We’ve all experienced issues accessing websites—from 404 page errors to basic connectivity errors—but nothing is more vexing than when it’s your own website giving you trouble. When a problem occurs, you may struggle to determine whether the culprit is your computer, your network, your Internet service, or the server itself. Because there are so many ways things can go wrong, the underlying issue can often be tricky to identify.
Fortunately, there are many free troubleshooting tools that can help you identify where the issue is, how to fix it, and how to prevent network downtime in the future.
Whether you’re a business owner managing a few devices or an IT professional managing hundreds, you can benefit from using the following tools.
1) Website status monitoring tools: See if a website is down or responding slowly
Sometimes when you can’t access your website, you may not be sure if your site is unresponsive or if your network connection is just slow. Tools like the Spiceworks Website Down Checker can help you identify if you’re experiencing an isolated issue with your site or if the issue is widespread. If you are unable to access your site and want to determine whether it’s responsive for others, simply enter your URL. The tool will then tell you whether others are experiencing the same problem.
If you want to dig deeper into an issue and, for example, find out how quickly your servers are responding, the site www.isitdownrightnow.com can help. Just plug in your URL to instantly access information such as your site’s current response time and its outage record.
2) Ping tools: Check if a server, website, or device is “alive” and responding
Pinging is a simple method of sending a data packet (a unit of information) from one device to another and measuring how long it takes to receive a response. This can be used to assess whether two machines can communicate with one another and the amount of time it takes them to do so.
3) Traceroute: Pinpoint where a connection is broken
Traceroute tools help you trace and map the route that data packets take when they travel from point A to point B. A traceroute command can be performed through the command line utility (or a more sophisticated tool) to return an ordered list of the routers your data passed through on the way to its final destination.
If you’re experiencing problems with your Internet connection for business, this diagnostic utility can help you locate where in the chain the problem occurred so that you can debug. For a more user-friendly interface than the command line, Path Analyzer Pro is one of the top traceroute tools that you can consider.
4) Network monitoring software: Keep an eye on all your critical devices, websites, and services
Servers can go down for any number of reasons—from a power loss to an issue with an operating system. Diagnosing the issue quickly is essential to getting your site back up and running. If you are a business owner with a lot of tasks on your plate, this process can become unmanageable. Manually checking your devices and servers is tedious and will absorb a lot of time that you’d rather spend elsewhere.
Network monitoring solutions provide real-time insights for all of your servers and will alert you at the first sign of trouble. Network monitoring software can also automate “ping checks” to determine whether a server, VoIP phone, security camera, or any other device is online and responding. Network monitoring software like Spiceworks Monitor allows you to send alerts to personnel whenever something is amiss so you can stay informed and quickly respond to any issue.
When diagnosing problems with your site, having access to the right tools is essential. By equipping yourself before an issue arises, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever your PC, network, or server throws at you.