Public Status Report Update

NodePing’s public status report feature allows you to create an uptime report for your sites or services in your own domain. It’s a popular part of our website and server monitoring service, and is available on all NodePing accounts. Today we added a couple of (hopefully very useful) enhancements to the public status reports.

The report now has a column on the right side that shows the uptime for each service over the past 30 days. It also allows you to display a column to show the check type, which can be turned on and off in the report’s configuration page. Plus, we’ve also tweaked the filtering on the title field, which has opened it up to a wider degree of customization. For example, you can include image tags and style tags in this field, which allows you to add your logo, as well as having significant control over the overall look of the report.

The report already gave you the ability to set which checks should appear on the report, and to set a custom URL for the report (so, for example, you could have it on the status subdomain of your own domain, so the URL would be status.example.com). And if you have public reports turned on for individual checks, those reports will automatically be linked from the status report.

We hope that these enhancements, on top of the features we already had for the status report, will make this report very useful to all of our customers. We put a lot of emphasis on feedback from our users, so please let us know what other features would help you make the most of our monitoring service.

If you run web sites or other Internet services and haven’t tried out our monitoring service, give us a try with out 15 day free trial.

WebSocket Monitoring

We’re happy to announce a new check type that can monitor the uptime and optionally the response of your WebSocket services, including Socket.io.

WebSocket checks can monitor the availability of RFC-6455 and Socket.io (0.9.X) compatible WebSocket services. We use WebSockets here at NodePing to communicate between various servers. WebSockets are also commonly used as a low-overhead communication between the browser and web servers. One the greatest features of WebSockets is their ability to send information from the server to the browser without the browser asking for each piece individually, or having to handle each piece of data as a separate connection as popular polling methods must do. WebSockets are increasingly common for web applications and other cloud based services, but until now there hasn’t been a good way to monitor the availability of your WebSocket based services.

WebSocket URIs look a bit different from other protocols as they start with either “ws” or “wss”. “wss” is used for SSL connections. Socket.io requires some session information from an HTTP handshake before the WebSocket can connect so they start with “http” or “https”.

WebSocket checks are available to all NodePing accounts. Full documentation can be found here. If you’re not a NodePing customer yet, please sign up for our 15-day free trial.

We’d love to hear what kind of checks you need for your infrastructure. Send us your requests or leave a comment below.

rDNS: Monitoring the Flip Side of DNS

DNS monitoring is an important part of keeping your services available. DNS is what allows your browser to turn the name ‘nodeping.com’ into the IP address 192.95.37.22. Without proper functioning DNS, your website, email, and other services would be unreachable.

One often neglected part of DNS monitoring is the rDNS, or reverse DNS, entries. As the name suggests, rDNS is the reverse of DNS. It maps an IP address to a hostname using a special PTR DNS record type. In essence, it associates an IP address to a specific hostname or domain.

PTR records are used by all kinds of utilities and services like the humble ‘ping’ and ‘traceroute’ as well as more complex FCrDNS-enabled services. A forward-confirmed reverse DNS (FCrDNS) verification uses the PTR record to associate a domain owner with an IP address. It’s not a rock-solid form of validating ownership but is usually considered enough to be used for whitelisting servers for SMTP services because spammers usually can’t fake an rDNS record when they forge domains.

If you’re sending email from a server, you should have a proper PTR record in place that includes the domain for the ‘from’ address. This will help ensure your email from that server will not get sent to the spam bucket. A PTR, or ‘pointer’, record is usually configured by whomever owns the IP address so you often have to put in a ticket with your colocation or service provider to set or change rDNS entries.

NodePing is one of very few server monitoring services that can monitor rDNS entries. To set up a rDNS check, select ‘DNS’ from the check type and ‘PTR’ from the record type dropdown. It’s important to note that your PTR record will be in what is commonly called ‘arpa’ format. An example of the ‘arpa’ format for the IP 192.95.37.22 is ‘22.37.95.192.in-addr.arpa’ – please note how the octets are in reverse order, not the numbers. Set the ‘arpa’ address for your IP address in the ‘Query’ text field. You’ll also want to set the ‘Expected Response:’ field to the hostname for that IP, example: ‘api.nodeping.com’.

