Most webmasters, as well as developers and designers, worry about the front end of a web site. They make sure that it looks perfect and that the scripts work fine. And most of the times, the physical machine that the site is installed on is not optimized to take full advantage of its resources and work as effective as possible.
This is especially true if the server is self-managed and the webmaster doesn’t really have the time or knowledge to go into deeper configuration files. Often, the problem of an overloading server and low performance is solved by simply switching to a newer, more powerful one. At the same time, a good, fine configuration of the old server could’ve made it run just as fast as a much more powerful new one.
But let’s say you did configure the server to run at its best performance, how do you make sure it actually does that and stays that way over the course of a longer time? Well, for that purpose, you can use the various monitoring and server testing tools and services, available online. Here are some of the best:
Load Impact. Load Impact is an amazingly useful service that helps you test the amount of concurrent visitors and connections that your site and the server it’s hosted on can handle. You can use it to test various configurations and achieve the best performance and stability. This is very useful for moving high load web sites to new machines or if you plan on getting a few hundred thousand sudden visitors from Digg or other major social networks.
Simple Server Monitor. Just as its name suggests, this is a simple server monitor that can quickly inform you when your server or site is down and measure the uptime percentage over time. Whenever your server becomes unresponsive or slow, you will receive a message informing you of the issue, so you can fix it before it becomes a major problem. This service is practically a must have for any server administrator.
SiteUptime. This is a service very similar to the one above, and it also offers a free version for a single site. You can set it up to check the availability of your site every 10, 5 or even 2 minutes, which ensures that you’ll know what’s up with your site at any time, almost instantly. You can receive notifications via SMS & email, which is more than enough in most cases.
McAfee Secure. McAfee Secure is one of the leading online monitoring services that specialize on viruses, Trojans, various infiltrations and spam. You may know about the McAfee desktop antivirus, which is very good. Well, now you can have it for your server. McAfee Secure will make sure that your server is safe from security breaches, identity theft, phishing, spam and other nasty things. It will also display a badge that shows when the site was last tested (which is usually daily), and that will increase your customer’s trust in you and your services.
Webmetrics GlobalWatch. This is an amazing interactive tool that helps you monitor a wide variety of web sites and applications and check a lot of parameters. It has a very nice interface that provides you with the most important information, which will help you effectively monitor the status of your server and web sites. You can view the possible causes of a problem and possible solutions, create reports and custom notifications that will inform you what’s going on wherever you are, via your cell phone or email.
Orion Network Performance Monitoring. Orion NPM is an enterprise level tool that allows you to monitor everything on a single server or a few hundred of them all over the world. You can see any bandwidth, software and performance issues, as well as possible causes and fixes. It can quickly detect and inform you of any problems (even potential ones, if you want) on your network and how to solve them, so you can have the issue fixed before it even starts affecting your machine or your site’s users.
Using the above services and tools, you can make sure your server is always running, and it does so with the highest efficiency and performance possible.