Meet the new Alertdesk ✨

When we first created Alertdesk, our goal was simple. Create a kickass monitoring solution that is not only simple to use but also provides detailed logs.

We succeeded in doing this. Our uptime check literally takes less than 15 seconds to set up and provides some of the most detailed logs on the market.

But this article isn't (just) about kissing our own ass 🍑 - so here's the point.

When we created our Speed Check and later on our Quality Check, we discovered something interesting. You guys liked it - like really liked it.

What was essentially bi-products became the main attraction for many of you. After numerous emails, chats, and phone calls, we realized that what many of you really wanted was not merely uptime monitoring but performance monitoring.

So we went back to the garage and started tinkering, and this is the result.


The new Alertdesk 🆕

After going through all of your feedback, we decided to pivot. We wanted to go from mainly focusing on uptime monitoring to being an all-in-one solution for website quality & performance monitoring.

So what does this mean? It means we've added a bunch of new features, updated our UI, and changed our plans.


Some of our features include:

⚡Track speed & performance

Dive into our powerful performance report that captures valuable data about your site’s speed. We track daily from both Mobile & Desktop.

🐞 Detect issues and bugs

Quickly locate and fix issues on your site. We test daily for performance, SEO, best practices, and accessibility issues and guide you on fixing them.

💪 Monitor uptime & domain health

Put your mind at ease. We monitor your site’s uptime every minute – 24/7. We also analyze your domain for connection to malware servers and more.

🏆 Benchmark against competitors

“Keep your metrics close and your competitor’s metrics closer.” – Don’t get overtaken by your competitors – benchmark against their scores.


If you haven't already, you can head over to Alertdesk.com to view all the new features in detail.


Wait, but what about Alertdesk Uptime monitoring?

We are still focusing and developing our Uptime monitoring product. All users will continue on the same plan as they signed up for.

If you are only looking for uptime monitoring, you can still sign up for just this. We are calling this product for Alertdesk ONE.




New check type: Quality check 👌

A new type of check is now available for all users. We're calling it a "Quality check" because it measures four of the most important quality indicators for a website: Performance, Best Practices, SEO, and Accessibility.

"But wait", you say. "These four indicators sound very familiar..."

And yes, this is in fact a Lighthouse check 

We decided to name it "Quality check" since not everybody is familiar with Lighthouse, and we feel this name is more telling. 

Well, now that we got this out of the way, let's look at what it can do.

Unlike a traditional Lighthouse check, this check helps you automate your website monitoring. 

It runs once a day and helps you keep track of the quality of your pages. You can get notified if the score drops below a certain threshold. 

You also get the freedom to choose if the check should emulate a mobile- or a desktop device.

Now let's look at the metrics we capture 👇

Metrics*

Performance: Audits for metrics like first paint and time to interactive to determine lag.

Best Practices: Looks for everything from HTTPS usage to correct image aspect ratios.

SEO: Checks for best practices to ensure your site is discoverable.

Accessibility: Checks for common issues that may prevent users from accessing your content.

Web vitals (part of performance)

  • First Contentful Paint marks the time at which the first text or image is painted.
  • Speed Index shows how quickly the contents of a page are visibly populated.
  • Largest Contentful Paint marks the time at which the largest text or image is painted.
  • Time to interactive is the amount of time it takes for the page to become fully interactive. 
  • Total Blocking Time is the sum of all time periods between FCP and Time to Interactive, when task length exceeded 50ms, expressed in milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift measures the movement of visible elements within the viewport. 

*Description borrowed from Web.dev.

One of the very valuable things Lighthouse brings is its reports. These include diagnostics and opportunities sections which help you improve your site's overall quality. 

You can access these reports by clicking the "View latest report"-button or by clicking on one of the log entries. 


New app: Microsoft Teams

We're ready with a brand-new app in our "App store" - Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration platform (think Slack). With our app, you can receive your notifications in your preferred Teams-channel. 

You can find more information on how to implement it on our help site


P95 & P99 - new metrics in Uptime-check 🔎

We've added P99 and P95 to our Uptime-check report, which illustrates the 99th and 95th percentile response time.

No idea what you just read? No worries - neither did I at first, but my colleague Michael sat me down and was like:

And now it makes total sense. So let me explain it.

We measure the response time for our Uptime-check by looking at the average value of all the tests we perform in a given period.

For example, if we have performed 100 tests, we add all these together and divide by 100 to get the mean average.

Averages are fantastic for getting a quick overview of the performance - however, they can be misleading.

Say that we perform 100 tests. 95 of these have "a normal" response time of 1 second, whereas the last 5 of them "times out" and give us a response time of 15 seconds.

Now our average response time suddenly has increased from our "normal" 1 second to 1,70 seconds (a 70% increase) - all because of 5 failed tests.

This gives us a wrong picture of how the average visitor experience the response time - since the vast majority of the visitors (95%) have a response time of just 1 second. 

It also doesn't tell us exactly how bad the experience is for the last 5% with a whopping response time of 15 seconds or above (we cut the connection after 15 seconds). 

Using percentiles helps us catch these outliners.

So how does it work?

It works in the same way as a median value. A median value (which we have also added to our metrics) gives us the P50 value.

Say we have performed 100 tests like the previous example. We then sort these values from low to high. If we're looking for the median, we take the value from the 50th percentile (in this case, it would be value #50).

