Knowing when your website is up or down didn’t seem like a big deal to me until I began selling products and receiving income from Adsense. It was then that I began using what I believe is the only 100% free monitoring service on the web. WebsiteHawk.com is dead simple to setup and receive notifications when there is a problem with your site.
I have several hosting providers including GoDaddy and 1and1. I was amazed at the amount of downtime I actually have. This is useful information when assessing if you want to stay with your hosting company or receive a refund for interrupted service. It also gets you quickly past the level 1 support guys who force you to clear your temp files and try your site again. If you have any form of personal website it would be silly not to take advantage of this free service.
Once at WebsiteHawk you simply click sign up, provide the email you want to receive alerts to, a password for your account and the URL/content match you desire. For example, to monitor this website I entered http://www.techfolk.com and “Techfolk”. Done. Within a day the monitor(s) will be setup and you will receive an email confirmation. There’s nothing else to do, you will receive an alert when your website becomes unavailable and another when it is back online.
If you want to look a little deeper you have the option of logging into the monitoring software and reviewing charts, average response times and more.
You can do some fancy transactional tests, check Google Page Rank, or watch other TCP ports if you want to pay about .$.5 to $1 each. I recommend for starters just getting the 5 free monitors and start taking advantage of this service.