The best degradation monitoring services will immediately alert you to any unauthorized changes to your website, helping you to protect your assets online.
In July 2001, the Code Red worm infected more than 359,000 hosts that were running a vulnerable implementation of Windows NT. Visitors to compromised websites were greeted with the message: “HELLO! Welcome to http://www.worm.com! Hacked By Chinese!
Code Red and the phrase “Hacked by Chinese!” have long since become an Internet legend, but the danger of website degradation is clear and present. Hackers can target your site at any time, so unless you are viewing a page as it has been edited, it’s difficult to respond quickly.
In this guide, you will discover an elegant solution to the problem of website degradation in the form of the best web security tools today. These automate the task of regularly checking your domains for anomalies and ensure that you are notified if unauthorized changes are detected.
There are options for all budgets, from free services suitable for casual bloggers to premium platforms for large business owners.
So here are the best website degradation monitoring services currently available.
Visualping is a deceptively simple tool that offers powerful protection against website degradation. Users of the iOS / Android website or mobile apps only need to enter a URL and email address to receive regular updates of any changes made.
The tool works by taking regular snapshots of the page in question and then comparing them on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. It can also be customized to trigger an alert in the event of small, medium or large changes.
Visualping is not designed specifically for degrading websites. As the developer website mentions, this will work equally well for checking the release of concert tickets or the launch of a new product. However, its ability to display overlaid “images” along with the fact that you can control how often Visualping checks for changes means that it is certainly fit for purpose.
The basic free version of Visualping allows you up to 2 free checks per day. The costs then vary on a very reasonable sliding scale depending on the number of checks required. If you need to monitor multiple domains, consider installing the Visualping Chrome web extension. Once installed, just click on the Visualping button to start monitoring the current page.
Due to its name, Visualping may not be able to detect unseen changes to pages such as source code changes. If malware is an issue, consider one of the other tools in this guide.
StatusCake is a multi-level treat for webmasters. This UK-based site offers a way to check your pages for degradation and downtime from various locations: the project maintains 48 monitoring centers in 28 countries around the world. Many centers support the latest IPv6 protocol.
This gives subscribers a much more refined experience compared to simpler competitors. Not only can you adjust the frequency of the checks, but you can also specify the location from which you want to monitor the pages. StatusCake even offers a speed test to show how fast a page loads when checked.
There is a free package that can perform up to 10 checks at 5 minute intervals. This is fine for hobbyist bloggers and those with very monolithic websites, but business owners can benefit more from a paid membership.
They are very competitively priced compared to other monitoring services, but whatever plan you choose, StatusCake includes several notification options including email, SMS, and even push notifications via Android / iOS. This service also works with some third party applications such as PagerDuty.
Sucuri started in 2010 under the leadership of developer Daniel Cid who envisioned a tool that could give webmasters a better insight into the security status of their websites.
It is safe to say that Mr. Cid succeeded. Sucuri cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) not only works as a monitoring platform, but contains many tools to help prevent malicious attacks by hackers such as firewall, antivirus and DDoS protection. Perhaps this is the reason why Sucuri was acquired by legendary hosting provider GoDaddy in March 2018.
Sucuri website firewall can handle malware prevention through the use of a dedicated whitelist, so that only authorized parties can connect to your site. Sucuri also regularly monitors changes to your pages and may display the appropriate warnings. In addition, there is free malware and security analysis software that you can use at sitecheck.sucuri.net.
The department also has a dedicated incident response team, which works 365 days a year to help you restore your site if something goes wrong. Subscribers are guaranteed a response within 12 hours to all such requests for assistance. The basic tier also includes features like firewall (with whitelist and blacklist support), continuous degradation scanning, and malware cleanup.
Unfortunately, there is no free trial for Sucuri, but the main site does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if users are not satisfied.
OnWebChange is one of the most versatile and useful tools when it comes to protecting against degradation. Since it was originally developed by Briton Tom Carnell in 2009, the service has exploded and can boast tens of thousands of users. This is in part due to the sophisticated monitoring functions. First, users can select one or more areas to monitor from a web page. This is ideal if you maintain pages with dynamic content.
OnWebChange will notify you whenever a change takes place, either by email or push notifications in Android / iOS. Power users can also use HTTP callbacks with their own login data to automatically adjust website content, for example to restore a degraded page. Additionally, users can use multi-regional tracking which allows you to visit web pages as if you were visiting them from different geographic regions of the world. In addition, “Browser Mode” feature is available, which allows you to follow any public web page.
The generous free tier offers subscribers advanced CSS (page content selection) as well as the ability to scan both PDF and plain text files for edits. Free tier users are allowed a maximum of 3 tracked sites per month. Checks are carried out up to 30 times (approximately once a day).
Premium subscribers get advanced features like unlimited trackers and checks every 60 minutes. The highest subscription level called “Turbo-100”, allows a 5 minute follow-up with some additional features.
Fluxguard offers various powerful features in addition to degradation monitoring and as such attracts a variety of customers. Its monitoring for website changes is quite efficient with full crawls of browser pages and other functions depending on what you paid for.
The service provides multiple levels of web change detection. Each page is captured and any pixel change is detected. The HTML code is compared and the text is extracted and checked for changes, and the full analysis of network changes is performed. The service also runs Google Lighthouse audits. The full crawls of the browser pages already mentioned include full logging of network activity, multiple screenshots, a rendered DOM capture, and a few other things.
Pricing is versatile with several plans available, including the free plan. The free plan gives you 50 credits per month, and 1 credit equals full page crawl, so you can crawl and monitor 50 pages per month. The plan includes detection of visual, HTML and text changes, as well as 100% dynamic page monitoring. You also get the Google Chrome crawler, Google Lighthouse audits, and instant email alerts.
All things considered, Fluxguard is a good choice for all of your degradation monitoring needs, and their free plan provides a good starting point for exploring what the service can do.