“Downtime” is the one word hated by all site owners whether they are running a mission critical site like a stock exchange or a simple information site. Though it is not good to have a downtime, most likely you will face this situation when running a WordPress site. Problem is that WordPress will not send automatic notification email when the site goes down. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor your site’s status and take quick actions to bring it back online if it is down. This article explains how to monitor downtime of a WordPress site (self-hosted version with WordPress.org). If you want to fix downtime issues and bring the site back online, check this article.
Why My Site is Down?
You may not like it but there are plenty of reasons for a website to go down. Here are some simple cases:
- Planned server maintenance downtime by hosting company for server upgrades or patch installation on server.
- Unplanned server downtime by hosting company due to server issues.
- Your own activities like installing incompatible plugin or adding incorrect codes in core files or inserting code in wrong place.
Mostly you will always check the site’s availability whenever modifying theme’s core files like “wp-config.php” or installing/upgrading plugins. So, probably you don’t need to monitor your own activities in this case. But what about planned and unplanned server downtimes which is normal in shared hosting scenario. Sometime you may not even know that your site is not online for a while unless you find it accidentally. This can happen if the plugin, theme or WordPress core is auto updated to new version and cause conflicting PHP fatal error.
Since opening and checking the site is not feasible throughout a day, you need to implement a simple measure which will work for you and monitor your site’s status continuously.
How to Monitor Downtime of a WordPress Site?
Self-hosted WordPress site comes with unlimited features and provides complete control over your site. Plugins are the power booster to your WordPress site helps to do almost anything you can imagine. For downtime monitoring we recommend to use Jetpack which is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available in the repository for free. If you do not want to use plugin, then there are free third-party services available for you.
1. Monitor Downtime with Jetpack
Jetpack is a package of plugins combined together and has many modules. So, you can multiple features with single plugin. However, the problem is that it is mandatory to connect to WordPress.com account in order to use Jetpack features.
- Login to WordPress admin panel and navigate to “Plugins > Add New” section.
- Search and find Jetpack plugin to install/activate it on your site.
- Connect with your WordPress.com account and select the free plan.
- Go to “Jetpack > Settings” menu.
- Find “Downtime monitoring” option under “Security” section and activate it.
- After activating, click on “Configure your notification settings” link to set the email address in which you want to receive notifications. This will take you to WordPress.com site and login with your credentials.
- Under “Security Settings”, turn on “Get alerts if your site goes offline. We’ll let you know when it’s back up, too.” option below “Downtime monitoring” section. Also enable other two send notification options to receive downtime notifications in your WordPress.com account email address.
That’s it!!! Now your site is being monitored 24/7 by Jetpack automatically and you will receive instant email whenever the site goes down. If you want to change the email address, click the “WordPress.com email address” link which will take you to the the account settings. Here, you can change the email address and verify it to get downtime notifications from the plugin.
Downtime Alert Emails from Jetpack
The plugin will ping your site’s home page and check the online availability every five minutes. If the HTTP response fails, it will trigger the downtime notification email as shown below:
This is one of the free and easy ways to monitor server downtime of your WordPress site. The best part is Jetpack will also send a notification email when the site is up and running again. You can find the total duration of downtime in the email.
2. Setup Downtime Monitoring with Uptime Robot
UptimeRobot is an excellent third-party service which you can use for monitoring your WordPress site if you do not want to use Jetpack which needs WordPress.com account. Go to UptimeRobot website and register for a free account. After that, login to your account and go to the dashboard.
Click “Add New Monitor” button to create a new down/up time alert. Select HTTP(s) for “Monitor Type”, fill out name for your alert, site URL, select monitoring interval, monitor timeout and click “Create Monitor” button.
You will see the created alert showing in dashboard along with the up/down time status.
You can anytime change the email preferences from your account settings (click your profile name / email showing on top right corner and select “My Settings” option). Similar to Jetpack, UptimeRobot will also send you both down and up time alert notifications with the duration and error details.
What Should I Do to Bring the Site Up?
When you receive a downtime email from Jetpack or UptimeRobot, check the below things without getting panic.
- Most of the times hosting companies communicate server downtime through emails. Check your emails whether you received such email from your hosting company and you missed the downtime hours.
- Shared hosting servers will always have unplanned downtime due to various reasons. Hence wait for reasonable time, say 30 minutes, if still not accessible then contact your hosting company. They should be able to help in explaining the reason and provide estimated time for fixing the issue.
- When you want to do resource consuming activities like regenerating images, check with your hosting company whether they can support such activities. If your hosting plan supports, allocate sufficient resources or enable auto scaling to manage the resource usage.
If the hosting server has lot of downtime affecting your site’s performance or sales, then its time for you to change the hosting or go for dedicated or VPS hosting instead of shared hosting.