Here I am going to take you through how you can automatically get a text (SMS) message if/when your website goes down (but hopefully never happens). For free and takes less than 5 min to set up! DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE PDF OF THIS POST
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What downtime is and what causes it
Before we jump into the fine details and tell you how to set up this free server monitoring via a text/SMS alert, we should quickly go through and explain what downtime is and what causes it.
Downtime is when applications on the internet, like a website or a blog, cannot be accessed by their users.
Causes of downtime can be a component failure (like hardware failure, software defects, file corruption, virus etc), disasters affecting the data center where the server is physically located (fire, flooding, earthquakes, etc), and user-input or hackers (accidental file deletion, malicious hacking).
Website downtime is bad, it costs money and it annoys your customers. If your website is down for a long period of time (more than 24 hours) then the outage can negatively impact your search engine rankings.
To get a bit of perspective of just how costly downtime can be is when Amazon.com went down in August last year, it was reported they lost nearly $5 million in revenue caused by that short 30 to 40 minutes outage.
Here is a free and easy to setup way to get notified via a text/sms message if/when your site goes down. Meaning you will, almost immediately after it happens, be able to address the issue, contact your web host support and see to it that your website goes up.
It should be mentioned that there are website monitoring services that already offer text/SMS alerts, but it comes at a cost, i.e. it’s not free.
Learn how you can automatically monitor your server and get an SMS when is down! Just follow these three simple steps:
1. Sign up with UptimeRobot.com (free service)
UptimeRobot.com is a free service that monitors the server your website is hosted on. You simply sign up, you verify your email address and you add your website to create an email alert.
Now, if you are an observant reader you might say “hey, the UptimeRobot website says free sms/txt alert already, then what’s the point doing what you say?”
That’s true, UptimeRobot already offers free text message alerts, but here’s the drawback. The number of carriers you can select is very limited (especially if you are outside the US).
2. Sign up with IFTTT (free service)
IFTTT, short for “If This Then That”, is a really awesome service that lets you automate different web services (called “channels”) and connecting these services together (called “recipes”). It’s a lot easier than it sounds.
For example, you can “If HP stock falls then get an SMS reminder to be nice to my dad”. This “recipe” is using Yahoo Finance and SMS messages as “channels”.
There are loads of recipes, e.g. “if a new blog post is published, then send out a tweet to my followers”, “if I get a new email, then save it to dropbox”,”if the weather forecast says rain tomorrow, then send me an email” and the list of recipes goes on.
Okay, we’re almost there. Now we just have to connect the dots and make the magic happen.
3. Setup the text message alert
Now you just have connect UptimeRobot and IFTTT and you do this by using this IFTTT recipe
Simply verify the Gmail and SMS channel and your server monitoring alert via text message is activated.
That’s it! You are done. Now if your website goes down you will get an alert via text message.