Myth #1: A free monitoring option is the best choice

You know the old adage, “you get what you pay for?” Well, it’s true. While it may be tempting to set up a free service to monitor your websites and services, in the end, you’re better off spending the small, monthly investment on a paid service. Nearly all free services limit the number of websites you can monitor or they only check for outages every hour. Many times they only offer notifications through email while paid services can natively use Twitter, SMS, Hipchat and everything in between.

Myth #2: I need to be notified the SECOND something goes down!

When you have the responsibility for making sure that servers and websites aren’t having uptime issues, you probably lean toward wanting to be notified whenever the tiniest of blips happen. Despite this natural tendency, if you’re already operating this way, you know that it’s taxing. Getting emails at 3 a.m. or texts while you’re sitting down for dinner? Most of the time the outage was reported even though nothing actually happened. When you’re vetting a monitoring service make sure they have the functionality in place to prevent false notifications. The best services double-check outages from multiple locations to ensure accuracy.

Myth #3: If I monitor my website, I’m good to go!

When you’re first setting up monitoring for your business you always think of the main website first. It makes sense that the customer-facing website needs to have as minimal downtime as possible, especially if you’re running something like an e-commerce that directly depends on revenue from the website. While this is important, if you stop there, you’re forgetting about other important monitoring needs.

For example, do you have a client access FTP server? What happens when it goes down and the client experience is compromised? Do you run your own email servers without monitoring them for downtime? What happens when they go down for hours? Maybe everyone in your office accesses a network drive for back-ups and file sharing. What would happen if that went down and you didn’t know about it right away?

Monitoring beyond the website helps ensure that your business runs as usual even if your website is working perfectly.

Myth #4: I can just do it myself with open source!

This myth is similar to #1 but often times it can lead to even more unsatisfactory outcomes. First off, don’t get us wrong, open source software is amazing. However, it can become a problem when you’re using it to solve a problem that has already been solved in the name of “saving money.” Think about how many times you have approached a problem and attempted to “homebrew” a solution. Have you ever kept track of the upfront cost of setting it up? What about the ongoing costs when problems arise? There are no support teams or forums that can replace a dedicated team of developers behind a reliable monitoring product.

We hope that this article has helped you dispel some of the myths surrounding website monitoring and empowers you to make an informed choice! Know any other common myths around monitoring products or solutions? Share them in the comments so we can dispel them in future posts.

The IP address for our Atlanta 2 monitoring node will be changing shortly on Friday, July 10th 2015. The address will be changed from:





We apologize for the short notice on this matter. If you are running checks from the Atlanta 2 monitoring point you may need to update your firewall rules to include this new IP address to ensure proper monitoring.

If you may have any questions or would like some assistance please feel free to contact and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Visitors, conversion rates, and security are critical, but if your site is slow or down, they become insignificant. Site availability and visitor experience are the sine qua non of e-commerce. We compiled industry research and some of our own experience to come up with three big reasons every e-commerce manager needs to monitor uptime and performance on their sites.

  1. Downtime can do serious damage to your brand.

In the world of retail, your brand is your promise. It’s how your customers know you. The same is true in e-commerce and if your brand does business online, every facet of your customers’ interaction needs to be top-notch. Making sure your website is up to snuff and mitigating any downtime is pivotal in making sure that your brand remains consistent. Don’t just take our word for it: KISSMetrics published a study showing that 44% of online shoppers who have a bad experience on a website will tell others about it. Don’t keep spending money on acquiring new customers until you make sure that they’re having a great experience when they come to shop with you online.

  1. Customers don’t come back to sites that are slow or are down.

Tick, tock. Did you know that after three seconds of waiting time, 40% of visitors will leave your website? It makes sense that people don’t like to wait around online. In the age of Netflix, Amazon, and Google, consumers expect on-demand services and results. Not only does waiting time make visitors leave, it can also prevent them from coming back. Research from KISSmetrics has shown that “79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same site again.” For e-commerce, lifetime customer value and brand loyalty is not something you can afford to ignore. Monitoring helps you keep your customers happy and coming back.

  1. You can actually turn customers over to your competitors.

Market share is all about getting a leg up on your competitors but what happens when all of your effort to get people to your site ends up helping the competition more than you? This isn’t just a marketer’s nightmare, it’s actually happening! If your website is frustrating your visitors, 72% of them will try a competitor instead! If your site is lagging or it’s down, all of your marketing efforts are actually helping the other guys.

These are just three great reasons why you need to monitor the uptime and performance of your sites.  A monitoring solution that will let you know the second your site goes down, monitor overall health and performance, and provide actionable insights, can be incredibly valuable for e-commerce managers.

For a high-level overview of uptime performance for some of the largest e-commerce brands, check out our Performance Index.


