Recently I had an Skype message from Susan, our "nonprofit administrator herder" for the Nonprofits in Second Life project. I have to assume that she was posting to the site, or perhaps reading some recent content. In any case, she IMed me because the site was down. I'm acting as the Web master, so this made good sense. I probed a little bit and came to the conclusion that the server was completely unresponsive.
I sent a quick note to our very good friends at Social*Signal who have generously donated the server space. It turned out that it was a system-wide issue with the hosting company that they work with.
So how can a nonprofit track uptime/downtime of sites they run? Obviously you can't sit and watch your site all the time. You can use software that sends a request to your server every so often and the software waits for a response from the server–no response means the site is probably down. If you don't have the skill set to set up this kind of monitoring software, there is a free or nearly free solution out there–http://www.siteuptime.com. It takes five minutes to set up and it will start monitoring your site immediately. If you only have one site to monitor, it is free. Three sites cost $5/month. Six sites cost $10/month.
Site uptime is now enabled for the NPSL site. I get an email when the site goes down, when it comes back up, and a report each month on how much time was offline.
Written by: Creech