No hosting company can guarantee that their server will remain online 100% of the time. Whatever hosting company you choose to host your websites with, you are bound to experience downtime at one time or another.
Downtime can be caused by a number of reasons such as upgrading your server hardware, receiving a DDoS attack, or technical problems at the data centre.
Downtime can also be caused by someone hacking a website on your server. Since you share your server with other people when you purchase a shared hosting or VPS hosting plan, the risk of experiencing downtime can be higher.
It is common to point blame at your host when your websites go offline, but your your host is not always to blame. Your website could be down because of a number of reasons. For example, an automatic update to a WordPress plugin could conflict with your website theme and cause the famous WordPress white screen of death.
When your websites are offline, you need to know about it. To do this you need to use an uptime monitoring tool.
Failure to use a website uptime monitoring tool could result in your websites being offline for hours or even days without your knowledge.
There is a large selection of uptime monitoring services online. Some are free to use up to a point and then charge a fee. Others charge a small fee regardless of the number of websites being monitored.
Pricing generally depends on the number of websites you are monitoring and the frequency in which you want a company to check if your websites are still online.
A Good Starting Point
A great place to start with uptime monitoring is UptimeRobot. The service allows you to monitor up to fifty websites free of charge. Each website is checked at five minute intervals.
You can monitor MHTTP(s), ping, port and keywords. Alerts can be sent via e-mail, SMS, Twitter, web-hooks or push notifications.
It only takes a few seconds to add a new website to your account and you can then get up to date reports on recent uptime over the last day, seven days, and thirty days. Logs can be exported too.
UptimeRobot will explain why your website was offline too. For example, it will say whether there was a connection timeout.
The dashboard is very easy to use. Down the left hand side you will see a list of all the websites you are monitoring. You can change the way your websites are sorted and can quickly switch from one website to the next.
I highly recommend using UptimeRobot when you are first starting out as it's a great solution and free to use.
If you are looking for improved monitoring, you should consider their pro plan. It is only $4.50 per month to change the monitoring interval for fifty websites from five minutes to one minute.
Another good service to check out is StatusCake. They allow you to check an unlimited number of websites at five minute intervals and upgrading to an unlimited number of checks at one minute intervals is only $14.99 per month.
Great Uptime Monitoring Services
UptimeRobot is the service I normally recommend to friends because I have experience using it and because they offer so much free of charge. I have always been pleased with their service, but you may want to check out one of a number of other great uptime monitoring services that are available online.
Prices for services such as Pingdom start at under $10 per month for ten website checks at one minute intervals.