With this winter’s historic snow still piling up here in Chicago, our developers
have been stuck indoors delivering lots of new functionality for all of our
customers. We’ve got a wide range of improvements this time, hitting most of
our major systems so there should be something for everyone in this release. It
looks like spring is still several months away (at least) so there will
definitely be more to come soon – keep an eye on our blog soon for details of
what’s coming up.

American politics is always a hectic affair and the rollout of the for Americans everywhere has been a bumpy path. In response to this, we would like to release some facts about the response time and availability of the website for bloggers and journalists to use as a resource in their own coverage. Using our own Panopta server monitoring system, we set up network checks on the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.Gov website finding it was only available for use by the American public 86% of the time during the month of November!

That 86% availability is, by the standards of any online industry, abysmal. Now, it is understood that the roll out of was “fumbled” but how and where was fumbled? We checked the servers, every minute, to check different aspects of the public facing infrastructure including Authoritative DNS, HTTP availability and content checks.



The holidays are now officially in full swing, from the door wreaths on your neighbor’s door and the lights on the trees on main street, this means its time for another update from the Panopta Holiday Index.

If you have been keeping up with the news, you’ll know that if you have been trying to buy health insurance on the new health insurance exchange you get message like this: 1

We’re excited to announce a large number of enhancements to Panopta as part of our v3.11 release! This release included a fair amount of backend improvements which brings an even more robust and reliable monitoring experience to you. In addition to those backend improvements, here are some of the user facing enhancements which you can benefit from:

Sign in with Twitter

Twitter Login

Now you can sign into Panopta using your Twitter login in addition to our normal username/password authentication. Eliminate the need for another login you have to remember by linking your twitter account to your Panopta login! To set this up, go to Settings | My Account in the control panel and click the Connect Your Twitter Account button. This will walk you through Twitters approval flow, then you can always login with the button on the login page.

While you’re at it, make sure to follow @Panopta to catch all of our latest news and announcements!

Enhancements to maintenance schedules

Many Panopta customers use the maintenance schedule functionality extensively. Maintenance schedules allow you to configure Panopta with periods of time where your systems/servers will be down intentionally and when you don’t want alerts to be sent. In order to make this even easier to use, we’ve added the ability to search through archived maintenance schedules along with the ability to copy an archived schedule for a brand new maintenance schedule.

In the IT industry, infrastructure fails all the time – it’s a known fact that everyone accepts-and there are thousands of tech professionals who won’t tell you anything about it. Usually, the details of failures are kept private, either never mentioned or sanitized into a generic root cause analysis (RCA) that gives only basic information. Very seldom do you get to see what really happened behind the scenes when things go wrong, which is truly unfortunate.

However, these failures, as the old adage goes, are a great teacher. The battle scars and war stories of seasoned system administrators have built their character and establish the skill to quickly assess and resolve problems that come up. Getting to see problems arise and see how they’re dealt with is the best way for more junior staff to learn their trade. Unfortunately the important problems aren’t textbook and this often requires real fires and good teachers in order to gain real knowledge.

One of our customers recently ran into a series of intermittent hardware problems, which led to a number of outages for their SaaS application over a period of 24 hours. They’ve agreed to allow us to describe the problems they ran into and the steps they took to resolve them, along with the lessons they took away from the event and their plans for improving their infrastructure.

We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of version 2 of the Panopta REST API! The V2 API exposes all of the functionality which is available to you through our control panel site and has been in beta use for several weeks now. We’ve now released this to all of our customers and have made it available on all of our plans.

The Panopta API is a great way to enhance your monitoring experience even further by pulling critical uptime & outage data into external apps for a powerful mashup. Acknowledge an outage or escalate it to advance the notification schedule to it’s notification step. Or use the API to automate adding/removing servers, checks and users to Panopta when something changes on your end for a fully integrated experience. The possibilities go on. We’re happy to help you think of other ways to integrate as well, just reach out to our first class support team.

To begin using the API, simply login to your control panel and access the API key management page from under the settings menu. You can setup API keys for different purposes and designate them as read-only or write access. Once you’ve setup an API key, you”ll be able to immediately start seeing it in action using our API explorer tool.

A powerful API is only as useful as the documentation you provide showing how to use it. By inputting your API key, you can immediately see all the API endpoints available to you and the operations/parameters it takes. See below:

Panopta REST API - Overview

Once you’ve selected an API endpoint to explore, you’re presented with an easy to use interface to input any of the optional parameters with an explanation. Submit the form and immediately see the request url, response code, body and headers! Not a single line of code needed and you’re able to explore the power of the API!

Panopta REST API - Detail2

You can access the API explorer here or just visit the API key section in your control panel. Developers will be happy to hear that every new feature added to Panopta will be represented in the API as well.

Have an idea for additional API’s which should be added? Or want to show us how you’ve used the Panopta API to enhance your monitoring experience? Email our dev team or send us a note on Twitter (@panopta) and tell us all about it. You”ll make our day!

Last but not least, we want to really thank the developers of swagger for developing a framework which enabled us to bring such a powerful tool to all our valued customers.