Is Synthetic Monitoring a Right Approach for Your Website?

Monitoring and analyzing website performance from end user perspective help businesses understand bottlenecks in their websites, servers, networks and web applications. They opt for monitoring services to ensure quality of their websites which includes uptime, functionality and performance. Monitoring helps in identifying the problems before they arise and create interruption to website working. Choosing the right type of monitoring help businesses mitigate unexpected downtime losses. 

Web performance monitoring is basically of two types, real user monitoring and synthetic monitoring. Each type has its own approach to site monitoring. While RUM (real time monitoring) uses real end user data for checking website performance, synthetic website monitoring makes use of web browser emulation. In synthetic monitoring, scripts are created which simulate the environment of a real time end user. The tests are performed under simulated environment for checking response time, functionality and availability of the website. Here scripts are used to create activities which can be monitored. The activity may be simple ping to verify if the server is up or it can be simulated activity by the user using browser.

How Synthetic Monitoring Works?

Synthetic website monitoring makes use of a robot client to carry out simulated transactions which are automated to mimic exactly what an end user will do. It can be performed both internally and externally. In internal monitoring the performance is monitored inside the firewall whereas in external monitoring, website is watched outside the firewall. The testing scripts are run at regular intervals from multiple server locations across the globe to test site response and availability of the website. 

Monitor Website Performance Even Before Launching

Synthetic monitoring monitors performance of your applications and APIs even before launching it. A fully featured synthetic monitoring system allows for granular measurements like performance measurement from the browser and specific object load times. The simulation process for end user in synthetic monitoring differs from the actual user only in a sense that navigational paths in synthetic monitoring doesn’t change.

Detect and diagnose the problems before the end user figures it out

In synthetic monitoring tests are performed from different locations across the globe or inside the firewall, monitoring APIs, websites and SaaS applications. The tests are independent of traffic and can be performed during less traffic environment as well.

Helps to determine the performance of the website during peak time in advance

Suppose there are areas on your website which do not attract much traffic. But you are sure that a marketing campaign may draw huge traffic to a particular part of the website. Synthetic website monitoring provides you the ability to simulate traffic to that part of website and test performance of the website.

Monitor more complex user transactions and business processes

Websites are used to perform complex transactions like user logging in, searching, adding items to cart and performing merchandise activities. Such transactions can also be simulated and tested using synthetic website monitoring.

Best Monitoring Approach: Combination of Synthetic and RUM

Synthetic monitoring benefits websites by emulating possible error scenarios, but still cannot give precise data on customer behaviour in real time environments. Since the data is measured using synthetic traffic, it provides only limited visibility on performance issues. Similar is the case with RUM. It allows businesses to understand online user trends but cannot provide holistic performance data. Though RUM and synthetic both offer the benefits of monitoring website data they differ in execution techniques and the results obtained. The better approach for monitoring websites would be combining both RUM and synthetic. This will be the comprehensive monitoring approach with advantages of both monitoring types which allows better understanding of specific issues that are inhibiting site’s optimal performance.