Pingdom and the Falling Sky

From time to time (okay, all of the time) I try out new web services. Some are useful, some are quirky, some are life changing and some are awful.

A couple of days ago, I decided to give Pingdom a try. Pingdom is a service that monitors the uptime and performance of your website.

Signing up for the account was simple and setting up the first site to monitor was also quite simple. The only quirk with the setup is this. You tell it how long a “cycle” is, that is to say, how often it will check your site. So I set the cycle to 5 minutes. In the notifications area, it asks when and how often to send notifications of down time in terms of cycles, rather than minutes. So if I want to only receive a notification when the site is down for 15 minutes, I have to select 3 cycles. Once you save the form, they translate this, but it would be nice to work in terms of minutes rather than cycles.

Usually, these services are things that I look at and then ignore. But of course, my site went down one day after setting up the monitoring. Turns out, my hosting provider had a problem with a router and thankfully fixed the issue quickly.

Pingdom worked perfectly. I received the appropriate notifications which corresponded exactly to the hosting company’s post about the outage. It happened while I was sleeping and traditionally I wouldn’t have noticed or cared.

If you only need to monitor one site, they have a limited free account that will probably be all that you need. They do have paid accounts for monitoring multiple sites and services with deeper reporting and such.