Monitor Your Servers With Livewatch

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 19, 2008
Updated • Nov 13, 2013

Livewatch is the server monitoring service that I'm using to monitor my dedicated servers 24/7 to make sure that they are running. The main advantage of Livewatch over similar services is that you can check every element of the server and not only the HTTP connection. It is for example possible to check the HTTP connection, MySQL, Email, FTP, selected ports and pretty much everything else that you have running through regular expressions.

This might sound confusing and difficult at first but it is not. I use it to check that the http and mysql services are running on my servers. The HTTP connection can be checked with a PHP script that they offer on their website. Just download and upload it to your web server and make them observe the path that links to the script.

Users get notified in numerous ways if a service fails. They can receive emails, SMS, instant messenger notifications and even phone calls depending on the subscribed plan.

Livewatch is offering one free plan that is good for observing one element of a server, for example the HTTP connection. Each account is getting a certain amount of free SMS and phone calls per month. The free account gets one free SMS per month and unlimited email notifications while the Premium account receives 30 SMS, 15 phone calls and unlimited emails as well.

If you manage multiple servers or want to check on various services running on the server you could subscribe to a paid plan (like I did).

The intervals that are used to check the services are lower in the paid plans as well. The services on a free account are checked every 10 minutes and every 5 minutes if an error was found while the Gold premium services are checked every minute.

SMS are send into foreign countries as well (the service is based in Germany) but are charged double the amount of a single SMS which means that two SMS are subtracted for every single SMS that is send out.

Take a look at the in depth feature list that compares the free and premium accounts.

Here is the database php checker that I'm using in combination with regular expressions to make sure my database is up and running:

$dbhost = 'localhost';
$dbuser = 'enter database user';
$dbpass = 'enter database password;
$conn = mysql_connect($dbhost, $dbuser, $dbpass) or die ('Error');
$dbname = 'enter database name';
if ($conn) {echo "ok";}
else {echo "fehler";}

This simple script tries to connect to the MySQL database and prints ok if the connection was successful and Error if it was not. I'm using the regular expression /ok/ on the Livewatch website to check if ok is returned which means that the database is up. If ok is not returned the Livewatch service assumes the database is down and will notify me.

I recently had a chat with their excellent support and they offered a bonus for Ghacks readers. If you signup for an account you get an additional 50 cents in your account which is good for 3 SMS. (And no, this is not a referral link, I'm not getting anything if you signup for free or premium accounts. I just like the service very much)


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  1. Joe said on January 11, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Don’t forget! We’ve been in business since 2001 and monitor companies such as HP, Pfizer, as well as small business sites! We’re inexpensive and we’ve been around long enough to really know what we’re doing!

    1. Joe Steele said on December 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      Is still in business? Been trying to reach them for a long time and emails get bounced and phones are not answered?

  2. Mikayel said on May 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I will suggest to check, which provides much more features than livewatch with very affordable prices. They also have campaign currently for the users of other service providers, so in case you switch now from other providers you can get 50% discount for all the yearly plans

  3. dahamsta said on July 20, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Pingdom is another service, with a lovely GUI.


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