Understanding the Difference between External Server Monitoring and Internal Server Monitoring

If you manage the server that your website is hosted on, then you know that server monitoring is an absolute must. However, when a person begins to delve into the world of server monitoring services, it becomes immediately apparent that not all server monitoring resources are created equal and that there are different types of server monitoring available, including internal server monitoring and external server monitoring. Which type of server monitoring is right for you? Or do you need a combination of both? To understand the answer to that question you first need to understand the differences between these two types of server monitoring.

Internal Server Monitoring

Internal server monitoring is software that runs inside your server. The software checks your system resources and reports your processes back in real time. You can track a wide range of variables such as the server’s memory usage, processes, CPU load, page load times, and network traffic using this type of server monitoring. When internal problems arise, an alert can be sent to you from your server, such as when you begin to run out of disk space. Utilizing internal server monitoring, you are able to collect server data over a period of time along with real time monitoring to see how well your server is performing. This enables you to understand when your server may need maintenance or when you may need to add additional capacity to your system. However, if your server goes down completely, then the software that runs the internal server monitoring goes down with it. This means that you won’t know about the server downtime until you happen to stumble across the outage for yourself. This is where external server monitoring comes into play.

External Server Monitoring

If you do not manage your own server, you can’t install server monitoring software for internal server monitoring purposes. If your server goes down completely, your internal server monitoring won’t be able to alert you as to the problem. That leaves you vulnerable to extended periods of server downtime. However, if a third-party server monitoring service is monitoring your servers for you, it doesn’t matter if your server goes down. Your external monitoring service will know of the outage within seconds and will alert you via phone call, email, and/or SMS text message, depending on the specific service you use. The external server monitoring service will regularly check specified ports or URL content from a number of locations and when something isn’t working properly or stops working altogether, the server monitoring service sends you a notification so you can get to work to fix the issue as quickly as possible.

Which Type of Monitoring Do You Need?

Internal server monitoring in and of itself is not enough to protect your website’s server. If you want to protect your server to the fullest, you need either rely on an external server monitoring service or a combination of external server monitoring and internal server monitoring. Only with outside servers located in different geographical locations monitoring your server can you be sure that you will know if something goes awry with your server the moment it happens, no matter how severe the problem may be.