I continue to grapple with the consequences of uninstalling Jetpack on my WordPress website. Earlier, I’d written about how I needed to find an alternative contact form solution to replace the one that Jetpack provided. Now, there’s one more piece of functionality that I’m sure many people use, and which Jetpack provides for free – site monitoring.
Keeping Up with Your Site’s Health
All web hosting providers promise high uptime. You’ll see percentages thrown around like “99.99% uptime!” in the marketing materials and think to yourself “Well then, I don’t need to worry about my site going down”!
Except it’s not that simple. If you carefully read the TOS agreements on these companies’ legal page, you’ll see that there are broad categories of exceptions. Websites can be taken down for regular maintenance, for example. Or accidents beyond the host’s control. Often, the way downtime is measured can also mislead you into thinking that your site will always be up. For example, if your web host counts “number of minutes of downtime”, then if there’s a glitch causing your site to be unavailable for 30 seconds, it might not have been counted at all!
Moral of the story: You can’t always trust your hosting provider’s statistics about site uptime. You need to monitor this for yourself.
Integrating with 3rd Party Services
Since you can’t keep a constant lookout for whether or not your site is up, we use 3rd party services for this. So far, I’ve been using Jetpack for this. It automatically allows you to opt-in to a service that monitors your site for outages. Great right? But when do you do when you disable Jetpack (like I have)?
There are three alternative services that I’d like to look into:
Out of these, the first two are free. The 3rd, DropMySite includes it along with their backup plan, which I’ll talk about below, and how it pertains to NameHero specifically.
Cloudflare Health Checks
In the Cloudflare dashboard, under the “Traffic” tab, you can see the “Health Checks” and “Health Checks Analytics” sections:
Here, you can create a health check for your origin server that’s surprisingly sophisticated – might I even say, perhaps a little too sophisticated for the average user. Most of us don’t want to do anything fancy like specify whether or not it’s a POST or a GET request, or specify the number of retries. Nonetheless, if you want to get into the weeds, then the Cloudflare health check plan is great for you.
I’ve used Status Cake for a while ever since they promoted their service in the wake of Pingdom shutting down. I’d written a detailed review of Status Cake at the time on the NameHero blog. It’s a pretty solid service, and you can upgrade the free plan to encompass other functionality like page speed assessments and more.
DropMySite is my favorite 3rd party backup tool, and it comes with a special NameHero discount. It blows the other alternatives like Jetpack and CodeGuard out of the water with its pricing and flexibility. The good news is that along with the ability to backup your site, it also offers a section for monitoring downtime. For example, here I’ve integrated it with my site WP-Tweaks.com:
And once it’s run for a while, it will give you performance graphs of the ping times like this:
DropMySite can ping your site from 4 continents, so it’s as comprehensive as I need it to be. Of course, they don’t have as wide a selection of servers as Cloudflare (no one does), but it’s good enough. And since I already have a subscription to DropMySite, I use the health check for free. In its absence, I would probably use Status Cake instead.
For me, this should mark the end of my efforts to find alternatives to Jetpack functionality. But others use different features of Jetpack, and I might talk about alternatives for those in the future as well!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!