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The 9 Levels of Website Performance Monitoring

So, is there a practical way to think about website performance monitoring and the services needed to monitor specific scenarios? Yes. The following website performance monitoring selection guide, while no means universal, provides basic guidance in understanding what performance monitoring service best fits certain scenarios and requirements.

Website Performance Monitoring

At last! A Practical Guide to Selecting Website Performance Monitoring

Website owners view “website performance monitoring” from many different perspectives. These perspectives vary based on the monitoring technologies/services, requirements, and goals for a website.

So, when answering the question “What is website performance monitoring?” is asked is the answer “Whatever you want it to mean?”

No.

In fact, as a general rule, and for reasons of practicality, website “performance monitoring”  is often categorized into different “levels” of monitoring – from a basic Ping test to increasingly detailed and dynamic monitoring services, such as “user experience” monitoring. Often, answering a question about a basic level of website performance (such as, “Is the webserver up or down?”) corresponds to the use of a basic  monitoring service; while answering a more complex questions about website performance (such as, is the 5th step in the shopping cart loading <2 sec?”) corresponds to the use of a more complex monitoring service.

And yet, both basic and complex monitoring scenarios are often referred to as “website performance monitoring.” For example the following two examples demonstrate how perspectives on“website performance monitoring” can differ:

  • On the one hand, a network administrator sets up a simple Ping monitor once per 60-minutes to test the up/down performance of a web server. From her perspective the performance of the web server  is whether the server is up, or down, therefore the “website performance monitoring” is based on an up/down monitoring.
  • On the other hand, a website administrator  sets up a browser-based monitoring script running every 3-minutes to test a shopping cart web application and associated Ajax page elements served by a third-party vendor to monitor “user experience.” From his perspective the key website performance of the web application is whether the webpages Ajax  on the final “Submit Order” page of the shopping cart for visitors to his shopping cart loads on in a daily average <2 sec.

So, is there a practical way to think about website performance monitoring and the services needed to monitor specific scenarios?

Yes.

The following website performance monitoring selection guide, while no means universal, provides basic guidance in understanding what website performance monitoring service best fits certain scenarios and requirements.

A simple method of using the guide is to:

  1. Start at the column “Webserver/website Performance Question,” with the most basic question in row #1 “Is the web server up or down?”
  2. Then move down to the next question in the row below in the  “Webserver/website Performance Question,”  column 
  3. If the question in the next row below continues to be relevant to your performance requirements continue to move down each row,
  4. Until you’ve matched the level of your monitoring Performance Question with the corresponding monitoring Service noted in the adjacent column “Monitoring Service that answers the  Performance Question”
  5. Then review the Monitoring Service by clicking on its link and
  6. review the additional “How is the Service used” column in that row to provide further guidance
  7. review the “Additional Performance Questions” at the bottom to determine if there are other performance-related questions that apply.
Monitoring Levels – Basic (1) to Complex (7) Webserver/website Performance Question Monitoring Service that answers the Performance Question “How is this Service used?”
1 Is the webserver up or down? Ping/ICMP Webserver performance
2 How long does the webserver take to load a page? What is the response time of the website? ServerView Website Performance Monitoring: HTTP, HTTPS Performs all of the above plus website performance monitoring
3 Is the webpage HTML content loading properly? ServerView Website Performance Monitoring: HTTP, HTTPS with HTML keyword monitoring Performs all of the above plus webpage content availability
4 Are the individual webpage elements (jpeg., JS, .css etc…) parsed out of the HTML loading? and how long do they take to load? ServerView Website Performance Monitoring: HTTP and HTTPS, HTML keyword, with Full-page Download Performs all of the above plus individual webpage element availability and performance
5 Is my basic web application (shopping cart, login etc…) working properly? ServerView Monitoring: Web Application Monitoring Performs all of the above, plus web application monitoring
6 What are visitors to my website experiencing as they browse through my website (aka “user experience)? What is a visitors browser’s interaction with my web application (shopping cart etc…) and individual webpage elements (including dynamic elements such as Ajax, flash etc…)?? UserView Monitoring: Browser-based monitoring – Web Applications monitoring (aka “User Experience” monitoring) Performs all of the above, plus web application monitoring of dynamic page elements (ie. Web 2.0)
7 Are the broad variety of website infrastructure processes I am monitoring (a combination of basic and complex website performance monitoring activities and technologies) performing as expected? Is my website system performing as needed? Combination of all of the above Dotcom-Monitor services All of the above
Additional Performance Questions
8 What is the performance of my website system or systems relative to meeting internal or external Service Level Agreements (SLAs)? Use the SLA Report Tool (included with all of the above services)
9 What is the performance of my website relative to competitors in my industry? Use the Industry Report Card (included with all of the above services)
[ original photo credit: Éole | cc ]
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