One of the cool things about working for SolarWinds is there's always something to learn. Whether I'm learning about a new product or acquisition, diving deeper into a familiar product, or taking a peek at a product I don't even support, learning is a huge part of my job. Today, I'm peeking at Web Performance Monitor (previously Synthetic End-User Monitor).


What is website performance monitoring?

When I started looking at this product, my first question was about the fundamental problem it's intended to solve. In short, website performance monitoring is all about maintaining a certain level end-user experience on your websites. It can even extend to internal (or external) web applications. The idea is some piece of software impersonates a user accessing the website or application and reports the results. If the results are poor or indicate some kind of issue, the software also sends you alerts so you can address the issues proactively -- hopefully before any real user experiences a problem.


Why is it important to monitor website performance?

My next question was basically, "So what?" As a consumer of websites and web applications, I deal with performance issues all the time. It's a fact of my life; I get over it. But after I looked into the implications these performance issues can potentially have, it became clear to me that poor website performance really is a problem. For example, if you're managing a website that handles sales transactions, poor performance often equates to lost sales. Similarly, if you're managing an application that internal users need to get their work done, poor performance equals decreased (or even halted) productivity. These and other issues of the sort make a strong case for proactive, real-time monitoring.


What to look for in a website monitoring solution?

There are several things to look for in a website performance monitor. At SolarWinds we're all about quick deployment and ease-of-use, so those two things almost go without saying. Here are some other, more problem-specific things to look for:

  • The monitoring solution should be flexible -- able to monitor any website and other web-based applications.
  • It should be granular -- capable of identifying a specific fail-point in a problem transaction.
  • It should be proactive -- alerting you when something goes wrong.
  • It should be global, like your users -- able to test transactions and performance from a variety of locations, be they local, domestic, international, or all of the above.


For additional information about what to look for in a website performance monitoring solution, check out this slide share that details 3 Smart Tips for Keeping Your Websites Going Strong.