Businesses of all kinds rely heavily on their websites to drive new business and keep customers happy. Software engineers and IT professionals can’t sit around checking every five minutes that websites are up and available to end-users. Uptime monitoring and website monitoring can help DevOps and IT teams proactively detect performance issues and avoid downtime. When uptime and website monitoring is worked in parallel with a plan for incident response, DevOps and IT teams can also act upon the information they receive in real-time.
Knowing when a website has an error or when it goes down is only half of the equation. Holistic website and uptime monitoring will drive actionable insights throughout the entire incident management lifecycle – from incident detection to incident resolution. Deeper context in a collaborative environment allows DevOps and IT teams to actually resolve problems in real-time. The faster you identify problems in your website, the faster you can fix them and deliver better customer experiences.
Before we dive into tips for real-time incident response for operations and DevOps teams, we need to first understand the basics of uptime monitoring and website monitoring. So, let’s take a peek at the similarities, differences and the relationship between website monitoring, uptime monitoring and incident response.
What is website monitoring?
Website monitoring, as well as website performance monitoring, refers to the process for tracking end-user interactions through a web application to test for errors and performance issues, verifying that users have a positive experience. Website monitoring can expose slow page load times, errors in online shopping carts, latency issues and much, much more.
A combination of synthetic monitoring and real-user monitoring can help you facilitate a comprehensive ecosystem for website monitoring. Synthetic monitoring allows you to proactively test the resilience and flexibility of your website while real-user monitoring can expose errors and performance problems encountered by real customers.
What is uptime monitoring?
Website monitoring is typically more granular while uptime monitoring is the overall availability of the website. Uptime is most often measured as a percentage, calculated by taking the total time of availability and subtracting the amount of downtime. Uptime monitoring tools can quickly detect when web pages are 404’ing or other critical services are experiencing downtime. Armed with this information, DevOps and IT teams can use automation to immediately notify the proper on-call responders and get service owners working on a fix in real-time.
Uptime monitoring, website monitoring and incident response
If you only monitor for uptime, you’re missing numerous opportunities to make minor adjustments to a website or web app that could drive major improvements to customer experience and conversion. Less resistance throughout a user’s experience with your website or application will lead to greater customer retention and customers who are happier with your product.
When customers are happy with your product, they share their experiences with others. Effective website and uptime monitoring create a snowball effect of positivity – better website experiences leads to happier customers, marketing and sales performance improves, customer support deals with fewer major complaints, and on-call employees in DevOps or IT operations reduce blind spots and mitigate alert fatigue and burnout.
How DevOps and IT operations take full advantage of monitoring and alerting
While DevOps and IT teams stand to gain the most critical information from website and uptime monitoring, marketing, sales and customer support teams can also realize value from this software. For instance, marketing teams could see that their website’s “Add to Cart” button is, on average, taking about 10-15 seconds to load, leading to more people dropping off the website without making a purchase. But, if they can detect this problem and work with software developers and IT to resolve the issue, they can start closing more business quickly.
However, even with holistic uptime and website monitoring, you won’t make the most of your system without an organized plan of attack for incident response. Key monitoring metrics and logs need to flow directly through alerts and into a collaboration tool for incident response. Alongside automation, you’ll actively get alerts to the right people at the right times and surface applicable information to drastically improve incident resolution speed. You could also automatically attach useful charts, wikis or runbooks to certain incidents and give on-call responders the exact instructions they need for incident remediation.
The faster you can identify an incident and get responders working on the problem, the lower the customer impact. And, less customer impact equals happier end-users. Uptime monitoring and website monitoring start with DevOps and IT teams, but their effects ripple across the entire business.
Comprehensive visibility into website health
If you only do one or the other, website monitoring or uptime monitoring, you don’t have visibility into the true health of the application or website. Uptime monitoring is great for a quick glance at the overall availability of your product or website. But, being available isn’t the only thing you need to monitor when building applications and services in today’s world. For many organizations, small website performance issues can be a key differentiator between closing new business or not closing new business.
So, DevOps and IT teams need to build dashboards and constantly reassess the way they monitor customer experiences across their applications. Are there blind spots where you can’t tell what’s happening to end-users? How can you deepen visibility into website health and share that information with applicable parties when it’s necessary? Together, uptime monitoring and website monitoring can paint a complete picture of website performance and availability – showing exactly how customers experience your service.
Acting on monitoring data
Now that you know what’s going on, you need to find a way to act on that information. Ingesting all applicable monitoring data and alert context into one centralized solution for incident response and management makes major firefighting much easier. Accompanied by cross-device communication capabilities (e.g. email, Slack, conference calls, text, etc.), DevOps and IT teams have everything they need in one place. And, after an incident has been resolved, you can easily look at the historical data to conduct post-incident reviews and learn from what worked and what didn’t work well during the real-time firefight.
Real-time incident management and operations
Modern incident management isn’t about tracking tickets through a queue anymore. The rise in CI/CD and cloud-based applications has led to customers with an “always-on” mindset. DevOps and IT teams need to fix issues quickly and maintain 24/7 on-call rotations. Operations teams need to resolve incidents in real-time without worrying about documentation or reporting. Uptime and website monitoring play an essential role in notifying on-call developers and operations teams to critical problems in critical services.
Incident response and management tools like VictorOps are allowing teams to collaborate in real-time and focus on the firefight at hand while simultaneously tracking work throughout the software development and incident management lifecycles. No need to focus on fixing the issue and updating tickets while you go – this happens automatically. Get highly contextual alerts to the right people at the right times and let them collaborate around detailed uptime and website monitoring data to rapidly restore services and make end-users happy.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial of VictorOps or request a free personalized demo to see how we integrate with your uptime monitoring and website monitoring tools to make on-call incident response suck less.