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Getting started with Alertdesk

Start monitoring your website within minutes.

Monitoring your website’s uptime and performance may sound like something that requires a lot of technical knowledge to setup. That may have been the case before, but not anymore. We believe that it shouldn’t be a hassle to monitor your website. As a result, we have created a straightforward and intuitive tool that makes website monitoring a piece of cake.

In this article, we will guide how to set up your first check and how to understand the check report. We will also show how you easily can set up users and teams and how you can bring your monitoring with you on the go by using our App.

Lastly but not least, we will go into the technical stuff by showing exactly how we perform a check. If you’re already bored by this sentence, then don’t worry, you can skip this section.

Alright, let’s get started!

1. Start your free trial at Alertdesk

Before you can start using Alertdesk, you need to create an account.

When you’ve created your account, you should see this screen. Click the big fancy button to create your first check.

2. Creating your first check

2.1. Create your first check

For now, we only support the HTTP check. In the near future, you will be able to make checks from a real Chrome-browser, monitor your site’s performance and more.

What is an HTTP check?

Simply put – an HTTP check is us saying “Hello!” to your website. We check if we get a “Hello!” back and measure how long time this takes. We log the result (Did we get a “Hello!” back – meaning is it up or down) and the response time. Note here, that the response time is how fast the server responds and not how fast your website loads. This will be available in the Browser check.

You can run this check as often as every minute. We automatically test from multiple geographic locations to ensure that your website is responding.

To prevent false positives, we always double-check on failure from other locations to verify the site is in fact down.

You can add headers and setup validating rules (assertions) if you go under the advanced settings.

2.2. Select what you would like to monitor

What do you want to check

Enter the URL you want to monitor and choose how often it should be checked.

Enter the exact URL of your website. E.g. https://www.alertdesk.com

You can validate the URL if you enable the advanced settings.

2.2.1. Advanced settings

These settings are for advanced users and aren’t necessary for a regular check

Enable advanced settings

By enabling advanced settings (1) for your check, you will get access to set up the request data and how you want to validate the response data.

  • HTTP Methods (4)
    Set up how we send the request to the server
  • Follow redirects (3)
    By default, this option is enabled. It allows our check runner to follow HTTP 3XX redirect responses. This can be from HTTP to HTTPS. We will follow up to 5 redirects.
  • HTTP Headers
    Set up headers we add in the request to the server
  • Assertions
    Set up rules for validation of the response data. You can create multiple rules.
  • Check interval
    How often we should perform the check
  • Check location
    Set up from which Region/Location we should perform our checks

Run request (2)
While setting up your check, you can continuously validate the response by using then Run request function.

When hitting the button, we will execute the check with the settings you have made. You can see the result in a new window.

Run request example

2.3 Choose who should get notified

Set up who should get notified

Now it’s time to choose when and who should get notified if the check changes state (goes down and when it comes back up again). Alertdesk uses teams to manage these notification settings. We automatically create a default team with yourself as a team member when you first set up your account. You can manage and edit your team on the “Team”-page.

You can set up when you want to get notified:

  • Check DOWN
    By default, you will get notified instantly. If you want a delay on when you get notified, it can be adjusted in the range-bar.
  • Check UP
    By default, you will get notified instantly. If you want a delay on when you get notified, it can be adjusted in the range-bar.

Example
You want to get notified 10 minutes after your check goes DOWN.

If the check change state to UP after 8 minutes, you will NOT get notificed.

If the check is still down after 10 minutes, you will get notified.

2.4. Confirm and name your check

When you name your check, you must use a unique and recognizable name. This name will be visible on all dashboards and will be used for you to identify your check. You can also add tags (1) to your check, and these can be used to filter the checks on your dashboards, etc.

Name your check and add tags

All there is left to do is to view the check summary and click on the SAVE CHECK button. Congratulations – you made your first check.

3. The dashboard

All the checks you create will appear on your dashboard. Here you get a quick overview and can quickly see if one should go down. By default, it shows live-data from the last hour. To change the time period, e.g. to “Last 7 days”, click on the “Period”-button in the right top corner.

To view the check report, click on the title of the check.

4. Understanding the check report

On the check report page you will get a detailed overview of your check. We will cover each section below. Like the dashboard, you can also here change the time period by clicking on the Period”-button in the right top corner.

In the left top corner, you will find the name of your check, wrapped in a colored box with an icon on the left.

This always shows the current state of your check (also if you change the time period). Your check can be one of following three states:

Up: Your website is up.

Down: Your website is down.

Flapping: If your check bounces between up and down and we can’t determine if your website is up or down.

Read more about the state here.

Data used in widgets

All widgets, except “Events”, illustrates the data for the selected time period (default “live – last hour). The “Events”-widgets shows all events that have happened since the check was created.

4.1. The basic widgets

Availability: Shows the uptime in percentage.

Downtime: Shows downtime in minutes.

Flapping: Shows flapping in minutes. Flapping is when the check bounces between up and down and we can’t determine if your website is up or down.

Response time: The average amount of time it takes for the server to respond.

4.2. Response time graph

The response time graph illustrates the response for the given period. In the top right corner, you can see the average, minimum and maximum response time.

The bar below illustrates whether or not there have been uptime, downtime or flapping. This bar will change from green to red if downtime occurs or yellow if flapping should occur.

4.3. Events

Events show all events that have happened since the check was created. Note that this list doesn’t change when you choose a different time period. You can see the time range below the label.

Next to each event, is a button. When you click it the time period will automatically change to that period. Furthermore “Log” section will also only view logs for the selected event, for better investigation.

4.4. Geographic response time

Geographic response time

In order to verify that your website is up or down, we randomly circle between multiple geographic check locations.

In this widget, you can see the response time for each geographic location. If you hover the colored bar next to the location, you get a detailed overview of the response time.  

4.5. Log

Each check that is performed will be logged here. You get a quick overview of the state, test, time, response time and location of each test.

Even though it might seem like the same– state and test are two different things. To prevent false positives, we always double-check on failure from another location to verify the site is in fact down, and triple-check, when it comes back up.

This means, that a test can fail, but the state will still be shown as “up” until we have verified. Likewise, can the state be down until we have verified it is back up again.

You can click on each check to get even more detailed data. Here you can view the checks assertions and the data it receives (headers, query params, response body).

5. The Alertdesk App

Don’t want to be locked to a desk in order to look up on your checks? No problem, take your monitoring with you on the go with the Alertdesk App.

The App is available for both Android and iOS.

6. Notifications

When a check goes down you will get notified via email or push notification (requires you have the app installed).

Soon you will also be able to get notifications via Slack.

Updated on March 11, 2020