In P95 and P99, we take the 95th and 99th percentile, which in this example is value #95 and value #99. If we had performed 1.000 tests instead of 100, this would be value #950 and value #990.

So thanks to these new metrics, you can now more easily catch the outliners which screw up your averages and, more importantly, give your visitors a bad experience.

Pretty cool, right? Or to quote Owen Wilson:


G'day Mate! 12 new check locations 🦘🌏 + new menu

We've expanded our check locations with two new regions: Asia-Pacific and North America. We've also added Italy to our Europe-region - fantástico 👌

The regions cover the following locations:

Asia-Pacific

  • Hong Kong
  • Mumbai
  • Seoul
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • Tokyo

North America:

  • North Virginia
  • Ohio
  • North California
  • Oregon
  • Central Canada


New menu

We trashed our old "top menu" and replaced it with a flashy new "side menu."

Unlike before, you are now able to utilize the full screen width, for example, when viewing the dashboard or the individual check reports.

We feel this provides a better overall user experience. 


New check type: Speed check ⚡

We are ready with a brand-new check type - the Page Speed check.

First things first, what exactly is it, and what does it do? Glad you asked! 

The primary purpose of this check is to monitor your sites (yes, you guessed it) page speed. Unlike our Uptime check, we test the site from a real Chrome Browser. This means that we download all the content from the page and then renders it in a Chrome browser.  

By doing this, we are able to get the pages load time, among many other things. Why? To make sure that your site is stable and the visitors are actually able to view your content. Your website might be "up" (responding with a "status code 200"), but if it takes 10+ seconds to load it might as well be down, because:

But that is not all - oh no sir, no. We got some more delicious treats for you. Besides load time we also record:

  • Largest Contentful Paint is one of the core web vitals that measures how long it takes for the largest content element in the viewport to become visible. You can read more about it here -Optimize Largest Contentful Paint.
  • Page size is the total size of the page shown in megabyte (MB). We also show the uncompressed size.
  • Requests are the number of files being requested for the page (HTML-, CSS-, JS-files, images, videos, etc.)
  • Page errors show the number of console errors found on the page.
  • Page warnings show the number of console warnings found on the page.
  • screenshot of the page (1366x768 resolution). 

Pretty cool, right? But that is not all.

For each test, we run (you can run one every 10. minute) we also capture a full list of any page errors/warnings and a full Waterfall Analysis of all the file requests. You can find this by clicking the "View latest test result"-button on the check report page or by clicking on any of the entries in the log list.


To create your first Speed check, simply click on the "Add check"-button and select Speed check.


Introducing the Alertdesk "App store" 🏪

Drumroll, please. Ladies and gentlemen, we are excited to announce the Alertdesk "App store".

With our new App store you can now integrate Alertdesk with some of your favorite software. Pretty neat, right? Let me show you what you can do 👇

We are starting out with 4 apps with much more to come. These apps are:

Zapier: Let you connect to more than 2.000 apps and helps you automate your workflow. Make advanced "Zaps" or do simple, but equally cool things like turning your Philips Hue bulb red if a check should go down.

Slack: Receive notifications in your preferred Slack channel or by direct message.

Webhooks: POST JSON to a specific URL every time there's a notification for the check.

Geckoboard: Turn your uptime status into a Geckoboard widget and display it directly in your Geckoboard-dashboard.

So what are you waiting for? Go and give it a spin! If there is an app you would like to see in our App Store, then send us an email at hello@alertdesk.com..


Maintenance plans 🛠️

You asked for it - here it is. You are now able to set up powerful maintenance plans for your checks. Why, might you ask? 


It is very common for companies to schedule maintenance for their server or website. This could be restarting a server, rolling out an update, etc. Often these maintenance windows are done in the middle of the night when traffic is low and lasts only a few minutes.

The company knows that in this period, their website may not respond appropriately. Therefore, a notification from us telling the company that "⚠️ WARNING: YOUR CHECK IS DOWN! ⚠️" would be unnecessary and quite frankly - rather annoying. 

So we decided to implement a maintenance feature. You can choose that is only should run once, or you can set it up to repeat on a regular basis.


SSL-certificate expiration monitoring

Good news! We now also monitor your SSL-certificates expiration date in our Uptime-check.

In the Check-report, there is now an additional metric telling you which date your SSL-certificate expires and how long time is left.

But what makes this new feature really powerful is the notification functionality. 

Never again be caught off guard by an expired SSL-certificate. We will notify 30-days, 21-days, 14-days, 7-days, 3-days, 2-day, and 1-day before your certificate expires, so remember to get it renewed. We will also notify you if your certificate should expire.

All these notifications may seem like a lot, but remember - if your SSL-certificate isn't valid, there's a high chance that your visitors won't be able to reach your site, and we don't want that, do we?


Time To First Byte (TTFB) ⏱️

We have added the "Time To First Byte" (TTFB)-metric to the check-report.

TTFB is the time it takes for the browser (the visitor) to receive the first byte of data from the server. It tells you something about the server's response time.

Not only does TTFB have a huge impact on user satisfaction, but it can also have a direct effect on your SEO.

Google recommends a TTFB below 200 ms.

You can view the average TTFB (for the selected time range) in the left-side "widget area", where you also find Availability, Response Time, etc.

To view TTFB for a single test, hover the bar graph under "Log". You can also hover the bar graph under "Geographic response time" to view TTFB for that geographic area.

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