Who is keeping an eye on your site? Is it your job? Is it your developer’s job? Are you just assuming it is your developer’s job because after all, you host with them? If you are paying your developer for hosting then you need to find out if they have a plan in place to monitor your website.
There are two major types of monitoring you need to be concerned with. First is what is known as a “ping”. A ping (it gets its name from the sound a sonar makes) just tells you if the server that hosts your site is operational and responsive. If your host is managing the server that your site is running on, then they should have a system in place already that monitors the health of their servers and should be able to tell you if the server is up or not.
There are services you can use to “ping” the server that hosts your site, independent of your developer. A good, and free service is Basic State. Signup for a free account. Every 15 minutes it checks to make sure the server hosting your website is operational. If there is a problem, it sends you an email. (Note: Use a Gmail account, or a Hotmail account if your email is also hosting on the same server.) More complete ping services will monitor the server your website is hosted on from sites around the world and let if you if there are problems getting to it.
Second, you want to monitor for modifications. If your website is a blog, you want to make sure that it doesn’t change unless you have posted a new entry. If it does change between entries, your site may have been compromised. Again, there are free services on the web that will keep an eye on your site for you and send you an email if something changes. It is important to note that these services can’t tell the difference between a change you made and a change someone else made. Anytime you update your homepage, you will get an email. ChangeDetection.com is a free service that will monitor a page on your site and tell you when it has changed.
Don’t assume someone is monitoring your site. Better yet, even if you know someone is monitoring your site, keep an eye on it yourself.
Want more helpful advice?
Are you looking for more helpful advice? Check out our book, Avoiding a Goat Rodeo. It was written to help non-programmers understand website development. It shows you how to get the website you want.