the availability email services such as SMTP.

Web checks include three kinds of HTTP-based checks:

  • HTTP
  • HTTP Custom
  • Transaction Monitor

A HTTP Check is the simpliest one available. It hits a URL/IP and requests the header and static content (i.e. HTML) of the endpoint. It doesn't request any dynamic content like images or scripts.

A HTTP Custom Check hits a predefined endpoint that can execute scripts to determine the status of your site. For Sitefinity-based sites, this can be an endpoint such as an ASP.NET handler or an ASP.NET page. The protocol for a HTTP custom check requires an XML-based payload to be returned by the endpoint:

Pingdom: HTTP Custom Check Settings

Pingdom: HTTP Custom Check Settings

A Transaction Monitor Check is one that executes a series of requests against a URL/IP. For example, you can create a check that requests the homepage of your Sitefinity-based site, logs into the Sitefinity administration section, and then logs out.

A feature of the Transaction Monitor Check that I really like is its ability to provide an IntelliSense-like dialog to construct your instructions on-the-fly:

Pingdom: Create Transaction Monitor Check

Pingdom: Create Transaction Monitor Check

You can easily create checks that conduct a series of instructions against your site. In the example (above), I show how to create one for the Sitefinity adminstration backend. However, it's simple to create a more advanced transaction.

Checks will probe remote URLs/IPs on a periodic basis to see if your site is up, down, or in an "unknown state". You can tweak these settings to trigger notifications when your site is down.

Note: At the time of this writing, Pingdom is currently providing a new service called BeepManager (currently in Beta), which enhances the alert model for Pingdom quite significantly.

In the case of sitefinitydownunder.com, I configured the HTTP check to notify me via email and SMS:

SMS-based notification from Pingdom

SMS-based notification from Pingdom

Last month, we migrated sitefinitydownunder.com from Sitefinity 6.2 to Sitefinity 6.3. We had to take the site offline for a short period of time to perform this upgrade. Notice the 5-minute delay in the SMS-based notification (above) and the email-based (below).

Pingdom: Check Notifications via Email

Pingdom: Check Notifications via Email

In addition to notifications like these, Pingdom provides a series of reports that you can look through to gain insights about your site's uptime:

Pingdom update report for sitefinitydownunder.com

Pingdom update report for sitefinitydownunder.com

Pingdom also features an iPhone app that provides these same reports while you're on the road:

Pingdom on iOS

Pingdom on iOS

In addition to notifying site administrators of downtime, you can also configure Pingdom to create a public status page that will provide your site's visitors with a recent history of your site's uptime performance. You can check out the public status page for sitefinitydownunder.com at the following URL:

http://stats.pingdom.com/j9soofkjsenc

Pingdom provides an excellent service for Sitefinity administrators looking to remotely monitor their sites. In this blog post, I wrote about Pingdom's check and notification system for monitoring sites. Make sure to check it out!