For more information about rDNS/PTR monitoring or our DNS check capabilities in general, check out our DNS check documentation.

Replacing probe server [CZ] with [IT] in EUR region and IP changes for [AU], [TX] and [NJ]

Due to continued connectivity issues with our probe in  Zlin, Czech Republic [CZ], we’re replacing it with a new probe server in Milan, Italy [IT]. The new server will be brought online 2014-03-03.

Adding – Milan, Italy (IT) – IT (194.14.179.117)
Removing – Zlin, Czech Republic (CZ) – CZ (50.7.228.37)

Additionally, the IP address for the current probes listed below will also be changing on  2014-03-03.

AU will change from 103.4.17.197 to 103.25.58.108
TX will change from 204.11.60.100 to 23.92.75.43
NJ will change from 192.3.25.36 to 185.35.78.51

Please update your firewalls appropriately.

A current and always up-to-date list of all the IP addresses for our probe servers can be found in the FAQ.

[UPDATE - 2014-03-03 08:37GMT-7] – All new probes and IP changes have completed.

NodePing mobile push notifications to wake you up!

We’re pleased to announce another new notification type for NodePing server monitoring. You can now receive persistent push notifications through Pushover on your iOS or Android device.

Once configured, each ‘down’ event for your check will push an ‘emergency’ notification to your device and automatically re-alert every 30 seconds until it is acknowledged, up to 5 minutes.  Try sleeping through that!

Pushover notifications are faster and more reliable than SMS and are currently the only NodePing notification type that will persistently re-alert you when a check fails. Please consider switching your SMS alerts to Pushover alerts. It will also help us keep NodePing prices down as Pushover alerts are significantly cheaper than international SMS.

Once installed, simply add your Pushover ‘user key’ as a ‘Pushover’ notification type in your contact record and select that key when creating or editing a NodePing check.

For those who may be interested in viewing your check status in a native iOS app, one of our customers has created HostCheck using our API.

Let us know in the comments what NodePing feature you’ve been itching to see.

How to integrate PagerDuty into NodePing

Many of our customers are also big PagerDuty fans. What’s not to like! PagerDuty offers great escalation and on-call hand-off capabilities as well as flexible voice, sms, and even pajama alerts.

To make it easier for you to integrate your already existing PagerDuty workflow, we’ve added a new contact notification type to NodePing. The ‘PagerDuty’ type accepts a ‘Service API Key’. You can find information on how to set up a PagerDuty generic API service at their support site.

Our system will send a ‘trigger’ event on each failure and a ‘resolve’ event on each recovery. Add an entry in your contact record by specifying your PagerDuty ‘Service API Key’ (they kind of look like a big random string “47b3a13848514c3fa3def842464eeaa8″) and selecting ‘PagerDuty’ in the notification type drop down. Then specify that contact when you edit or create your NodePing checks.

pagerduty

You can specify as many different PagerDuty contacts as you like. This allows you to use multiple ‘Services’ with NodePing and have full control of your PagerDuty escalations and notifications.

We strive to bring you the best solutions for your monitoring needs. We’ve set our eyes on Android and iOS push notifications next so follow this blog for that notification. We’d also love to hear from you. What notification types or other features would you like to see in NodePing?

If you’re not a NodePing customer yet, you can sign up for a free 15-day trial and kick the tires for yourself. We’re confident you’ll like what you find.

Adding Probes to NAM Region and IP Changes [LD] and [CA]

We’re excited to announce the addition of two more probe servers in the North America (NAM) region. They will be brought online 2014-01-20.

Denver, Colorado (US) – CO (162.211.64.212)
Chicago, Illinois (US) – IL (162.211.66.130)

Additionally, the IP address for the current probes listed below will also be changing on  2014-01-20.

LD will change from 5.2.16.253 to 78.157.217.106
CA will change from 98.143.145.67 to 23.94.101.96

Please update your firewalls appropriately.

We continue to strive to bring you the most reliable and economical server monitoring anywhere.

A current and updated list of all the IP addresses for our probe servers can be found in the FAQ.

[UPDATE - 2014-01-20 10:29GMT-7] – All new probes and IP changes have completed.

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