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Tutorial: Monitoring your Websites
Learn to run a series of event monitors for your websites.
About Website Monitoring

The term "network devices" includes virtually anything you may want to monitor with FrameFlow, including web sites. Our Advanced Web Site event monitor excels at monitoring a wide range of potential issues within your web sites. In this tutorial, we aim to tell you a bit about each option and how it can help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to emerging issues.

Getting Started

To get started, open FrameFlow's event monitor section and add a new event monitor. Make sure to select "Advanced Web Site Event Monitor". Use the chooser button to add a network device. In the "Devices to Add" text box, enter the entire URL of the web page you would like to monitor. It could be beneficial to monitor your home page, as any erroneous changes to this page could be displayed to many visitors to your site. Feel free to leave all extra fields in this section blank.

Template for Entering URLs

The text box labeled "URLs" should already have text inside it that says "http://[devicename]/index.html". This default value will monitor the home page of the selected website. If you would like to monitor a web page other than your home page, replace the "index.html" portion with the full path to that page. You can add additional web sites by selecting them with the chooser button above. If each web site you want to monitor has the same page structure, then you can monitor them all with one event monitor. Otherwise, you may need multiple event monitors.

Checking Web Site Conditions

The Advanced Web Site Event Monitor has a wide variety of options to check various conditions on your web site. In the following sections, we'll go over each of these options and explain how to use them.

List of Web Monitor Options

The first option will tell you if your web page is up or down at any given time. You can specify the level to which to be alerted: info, warning, error, or critical.

The status codes option will alert you if it tries to contact your web page and receives anything other than a 200 code (success). If your webpage cannot be reached, has moved, or is experiencing other such errors, the event monitor will alert you with the status level that you choose.

The page content option allows receive alerts if a specified text string is found on your web site. For example you could use the text string "Service Unavailable", in order to be alerted if the page is experiencing certain kinds of errors.

The option to be alerted based on missing page content will alert you if specified text is not found on your web page.

Example of Alerting About Missing Content

Many users add their copyright disclaimer here, as it usually can be found at the end of any corporate page. When this event monitor runs, it will check the entire page for your text, and send back an alert of your choosing if the page no longer contains the expected text. This can be useful to catch human errors that occur when someone editing a webpage mistakenly removes vital text.

The download timing option will download your entire webpage one or more times, and record the average and maximum times that it takes. You can specify thresholds in order to get alerts if downloading the page takes too long. Note that the download timing option downloads the HTML content only, not the images, scripts, and other items that the page loads or links to.

The option to detect content changes will check if anything on your web page has changed since the last time the monitor ran. This is useful when you want to stay on top of what your key web pages look like. You will be alerted about any change to the web page you are monitoring.

Advanced Content Checks

With advanced content checks you can write a small amount of JavaScript, through which your entire web page's code will be fed. The script that you write can perform any kind of checks that you choose. For example, it can check for multiple pieces of webpage content and alert based on what it finds. A tutorial dedicated to advanced content checks is coming soon.

Text Box for Advanced Content Checks

Monitoring Options

The checkboxes below provide additional monitoring options.

List of Monitoring Options

The connect and receive time out fields allow you to specify the maximum time the event monitor will wait to connect to the server, or to receive page content. The "Follow HTTP Redirects" checkbox will automatically begin monitoring the new page location in the event of a 301 status. Save Downloaded Page Content is another checkbox that will allow you to save the downloaded page content to a specified file on the FrameFlow server. This is useful for diagnostics and troubleshooting.

HTTPS Certificates

By default, this event monitor will alert you about conditions affecting the SSL certificates when you have set it to connect to one or more web site using HTTPS.

List of HTTPS Monitoring Options

The option to warn about invalid certificate common names is to alert you if the name on the web certificate does not match the address of the web site you are monitoring. The invalid certificate dates option allows you to be notified when your certificate has expired. The option to warn about invalid certificate authority will alert if the signing authority of the certificate is not trusted by the local system. The option to warn about other certificate problems is a catch-all for anything else that could go wrong with your HTTPS certificates.

Password Protected Pages

If your page is password protected, you can use an authentication profile to access it, or use custom credentials. Custom credentials are a specific username/password combination that the event monitor should use to authenticate with the server.

Summary

In this tutorial, we showed you how to use the Advanced Web Site event monitor. Check back in the future for more specialized tutorials in this area, especially for advanced content checks.

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