What is Website Monitoring?

You have a website.

It’s the access point of your business. The bridge between you and the world. It’s how potential customers find and judge your business. They scan your landing page, consider your prices and products, and ideally, fork over their money. But what if they couldn’t?

There are a thousand and one reasons your website might be down, but that doesn’t matter to a customer. Every second your website is down is a potential customer lost, and potential income going to a competitor. How many customers can you afford to lose because they try to visit your website when it isn’t working? You need to know the instant your website goes down – a way to check your uptime. That’s where website monitoring comes in.

Website monitoring companies like NodePing periodically check your website and alert you when we can’t connect. We aren’t just some guys sitting at our computers pressing refresh every so often. NodePing has servers all over the world that can check your website as often as once a minute. If our probes cannot connect to your site, or it takes longer than you say it should for the site to respond we’ll immediately crosscheck from different locations globally and notify your contacts quickly so they can get things working again.

You can be alerted by our eight notification methods and all our plans include unlimited international SMS. With notification scheduling, you can choose who gets notified when, so the right people are alerted as soon as possible so you can get your website fixed and back up, making money.

NodePing was created by a pair of nerds who know the challenge of trying to maintain a website. We wanted to create a service that you could set and forget. We don’t have flashy graphs or cute pictures. We just quickly and accurately monitor your uptime. Simple as that.

So what is Website Monitoring? It’s what can save you from losing customers. It saves you money. Buy peace of mind by starting a free trial at NodePing.com.

SSL Check Now Supports SNI and UCC Certificates

We’re happy to announce a couple of enhancements to our SSL certificate check. We now support SNI and UCC certificates

SNI (Server Name Indication) passes the hostname to the server when we request the certificate. That allows you to serve multiple SSL certificates on a single IP address.

UCC (Unified Communications Certificates) allow you use one certificate for multiple hostnames. Unlike wildcard certificates, which NodePing has supported from the beginning, UCC certificates can cover multiple hostnames on multiple domains.

As IPV4 addresses keep getting scarcer, the ability to monitor your SNI and UCC certificates for validity and expiration dates will become increasingly more important. NodePing is glad to be able to offer reliable monitoring for these SSL types.

If you’re not already a NodePing customer, please sign up for our free trial and see how SNI and UCC certificate monitoring can be easy and economical.

Monitoring password protected websites

Some of our customers have asked us to add basic authentication to our HTTP checks. They want to be able to check the availability of web pages that are protected from public access by a login. So, we have enhanced our HTTP and HTTP Content checks to support basic authentication.

This means that when you set up HTTP or HTTP Content checks in NodePing’s website monitoring service, you can now include a username and password in the URL. The format is username:password@host. We already supported both http and https requests and arbitrary ports in the URL. The following URL examples are all in a valid format for NodePing HTTP and HTTP Content checks (although these are fictitious, don’t actually use these URL’s in your checks), with this enhancement rounding out the list:

People who use this feature should be aware that HTTP basic authentication is not secure, which is one of the reasons we had not included it until now. This has required a small change to our Terms of Service to point out that we aren’t responsible for confidential information that is included in checks such as this. If you choose to include a username and password in your checks, you should take normal precautions to protect your data, including making sure that the login used for the checks is limited to no more access than is needed for the check, and avoid reusing passwords.

If you have any questions about basic authentication in HTTP or HTTP content checks, or about any aspect of our website monitoring, please don’t hesitate to ask us by emailing info@nodeping.com.

6 Sources of Residual Income for the Web Developer

Most web developers I know are hired for site creation, or re-creation and when the job is done, that’s the end of the revenue from that client until something is broken or some other change needs to happen. But with a little extra effort on your part, you can transition a ‘project’ client into residual income. Not only will this keep a steady flow of cash coming in, but you’ll be able to more easily maintain those valuable relationships with your clients so when the next site or re-design happens, you’ll be the one they call.

Consider adding or packaging a few of the following ‘services’ with your development pitch.

  1. Hosting
    Chances are, you’re already doing some of this. The ability to hand over a turn-key website solution makes it easy to add the ‘web hosting’ line item to your bill. Given the low cost of shared hosting like Bluehost or  HostGator, you can easily charge a modest monthly hosting fee and make a nice margin on it. If you don’t ‘do’ hosting – sign up as an affiliate on a hosting company you recommend. Affiliate programs typically give you a commission for sending them customers. It’s easy to do and doesn’t cost anything. Heck, the two links in this paragraph are affiliate links – so go sign up! <grin>
  2. Monitoring
    If the site is worth developing and hosting, it’s worth keeping an eye on. No matter who the host is, your client (and you, if you’re hosting it – see #1) should be the first ones to know if it has gone down. Get yourself a website monitoring account at NodePing (come on, you saw that plug coming a mile away). For only $10/month, you can set up 1000 URLs to keep an eye on. Resell some of those checks to your client – charge them whatever you think is fair and they’re willing to pay. Set your client up as a ‘Notifications Only‘ contact and they’ll get an email or SMS whenever the site goes offline – and when it comes back up too. With NodePing’s new public reports, you can create a URL on your branded website and iframe in the public report so your client can bask in the glow of their uptime graph. If you don’t know how to iframe one page into another, you’re not the target audience of this blog post – but just in case, here’s a link on how to iframe.
  3. SSL Certificates
    If your client’s site has a login form, they’ll need an SSL certificate. The ease of wireless ‘sidejacking’ using Firesheep and similar tools, you should know better than to have a non-SSL login form. Like hosting you can either resell SSL certificates directly or sign up to be an affiliate and earn a commission (usually a percentage) of your client’s spending. Unlike hosting, it takes quite a bit more hoop jumping to become a reseller but with the price of certs and the fact that they need to be re-issued on a regular basis it’s worth the effort.
  4. Payment Processing
    The least fun part of developing ecommerce solutions is the payment gateway integration. Typical reseller/affiliate programs with payment gateways include a percentage of the setup fee, a percentage of monthly fee, and even a per-transaction cut. While Braintree is definitely our preferred gateway here at NodePing (great API and low costs), they unfortunately don’t have a reseller/affiliate program so you may want to stick with some of the old guards like Authorize.net.
  5. Backups
    Your client will need ‘offsite’ backups of their sites and databases. Most of the cheaper hosting companies don’t provide adequate backups, which provides you with an opportunity to sell a much-needed service to your client. Drive Headquarters has a generous referral program and offers both client and server backup capabilities that are very script-able. Just be sure you know how to restore the site from those backups.
  6. Timeshare in Vegas
    OK, this one is just for laughs.  Timeshares are like boats – everybody I’ve ever known who bought one, has also sold one.

If you started adding auxillary services like those above, you could easily see a $100/month/client jump in revenue for just a wee bit of your time in administrating… multiply that times your current client base and you just got a nice raise!  Felicidades!

More importantly, providing extra services will help you maintain a relationship with your client, so the next time they need a $7k makeover on their site, yours is the only bid they’ll consider… after all, you’re doing so much for them already.

So there are 5 ways you can leverage your web development relationship with your client into a bit of residual income.  It’s by no means an exhaustive list.  If you’ve got better channels for residual income or maybe just excellent suggestions for the resell-able or referr-able services listed above, share it with us in the comments.