Readers to my website who have stuck around for a while have probably understood that keeping this site online has not always been an easy task with downtime being a frequent consequence of the shared hosting provider especially in the infancy of the site when I didn’t know any better and just went for the local guys who seemed good five years ago but had since crumbled under new management.
One of the tools which really helped me keep tabs on the uptime and performance of the site was Pingdom Tools, which offered the most comprehensive checks at the lovely price of free – specifically the 1-minute uptime check intervals and reliable test server locations with secondary checks for root cause analysis proved to reduce false alarms and produce much better uptime reporting resolution. Their product portfolio continued to develop, and real-user monitoring became very useful to understand the performance of various caching solutions which I have had to employ to overcome the unexpected number of visitors to my site.
Just before 4am Sydney time (UTC+11), I received the following e-mail from Pingdom Tools:
Again, as usual, free is always subject to change at the needs of those who supply it. I suppose too many people got wind of what was on offer, and it just became unsustainable. To their credit, they were upfront in acknowledging that the change was to deliver the best products and support for our customers that subscribe to paid plans.
In fact, I was highly surprised that Pingdom Tools was able to offer the level of functionality that they could at the free tier. The new plans, are featured on their comparison page:
Again, they have made it fairly clear what is changing under the new free plan, which removes many of the bells and whistles which made Pingdom Tools more attractive compared to some of their “free” competition. Namely, their change to just HTTP(S) checking, with basic alerting at 5-minute intervals now is consistent with their competitors offerings. The main difference may indeed be the better reliability of Pingdom’s monitoring servers as opposed to their competitors which would reduce false alarms even without the Root Cause Analysis feature.
I suppose it is regrettable that another free service has now become less featureful, however, I am very thankful for what they have done for my website already. Sadly, this site isn’t the sort of site that is profitable enough to justify the new Starter plan’s subscription cost, so I suppose I will have to go with what’s on offer and make the most of that. Accordingly, the Pingdom Tools Real-User Monitoring tracking code will soon be removed from the site to reflect their changes and reduce my load on their servers.