If you are a hosting provider or someone who operates and manages a shared hosting server, chances are that you either already have server monitoring services in place or that you are considering the utilization of a server monitoring service provider in the near future. Whether you already have server monitoring in place or you are considering putting such a safeguard into place in the near future, there are some rules you will want to keep in mind to ensure that your server monitoring efforts are successful and do not do more harm than good to your up-time percentages.
1. Know What to Expect
The first thing you need to do when you are preparing to put server monitoring into place is, be sure that you understand what to expect once the monitoring service is up and running, keeping a hawk’s eye on the up-time of your server. When this happens, you’ll be in the position to know about server downtime before your customers know, meaning that you can jump into action to remedy any problems that may arise and maintain a reputation of quality and superior server up-time. However, this also means that you must be ready to take calls at all hours of the day and night, because downtime does not discriminate when it comes to your sleep schedule or convenience. With proper server monitoring in place you will be able to boast the highest up-time percentage possible, but you will also have to manage things properly for the monitoring service to live up to its fullest potential and to provide you with the benefits you expect.
2. Never Monitor Someone Else’s Domain Server
One of the goals of server monitoring is to attain the highest up-time percentage possible that is going to be hard to do if you are monitoring someone else’s domain name server. A trouble-prone DNS can cause your up-time percentage to go down drastically. If you are providing DNS services to your customers or have your own domain name server, then monitoring those domain name servers may be a viable service approach. If, however, you are not providing DNS services, then monitoring someone else’s domain server is going to result in your up-time percentage going down, though no fault of your own other than the fact that you were monitoring something you shouldn’t have been.
3. Never Ignore Downtime Alerts
Always remember that every hour of downtime is 0.1 percent off your up-time percentage. If you ignore any downtime alert and do not fix the issue causing the alert, for example, if the alert notifies you of something that doesn’t directly affect the usability of your server, leaving that alert unattended will still affect your up-time percentage. When server monitoring is in place on your servers and you receive an alert, no matter how inconsequential the matter may seem to be, be sure to address it as you would do any other downtime issue to keep your up-time percentage as high as possible.
4. If You Do Offer DNS Services, Proceed with Caution When Making Changes
As mentioned above, the only time you want to monitor domain name servers is if you offer DNS services or have your own domain name server. If this is the case, when you make DNS changes, you have to proceed with caution each and every time to prevent unnecessary downtime. It can take a while for DNS changes to propagate, meaning you could get hit with a rolling outage or other downtime issue if the DNS changes are not handled properly. This means changing the TTL of your DNS to 60 seconds without changing the rest of the entry to avoid downtime caused by TTL issues.
5. Always Set Up Multiple Contacts and Plan Properly for Server Downtime
If your server does go down, make sure it is handled immediately. If you are the only person on the contact list and you are unavailable when the alert of downtime comes in, then the downtime is going to be drawn out, decreasing your server’s up-time percentage. This means you should always have multiple contacts in place for your server monitoring service, and a proper plan of action that can be followed even in your absence to maintain your server’s up-time percentage.
By following these five rules you can be sure that your server monitoring provides you with the up-time percentage increase that you are looking for without causing problems that could be avoided with proper planning. Server monitoring is a very powerful tool when it comes to the war against downtime, but you need to manage it properly if you want to reap as many benefits as possible and maintain the highest up-time percentage you possibly can.