When you host your own website on a Virtual Private Server or on a DigitalOcean droplet, you want to know if your website is down (and receive a warning when that happens). Plus it’s fun to see the uptime graphs and the performance metrics. Did you know these services are available for free?
I will compare 3 SaaS vendors who offer uptime performance monitoring tools. Of course, you don’t get the full functionality for free. There are always limitations as these vendors like you to upgrade to a premium (paid) account. But for an enthousiast website, having access to these free basic options is already a big win!
I also need to address the elephant in the room: Pingdom. This is the golden standard of uptime performance monitoring tools. However, you will pay at least €440 per year for the privilege. That is a viable option for a small business. Not for an enthousiast like myself.
The chosen free alternatives are StatusCake, Freshping and UptimeRobot. There are many other options, but these ones are mentioned in multiple lists of ‘the best monitoring tools’. They also have user friendly dashboards. So let’s run with it.
The first option that I have tried is StatusCake. This tool not only offers the uptime monitoring, but also offers a free SpeedTest. Of course you can use the free speedtests of Google and Pingdom. But this won’t allow you to see the day-to-day differences.
The images below show the default dashboard for uptime monitoring, the detailed uptime graph for one URL and the webform for creating a new uptime test.
The next images show the default dashboard for speed tests, the detailed speed graph results and the webform for creating a new speed test.
The basic plan is free and this gets you 10 uptime tests and 1 page speed test. A paid superior plan will set you back €200 per year, which is way to much for an enthousiast like myself.
Freshping is the second alternative that I tried. This is a Freshworks tool, so that means that it works together with other Freshworks tools such as Freshdesk, Freshsales, Freshmarketeer, Freshchat and Freshstatus. And all of these tools have a free tier. Wow, that is a lot of value for a start-up business. Of course they will like you to upgrade later on and stay with their company.
However, we are now focussing on Freshping. The below images show the default dashboard, the detailed uptime graph for one URL and the webform for creating a new uptime test.
It looks nice, but it gives you much less information than StatusCake. However they do provide value. The sprout plan is free and this gets you 50 uptime tests. A paid blossom account will set you back €119 per year. That looks cheap, but it won’t get you SSL monitoring (which is included in the paid StatusCake plan). So you will need to pay €389 per year to get this functionality. And that is too close to Pingdom, if you are only interested in uptime performance monitoring.
The last alternative that I tried is UptimeRobot. The big advantage of this tool is that the paid plan is very cheap. So let’s get to that first. The basic plan is free and this gets you 50 uptime tests. So it does offer value. A paid pro plan costs €49 per year, which is a surmountable ammount for an enthousiast like myself. This will include SSL monitoring.
So what do you get? The images below show the default dashboard for uptime monitoring, the detailed uptime graph for one URL and the webform for creating a new uptime test.
The user interface of UptimeRobot is fairly minimalistic. And you need to like the gray/green color combination (I am looking at you openSUSE and Linux Mint users). But the interface is easy enough to use. I find the graphs lacking in detail.
When comparing the free plans of StatusCake, Freshping and UptimeRobot the winner is StatusCake by a sizable margin. It not only offers uptime monitoring, but also 1 speed test. It provides detailed information on the graphs and you also see the information in tables that can be easily sorted.
When comparing the paid plans from the viewpoint of an enthousiast website owner, the winner is UptimeRobot. They offer both uptime testing and SSL monitoring for €49 per year. Which is a surmountable price.
Looking at these altenatives from the perspective of a startup business, Freshping starts to look more interesting. But a startup business would be better off by using the other Freshworks products and either pay less for UptimeRobot or pay a little bit more for a Pingdom standard plan.
Published on: 17 January 2020