Category: Maintenance

Monitoring Web Applications: Should You Do It?

If you run own or operate a website, there’s a chance that you have experience with web applications. You may have a shopping cart or lead capture form on your site, or even some other form of an application. The question is: do you actually monitor those apps to ensure they are functioning properly? And if they’re not functioning properly, then  what is the cost to you?

Let’s take a simple shopping cart for example, and let’s say that you sell t-shirts on your website. If you visitors add t-shirts to their cart, but an error prevents them from checking out, what do you think this does to visitor confidence? And to their loyalty to your site? The truth is that web visitors are extremely fickle, and shoppers are even worse. With that said, it’s important to make sure that you do something to monitor any web apps that you have so you know when there’s a problem. If you know when a problem begins, then you can take action to correct it. If you never know about it, it could be hours, days, or even weeks before it’s brought to your attention by an angry visitor.

So assuming you want to monitor a web application on your site, how is this done? Well there are multiple options that you have, and the best option is most likely to use an external or off site web application monitoring solution. A third-party solution will be the most reliable because a self-hosted solution won’t necessarily be able to keep track of any problems you’re having, especially if the issue is related to a server-side problem. There are a number of companies that offer a solution like this, and you just need to do a little research to find out which one is best for you, and which one helps you achieve your goals. Both Pingdom and DotCom-Monitor offer different but workable solutions in this space.

At the end of the day, you obviously don’t have to monitor any of your applications at all. And if you don’t have any web applications on your site, then there’s nothing to monitor. However, if you do have public-facing web applications, you need to ask yourself what this question: “What is the risk/benefit of doing nothing?” Maybe in your case you don’t have many web visitors, or run an extremely low traffic blog, and it that case the expense may not be justified. However, if you have a considerable amount of traffic then you might want to consider what could happen as a result of inaction. Either way, if you take your time and evaluate the needs for your website, you should be on your way to finding a workable solution.