When you first start a blog and you’re slowly building your audience and your traffic, your site’s uptime/availability is not something that you think about often. When your audience is still small and your blog is down for one or two or even ten hours it really doesn’t matter that much, as the potential number of people who may have tried to visit it and failed is small, and most of them at that point are friends or are somehow connected to you and will likely come back again.
While it can still hurt a site, especially from a search engine point of view, it may not be that problematic for the webmaster at that point in time.
Once traffic starts to grow and you notice that you can earn some money from your site, down time is something that needs to be taken serious. Not only will you lose revenue during the down time, you also may lose visitors who may not come back if they cannot access your site the first time they tried to do so.
In my experience, even when my hosting company promised 99.8% uptime, this began to increasingly seem like meaningless marketing hype when I started getting emails from friends and strangers alike informing me that my site was down at a specific point in time. This usually happened when I was sound asleep in bed due to traffic peaking at that time.
I also noticed that the net effect of this was that I was becoming a bit paranoid; if my traffic seemed lower than it usually is I immediately wondered if me site had been down. I started looking for a resource that would monitor my site for downtimes and inform me automatically so I didn’t have to spend time wondering about it. This is when I found Montastic.
Montastic is a very simple service: create an account, then enter the URLs of the sites you would like it to monitor (up to a limit of 100 sites). It will then check the sites on your list within 10 minute intervals and from 2 locations. If and when it detects that any of the sites are down, it will immediately report this by email or through RSS. Once the site is back up it will report that as well.
What’s interesting about Montastic is that you are not limited to just your sites. After listing my 3 websites I decided to include 2 blogs that are similar to my main blog just for benchmarking purposes. To my surprise I discovered that while my site went down for about 2 hours once this week, these other sites seemed to be down for a few hours at least every other day, which was interesting to know, and made me think that perhaps my hosting company isn’t so bad after all.
Montastic was created by a team of "open source fanatics" that developed it for their own use and decided to make it available to everyone as a 100% free service.
Update: Montastic is still offering a free plan to webmasters, but it is limited to 3 urls and checking intervals of 30 minutes. Paid plans are available that increase the number of monitored urls up to 200 and the checking interval down to every 5 minutes.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.