If you use your own server or a dedicated one, you have to make sure everything is running smoothly. This may seem like a tough challenge, especially if you’re not very experienced. But it’s actually not that scary when you know the basics and use the right tools.
Monitoring the health of your server means paying attention to a few indicators. They will show you if there’s too much traffic coming to you, whether the CPU can handle the load, if the memory is enough and so on. Paying attention to these factors is vital to ensure continuous service availability. Happily, these days there are plenty of free tools you can use to monitor your server. Here are some of them which gather more recommendations than the most.
This is a free and open source app which gives you a simple glance of the most important statistics of your server. It provides status info, plus the ability to fix simpler issues. For example, it can restart a crashed service. There are several predefined actions you can choose from for Monit to apply when needed. The app also has a version for monitoring multiple machines. It’s called M/Monit. It also has an iPhone app for quick sever monitoring on the go.
Another open source solution, often hailed as a flagship. It’s also part of the LAMP suite and as such, it is quite popular. It can build graphs, pull out statistical data, allowing the users to create templates. Cacti gives plenty of options for data representations so it can seem a bit intimidating at first. But you can quickly get to grips with it without much hassle. It’s still mostly suitable for experienced admins and those who want or need extensive graphical displaying options for data.
This app is suitable for admins who manage a cluster of servers. It can represent the status of the entire cluster on one screen. This includes current usage, graphical representation of the load and this way you can get a quick overview of your cluster. This app is also open source.
Another tool which comes under the GNU license. Despite that, it offers a wide range of options to monitor one or several server. You can even monitor other network devices or virtualization hypervisors and web app stacks. Zabbix has a lot of functions, and supports VMware, Hyper-V and has ready-made templates for Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, SMTP, HTTP, ICMP, IPMI and more.
Back to simpler tools. This one focuses on showing you metrics in a graph and it can make you daily, weekly, monthly or yearly performance reports. It monitors a lot of system resources, including the number of site signups. So, if you want a quick glance without get into way too much detail, this is the app for you. A very similar alternative is Collectd.
Also an open source tool, which supports a lot of plug-ins and configuration. It was recently reworked to be more user-friendly, including support for different web interfaces. Icinga supports command line control, too, but you can also configure it via a web interface. That makes it simpler to use.
This is the free version of the Zenoss Enterprise tool. It supports plugins for Nagios, which makes it quite versatile. The app also has an extensive interface giving you quick access to a lot of data.
Last but not least, this tool focuses on network services and supports IPv4 and IPv6. There’s also an option to send out an alert in the case of an issue. It will send a second alert to an alternative person if the issue isn’t fixed after a predetermined amount of time.