Website Monitoring: Is There Any Such Thing as a Free Ride?

It seems that there are an abundance of website monitoring services offering “free” website monitoring on the Web. Of course, this brings to light the question, why should you pay for something you can get for free? Before you decide to fore-go a website monitoring company that is up front with its pricing and opt for one of these free website monitoring services, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Is It Really Free?
There are two types of people in this world who believe they can actually get something of value for nothing. Those who are hopelessly optimistic and those who are just very naive. If a website monitoring service is offering their services for free, there is a reason for it.

People usually don’t wake up one day and say “I’m going to invest my money and open up a company that is going to offer something for free and expect nothing in return.” If a website monitoring service is offering their services for free, there is a reason for it. Either they are offering you a “bare bones” package that they expect you to upgrade, for a price, when you realize the “free” version you are receiving doesn’t cover your needs or they are making their money in other ways, such as ad placement or other revenue sources. Either way, the chances of a “free” website monitoring service covering your website monitoring needs are free to none.

Starting with a Service That Will Cost You More in the Long Run
Of course, one of the biggest dangers of using a free website monitoring service (only to find out later on that it is not enough) and upgrading at a later time is that you may end up spending more than you would have had you just started out with a website monitoring company that was up front about its packages and pricing. If a company needs to lure you in with a free package, only to have you pay to upgrade later, you need to ask yourself why they aren’t up front about the price of the package you actually need. Chances are, the service will cost you more in the long run than had you opted for a website monitoring service that didn’t lure you in with a “free” package. If you do an apples-to-apples package pricing comparison, you may very well find that the services that do not offer free packages are more affordable than the ones that do.

Inferior Services
Another thing to consider when evaluating free website monitoring service is what services they are actually providing. How will they be monitoring your website’s up-time? How often will they be checking your site? If your site does go down, how will they contact you regarding the outage? Oftentimes the only method of contact a free website monitoring service offers is email. If you are not awake when the email comes in, or your email is down along with your site, the notification will not do you much good and you will be losing precious minutes of up-time for each moment the site is down and you are left unaware.

The Best Way to Choose a Website Monitoring Service
It is never a good idea to shop for a website monitoring service based on price alone, and it is definitely not a good idea to choose one just because it is free. Your best bet is to compare services side by side, seeing exactly what level of service they offer and how those services meet your needs. Then, when you understand what you need and what is being offered, choose the package that is right for you. Cost should be one of the minor factors in your decision when you consider the fact that website monitoring services are one of the few services that can actually pay for themselves over time.