Beware These 5 Possible Dangers Lurking in Free Website Monitoring Tools

by Louis Kingston

We’ve been told by the poets that the best things in life are free: A sunrise in spring, the scent of a flower, the coo of a baby, having a buddy who can get his hands on football tickets. It’s all so beautiful and uplifting (especially the football tickets).

But at the same time, the economists remind us that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And of course, we know from experience that this is often the case. How many times have we taken advantage of a so-called free offer, only to end up disappointed instead of delighted? A handful? Dozens? Hundreds? (And we haven’t even brought up that notorious gym membership yet…)

And that brings us to website monitoring. You know that this is important — or make that vital — to your business’s success. Indeed, going off-the-grid for even a minute can lead to lost sales and lasting reputation damage, and ongoing downtime issues can negatively impact search engine rankings. Hell hath no fury like Google and Bing scorned.

But what you may not know, is that the throng of free site monitoring tools out there may be part of the problem — not the solution. Here are five potential dangers lurking in these tools:

  1. No Technical Support

Many free site monitoring tools offer no technical support to help you pinpoint issues and identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Instead, they provide you with a FAQ (or some other similar resource), and expect you to solve your own problems. You can’t even complain about this, because there’s nobody to complain to.

  1. Excessive False Positives

 When is a downtime alert not a downtime alert? When it’s a false positive. These are truly (not falsely) frustrating and terrifying, and they’re a common problem among some free site monitoring tools.

  1. Reduced Test Frequencies

In their marketing, all free site monitoring tools promise to “constantly scan your site.” That sounds comforting. But some of these tools define “constantly” differently than you would— and not in a good way. Several minutes can pass between test frequencies, which means that if something goes wrong, you’ll be left in the dark for quite a while.

  1. Limited Testing Locations

Many free site monitoring tools test from one or two locations (which is a worst practice) instead of from multiple locations around the world (which is a best practice).

  1. Slow, Limited Product Updates

Many free site monitoring tools don’t get the latest, greatest and safest product updates — because the companies that make them can’t afford to do so. After all, someone has to pay for that stuff.

Why Free in the First Place?

In light of the above, you may be asking a very sensible question: with so many fundamental drawbacks and limitations, why do some companies offer free site monitoring tools in the first place?

In two words: loss leader.

In more than two words: these companies use a free site monitoring tool to get customers onto their roster, after which the upsell parade starts — and it never, ever ends. Eventually, some of these customers end up buying a premium (license/subscription) site monitoring solution at a hefty price tag. The company does a happy dance, rings a bell, updates a giant telethon-like tote board, and smokes a bunch of cigars.

OK, they don’t do any of those things (at least, we hope they don’t), but the fact remains that the free site monitoring tool was never a legitimate, functional business-grade solution in the first place. Economists 1, poets 0.

And Then, There’s AlertBot!

AlertBot isn’t free, for the simple reason that we:

  • Provide exceptional technical support
  • Filter out and prevent false positives
  • Conduct frequent testing
  • Test from multiple locations around the world
  • Regularly update our technology

At the same time, AlertBot is refreshingly affordable and makes CEOs and CFOs as happy as it makes CTOs and CSOs. So yes, the best things in life are free. But second best is getting a GREAT deal on a solution that over-delivers. That’s AlertBot. Try it now and see for yourself.

Louis is a writer, author, and avid film fan. He has been writing professionally for tech blogs and local organizations for over a decade. Louis currently resides in Allentown, PA, with his wife and German Shepherd Einstein, where he writes articles for InfoGenius, Inc, and overthinks the mythos of his favorite fandoms.

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