Yandex.Metrica or a specialized monitoring system - what and when to choose?

    No matter how much expenses are spent on the development, design and promotion of the site - all these efforts are in vain if for some reason the site suddenly becomes inaccessible to customers. Each solves this problem in his own way: someone out of habit builds constructions of various degrees of efficiency on the knee, and someone searches for ready-made solutions on the network. One of the most popular solutions in Runet is the monitoring function in Yandex.Metrica. Another option is specialized monitoring systems. This post is devoted to the study of their differences, as well as practical experience. For a completely random set of circumstances, the HostTracker site monitoring service was chosen for comparison .

    What common?

    Most importantly, the site is being checked. This is what a person understands, without even delving into the details. Somehow statistics about site availability are collected and alerts are sent when the site is broken. It’s even tuned in a similar way:

    If you delve into the settings, then, of course, you can see that the tools are slightly different. The metric is more about customer behavior, and HostTracker is about the technical aspects of the site. But this function seems to be the same.

    Theory vs Practice

    So what is the difference? As we know, to configure Yandex.Metrica, you need to embed some javascript code on your page. Thanks to him, Metric will receive some information about each client. Based on it, conclusions are drawn about traffic and website usage scenarios. Also, indirectly, we can draw conclusions about accessibility: if customers are no longer longer than usual, this may be a cause for concern.

    HostTracker offers another mechanism - monitoring the site by imitating real users who regularly visit the site. However, Metrica also has a similar mechanism: checking with special Yandex bots. At what, it is configured both from Metric and from Direct. But little is known about these bots. Their number and addresses were not disclosed anywhere (it is directly written that this is a secret), and the verification interval remains secret. The report indicates the average interval. And although the description says that monitoring works efficiently with traffic above 100 views per week (which hints that the main tool is still a script that is executed on the page), practice shows that the “loss” of an online store with 1000 visits per day seen only after an hour or more. The site, which had 200 hits a day, lay 3 hours before the alert came from Metric. In both cases - alerts only come with a continuous idle site. If it "slows down", or appears / disappears (for example, due to increased load on the server), then the notification may be completely absent. Also, alerts do not come,

    At the same time, active monitoring by compulsory generation of requests, professed by the HostTracker, does not divide sites by the number of visitors, and with a selected monitoring interval of, say, 10 minutes, it checks the site every 10 minutes, regardless of other factors.

    Specific comparison:

    As you can see, Metrica noticed only one drop in a year. For the same site, the HostTracker only noticed 4 in the last month. The reason is a timeout, that is, clients really cannot get to the site or are uncomfortable. This is simply ignored by the metric, either because of the short duration, or because someone manages to get to the site in spite of the large delay and, thus, the Yandex script still works.

    What do I need?

    This publication was born as an answer to repeated questions (including in the comments on Habré) about the differences in the work of the HostTracker and other similar and not very systems.

    Convenience Metrics - “all in one”. This is also its flaw. It seems that the developers understood the monitoring function as a pleasant bonus, but far from the main task of the Metric (in fact, this is not hidden). It is accurate with a sufficiently large number of visitors (from practice, several thousand a day) and solves the basic problem: to notify if the client for some reason cannot enter the site. And disable Direct, saving advertising funds. However, in practice, such savings do not always work.

    The hostTracker is accurate regardless of the number of visitors and has many additional functions, as well as opportunities for basic diagnostics: monitoring using different protocols, checking content, etc. A nice little thing is a reminder of the expiration time of the domain and site certificate . The algorithm is clear and transparent. There is a minus - for most functions you have to pay.

    Many of our customers use two or three systems, both paid and free. The results do not always match. We will find out about this, since in such cases, as a rule, clients are asked to explain the differences in the readings. Often this leads to the identification of hidden bugs and "features" of the site, hosting or the operation of a monitoring system, which reduces the chances of missing the real problem to almost zero.

    As you can see, each task has its own tool.

    News from the fields

    Just yesterday, a client wrote to us about problems with Google Adwords. Google also has a mechanism to check sites that host ads. But the problem is the same as in Metric - for the time interval between the site crash and the next Google bot scan, the amount of money burned. Therefore, we received a request to integrate with the Google API in order to realize the ability to automatically turn off ads when the site crashes. Most likely, this function will appear soon - then we will write about it in more detail. This case perfectly demonstrates the principle of developing our service - we solve specific problems of specific people. From the very beginning . Therefore, we will be grateful for the criticism and wishes.

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