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Keeping an Eye on Site Reliability with Freshping
Updated: 2020-02-24 / Article by: Timothy Shim
Freshping, developer by Freshworks, is a very simple website monitoring tool that starts off at a fantastic price – free. In a very small nutshell, it allows you to automatically monitor a set of websites based on two key metrics of server response speed and uptime.
Freshworks was founded in 2010 and started off as a result of the personal experience of the owners. Their first product, Freshdesk, was built to integrate and automate workflow so that users could streamline their customer experience efforts.
Today I’m going to be taking a closer look at how a performance monitoring tool like Freshping can help your business and take a deeper dive into what else it has to offer.
What is Fresping?
Fast forward almost a decade and a good handful of successful products later, they introduced Freshping. Theoretically, the basis of Freshping is simple – to help users ensure that their websites are operating at nominal levels.
This means that the app tests websites that it’s asked to and keeps an eye on two of the most important items that a webmaster would need, the response time of their server and the availability of their websites.
It does this by sending a ‘ping’ (hence the name, Freshping) to the server each minute and then recording (a) if there is a response and (b) how long it took the web server to respond. The data information is then stored and when needed, presented to the user in a neat performance chart.
Why You Need Freshping?
By the description, I gave of Freshping you’d probably be wondering why you need to sign up for yet another tool that offers such basic features. The simple answer is that Freshping is also more than it seems (more on that later).
The longer answer is probably something that will raise your eyebrows;
1. Downtime affects sales
If you were running a traditional business and your sales staff was constantly calling in sick, would that be a concern for you? Absolutely? Your sales staff is where your revenue channels in from and the same goes for your website.
In fact, your website acts as the lead generator, sales, marketing, customer support, and brand ambassador all rolled into one. If your site isn’t reliable, won’t you want to know and make a change? Yet unlike real-time staff, your website runs 24/7 and can be harder to keep an eye on since everything is simply ‘running’ constantly.
Freshping runs silently in the background after you’ve given it the basic parameters to work with. It only alerts you if there’s a problem, if not, it sits there simply watching and collecting data for you to peruse whenever you feel like it.
To get an idea of how large the impact of downtime can be let’s consider the case of Amazon.com. In 2018 during the Amazon Prime Day, their website began to face consistency issues. Lasting 63 minutes, those issues cost the retail giant an estimated $72.4 million in lost revenue.
While that figure may not be the one you face, downtime will still cost your business for each second it isn’t rectified. To learn how much in you would potentially lose if your website goes down, use this formula and make an estimate:
Annual Revenue / Your Business Hours x Website Impact to Sales %
Now, imagine you were a business that depended on your website for 100% of your revenue!
2. Keeping customer happy
In today’s competitive business environment, not only is it vital to cater to potential customers but you also need to focus on retaining old ones. This means that customer satisfaction is even more critical than ever. Website performance is one area in which this matters keenly.
If you were providing a service, customers who cannot access it will be very unhappy. This means that you need to be able to know the minute that there is a problem on your website, such as downtime or even unusually long server response times.
3. Business reputation
Digital has more than brought about faster services, it has also enabled users to access a wider range of platforms to complain on! Customers facing downtime from your website will not hesitate to call you out on social media or other platforms.
The worst thing about these complaints is that they are very public and will linger long after the problem is resolved, leading to impact on potential customers. Although Freshping can’t help with that, it can help to let you know the minute there’s a problem – and hopefully you can fix it before complaints start popping up.
4. First impressions last
Have you ever visited a website and been not able to access it? Most times, you will simply close the browser tab and visit an alternative. Thanks to the huge number of websites online, there are a huge number of alternatives for almost everything.
If your website can’t serve customers, you can be sure that most will look elsewhere and not wait patiently for your website to come back online. Downtime gives a bad impression to customers, especially first-time visitors.
How Freshping Helps
At its heart, Freshping revolves around two main areas so let’s focus on those. To use Freshping, you’ll need to sign up for an account. That can be done as simply as using your Google ID to join. After that it is only a matter of adding a website URL that you wish to monitor.
The critical data that Freshping needs is your website address and your email address. The former to monitor, and the latter to notify you if there are any problems. If you aren’t fussy, that’s basically all you need to get running with – talk about simplicity.
For those of us more detail oriented there are some settings which you can tweak. Free accounts let you monitor up to 50 websites with a ping interval of either one or five minutes. More advanced options such as response string monitoring, status code returns, custom HTTP headers, custom downtime notifications, and more are only available on the paid plans.
For the basic user, the largest difference will be mostly in the length of time that data is retained. If you want more than six months of data to refer to, you’ll have to sign up for any of their paid plans. Extended data is more useful if you were collating it for long-term performance studies.
More app integrations (get notified on Slack, Twillo, or even SMS)
SSL expiration notifications
Factoring in website maintenance periods
How Much Does Freshping Cost?
Freshping allows users to sign up for what it calls a “Free Forever” plan and to be honest, for most people this will be fine. You still get to track key reliability metrics, but don’t get some extra features and settings paid plans offer.
Businesses on the other hand will probably be better off signing up for one of their paid plans. Aside from constant monitoring, the data collected by Freshping can allow you to study long term statistics so that you can conduct periodical reviews.
These will let you know if there are issues you can bring up and hopefully resolve with the help of your hosting provider, or at worst, consider a migration to a different hosting provider. Paid plans start from as low as $11 per month if paid on an annual basis – reasonable enough for small businesses to use.
What Users Say About Freshping
Since launch, Freshping has gotten a ton of positive reviews from users. Let’s take a look at what some Freshping users claim about the product:
Your reputation is worth its weight in gold especially in an era where customers are quick to voice very vocal dissatisfaction about products and services. With its no-cost entry point there is no reason for you to sign up and test their service right now.
I’d recommend that you start off on their free forever plan and then re-assess after awhile whether you would like to move on to one of their paid plans. After all, it’s free and one more option that you can use to help increase the reliability of your website.
In case you’re curious, Freshworks also has a rather large stable of related products, most aimed at helping you streamline and optimize business (including sales!). Check out their product page to see where else Freshworks products can help you address business needs and give your company a boost in agility today.
Remember, if you aren’t leading in innovation, it means that your competitor is ahead.
About Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.