What’s the Difference Between Free Website Monitoring and a Real Website Monitoring Service?

A lot of people ask why they should pay for website monitoring services when they can simply sign up for one of the many free website monitoring services available on the Web. The answer to that question is actually quite simple and straightforward – you get what you pay for. There’s a reason why Alertra customers rest assured that they will indeed know if and when their website goes down or is having performance issues. If you’re wondering what the difference is between a paid website monitoring service and the free website monitoring services that are out there, here are a few things to keep in mind…

What Do You Really Get for Free?

Many of the “free” website monitoring services on the Web are actually “bait and switch” advertising tactics to get you to sign up for the free service and then upgrade to a paid service that actually provides any real value. For example, one website monitoring service that offers a “free” website monitoring package also offers many upgrades that you have to pay for. For example, the free service only checks your site every 30 minutes and only notifies you of a site outage via email. With Alertra, you can have your site monitored at the rate that you choose, from every 60 seconds to every 60 minutes, and if your site is suffering an outage or performance issues we don’t just email you. Alertra can also notify you by phone, send you an SMS message or a message via Google Talk, in addition to email.

Why is the Method of Notification So Important?

The people who sign up for a free website monitor product do not often understand that if their website host’s servers go down, their email is likely to go down with it. If they are counting on an email to arrive to notify them that the site is down, that email isn’t going to show up until the problem has been corrected. That means that during the critical period of website downtime when you need to be communicating with your customers and putting your custom 503 error page into action (we will discuss in a future post why this is so important), you have no idea that your site is even experiencing an issue. Unless you have a monitoring service that is going to call you or send you an SMS message when your site is down, you don’t know for certain that you’re going to be aware of any website downtime that may be occurring when the downtime is actually in progress.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

There is a saying that many wise people live by – there is no such thing as a free lunch. While it may seem to be cynical in nature, it is quite true. Nothing of quality is ever free in this world and website monitoring service is no exception to this rule. While free trials that introduce you to a service are one thing, a service that is actually free for an indefinite period of time probably has very little to offer. If you rely on such a service to notify you of website downtime or performance issues, your business, your profits and your site’s reputation may suffer because of it.