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Flexible server monitoring

Introducing Simon 5!

Simon version 5 is now available. It is a massive update, introducing a much-requested feature: syncing the Simon data between multiple Macs, plus a Simon Status service, a Link Checker filter, improved Find filter, iMessage and Speak Error notifiers, a new app icon, and much more.

Important: please note that Simon 5 requires a minimum of macOS 10.12 (Sierra), and is a paid upgrade from Simon 4. Purchasers since September 1, 2020 automatically get a version 5 license (that also works in previous versions).

Read the Simon What's New page for details.

settings basic website monitoring

Sorry to ask a silly question, but I'm still missing the basics of how to set up a monitor to monitor a website. From the documentation available, I don't understand the difference between a "block, block without changes, and change" and similarly, "request text" vs "response text."

Let me try to make this as straightforward as possible: If I want to monitor the status (is it down?) of a website, what a) method should I use for the service, and b) what are the basic settings for the filter?

Thanks! Kris

David Sinclair's picture

Re: settings basic website monitoring

Hi Kris,

Take a look at the tests that come with Simon for examples.

To monitor a website, you'd use the "Web (HTTP)" service.

Which filter you use depends on the site and what you want to check. The "Change" filter will detect any change on the page. Often you want to only look at a portion of the page, though, to avoid dynamic content like banners etc. So you would probably use a "Block" filter for that, to look at the HTML between two blocks of text. As the name implies, the "Block Without Changes" filter is the same as the "Block" one without detecting changes; it is useful if you want to narrow down the HTML for another filter.

You'd normally choose the "Response Text" as the filter input; that is the text output by the service; in this case, the HTML page source.

Let me know if you have any further questions. I'm happy to help.

Re: settings basic website monitoring

Hi David,
Thanks for the explanation. While the relationships are still not clear (for example, why are there filter options for a FTP or "Is app running" test? Do they apply here?, etc), I was apply to follow your response and set up a simple HTTP monitor.

I'm thinking what might be helpful are blog posts which step through examples. Say once a month, throw up a blog post about an example test scenario. Walk through the settings and explain why you set it up like you did. That may be just as/more helpful than the typical help documentation. Just an idea.

Thanks again and happy holidays!

David Sinclair's picture

Re: settings basic website monitoring

Filters are very flexible; you can look at the output from any service, and detect changes, failures, or even do other things or use custom logic.

Tutorial blog posts are a good idea. I'd welcome suggestions of scenarios to cover.