How To Easily Set Up Monitoring For Your WordPress Site And Minimize Downtime

How To Easily Set Up Monitoring For Your WordPress Site And Minimize Downtime

Every WordPress site owner should care about their site’s availability, regardless of whether its daily traffic can be counted on one hand or runs into millions.

Services that monitor your site’s uptime are fairly common and setting them up is quick and easy. In this Weekend WordPress Project we’ll step through how to add the Monitor service from Automattic’s Jetpack suite of plugins.

Promo image for monitoring
Monitoring is quick and easy to set up and of real benefit

Jetpack, from Automattic, is a super-plugin that brings over 30 features to any WordPress installation, including Monitor, a free service that:

…will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected.

Monitor will regularly check your site to make sure that it is responding as expected; if not, then it will send you a notification that your site is down (you’ll also get notified if it’s still down after an hour):

A screengrab of the Monitor email about a site being down
A friendly reminder that disaster has occured

When Monitor detects that your site is back up, then you’ll get a notification detailing the time your site went down, the time it came back up and the total downtime. Useful information if you are tracking your uptime against an SLA:

Screengrab of the Monitor email sent when a site is back up
The Site Back Up email complete with downtime.

The alerts will come via an email, although because they have a consistent sender and subject then you can always use a service such as IFTTT to generate the notification in an alternative format such as an SMS or Tweet.

To use Monitor, you must first install Jetpack (if you haven’t already) and then activate and configure Monitor.

Step 1 – Installing Jetpack

Whilst we are only concerned in this post with Monitor, Jetpack comes with a whole host of goodies and is well worth installing.

Just search for Jetpack in Plugins > Add New and click on Install.

To use Jetpack, you’ll need to link your site to a WordPress.com account. Whilst this is slightly annoying when you want to use functionality that happens completely “on site”, in the case of a service like Monitor it actually makes sense, so if you site is not linked to a WordPress.com account, or you don’t have a WordPress.com account, then follow the prompts to set this up.

Once your site is linked to WordPress.com, you’ll be able to activate Jetpacks modules. In fact, some 20 modules will have been automatically activated and so take a look through the list at Jetpack > Settings and deactivate any that you do not need.

Step 2 – Activate And Configure Monitor

Monitor is not one of the modules that is automatically activated, so in Jetpack > Settings find Monitor and click on Activate. Nothing much will happen other than you’ll see a message at the top of the page that Monitor has been activated.

Scroll down to Monitor and click on Configure.

Screengrab of the Monitor settings page
Not much configuring required to get Monitor up and running

There’s not much to configure, indeed the only option is to Receive Monitor Email Notifications, which is really a given. You’ll see that the email address is the address from your WordPress.com account, so if you want to change it then you can click on the Edit button which will take you to your WordPress profile.

Using IFTTT To Get Notified On Your Mobile

A graphical representation of an IFTTT recipe
Get Jetpack emails as SMS with a simple IFTTT recipe

Monitor’s notifications are email only, so what if you’d prefer to get an SMS sent to your mobile phone every time that Monitor sent you notification?

The easiest way to achieve this is by using IFTTT, the “If This Then That” service that Joe covered recently. To make a IFTTT “recipe” to send an SMS when you receive an email from Jetpack is quick and easy and runs along the lines of:

IF email arrives in Gmail from sender [email protected] THEN send an SMS to [number] with sender and subject

If you haven’t used IFTTT before then it’s well worth a play for this or any of the recipes that Joe describes in his post.

Setting up notifications for your WordPress site is very easy indeed with Jetpack Notifications and a little help from IFTTT. Whilst big WordPress installs might require more sophisticated monitoring, Monitor is more than adequate for most WordPress owners.

And with it being so easy to set up, there’s no excuse now for not being the first to know there’s a problem with your site.