Deprecated Site!

The new AlertFox Help Pages have replaced
this wiki as the primary place of AlertFox documentation.

Information on this site will no longer be
updated and will be taken offline, eventually.

FAQ

From AlertFox Website Monitoring
Jump to: navigation, search

Our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) are listed on the AlertFox website.

Contents

Web Monitoring Questions

Q: How can I monitor Flash applets?

Please see http://www.alertfox.com/Help. Also, please note that all PRO accounts include our free iMacros macro creation service for new customers to help get you started. You just need to send us a series of screenshots that describe the web transactions you need to monitor, and we create the transaction monitoring macros for you within one or two business days. Of course, this service is available for all iMacros macros - not just those that monitor Flash applets. We add the completed macro(s) directly to your AlertFox account, where you can test it yourself and modify it as needed.

If you want to create or change Flash monitoring scripts yourself, please:

  • Download the iMacros Standard Edition (free license included with the PRO2 and PRO3 account types), and
  • Use the iMacros Browser or iMacros for Internet Explorer for Flash monitoring. These versions support the DirectScreen and computer vision-based image search commands.

Q: How can I monitor HTTP Basic Authentication protected websites?

The best way to monitor such sites is to create an iMacros sensor to log into the website. You can simply record the login process with an iMacros Browser add-on or use this pre-made macro:

 SET !ENCRYPTION NO
 ONLOGIN USER=<your user name> PASSWORD=<your password>
 URL GOTO=http://www.yourURL.com/

Q: How can I monitor HTTPS (SSL)-encrypted websites?

Currently the HTTP Sensor does not suppport https website URLs. But typically, SSL-protected sites contain important features such as logins and shopping carts, and/or they are complex web applications. Thus best way to monitor such sites is to monitor not only their uptime, but also their functionality => Create an iMacros sensor for the website. This will monitor the performance of the site accurately in a real browser and also check the certificate validity and expiration, making sure all important features really work.

Note: If you want to monitor test or staging servers that use self-signed certificates, we can install your certificates on our monitoring servers (PRO3 or PRO3+ accounts).

Q: How can I search for a specific keyword on a web page with iMacros?

This question is answered in the iMacros FAQ: How can I search for a specific keyword on a web page?.

Q: How can I verify that a downloaded file is correct?

AlertFox can not only test the download of a file, but also use the iMacros ONDOWNLOAD...CHECKSUM feature to verify the integrity of a downloaded file.

Q: How can I monitor the file download speed?

The following macro monitors the imacros-setup.exe file download speed:

 ONDOWNLOAD FOLDER=* FILE=* WAIT=YES
 URL GOTO=http://www.iopus.com/download/iMacros-Setup.exe
 WAIT SECONDS=1

Since the only thing that the macro does is to download the file, the macro runtime = download time!

Q: How can I monitor a payment gateway?

There are some test credit card numbers available that can be used to test credit card handling software. But none of these numbers will work when trying to buy something (if you hadn't guessed).

As we can see from our customers, the only way to completely (end to end) test a payment gateway like Paypal is to use a real credit card. Banks do not supply test credit cards. Some customers use specific real credit cards for their web testing so they can monitor the charges easily. Our customer area is SSL protected, so you can securely enter macros with credit card information in our website. Just make sure that you do not trigger a real shipment with such a test order, e. g. by ordering a test product or a service.

Q: How can I monitor video buffering speed?

AlertFox can monitor the buffering speed for all kinds of online videos. The system can - for example - measures the time from the page load until the video starts to play. You can also check on other events, such as the Flash player itself appearing on the website.

All does is done inside a real web browser using image recognition (computer vision), so the real user experience is monitored. Thus detecting for example a video server overload is no problem for iMacros.

The basic approach is the same as descriped in the Flash monitoring question above, which also uses the computer vision feature of AlertFox/iMacros.

Q: How can I detect Javascript errors?

Please add the command ONERRORDIALOG BUTTON=YES CONTINUE=NO to your macro. This tells iMacros to stop on a Javascript error and report the issue. By default, iMacros/AlertFox ignores Javascript errors unless they cause the monitored functionality to fail.


Q: How can I detect individual steps taking longer than a specified time to complete?

You can add the

SET !TIMEOUT_STEP <x>

command before any command that you want to limit to max. <x> seconds. So if a certain action (e. g. an Ajax request) takes longer, AlertFox will report an error. The default without this setting is six seconds per TAG or IMAGESEARCH/IMAGECLICK command.

For page loads, the command is SET !TIMEOUT_PAGE. The default here is 60 seconds.

Detailed performance information is available in the HTTP traffic performance logs (HAR) and the macro performance profiles that AlertFox reports on each error.

Q: How can I monitor Remote Desktop connection?

If you are using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to a remote server, then you can enable the Remote Desktop Web Connection on the server and monitor it over the web, using AlertFox.

Here is some information about Remote Desktop Web Connection from Microsoft: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Connect-to-another-computer-using-Remote-Desktop-Web-Connection

Need help configuring your RDP monitoring? Send us a note and we will help!

Q: Do you support monitoring of web applications that require ActiveX controls?

Yes, we fully support monitoring ActiveX controls.

While we don't allow our measurement stations to accept arbitrary plugins/ActiveX controls automatically, we can add yours manually. Please tell us where to get it, and we will update our servers accordingly.

Q: Can I do email round-trip monitoring?

Our transaction checks can be scripted to monitor availability and performance of a sample email round-trip 2-step session, to ensure that your incoming and outgoing email services are working properly and in a timely manner from an end-to-end perspective.

The alerts and the reports clearly indicate at which stage the email system test failed, so troubleshooting can be performed in minimum time.

Q: How can I use current date and time, e.g. for random string generation?

You can use iMacros !NOW variable, which returns the current time and date in a format you select. See this article in iMacros wiki for more details.

Note however, that !NOW always returns the system time of the server the macro is executed on (normally our servers are set to UTC) and thus it can't take your timezone settings into account.

If the timezone is important, you can have your macro navigate to a website that displays the time you need (e.g. http://www.worldtimeserver.com/current_time_in_US-CA.aspx) and extract the time stamp. Send us a note if you need any help with that and we will gladly assist you.

Q: How can I schedule a blackout period?

Blackout periods are not yet available via the general user interface, so please email your requirements to our support team and we can set them up for you.

Q: How can I monitor DNSSEC?

While there is no separate DNSSEC sensor type, AlertFox can indeed check DNSSEC by using internet services like the Verisign Labs DNSSEC Debugger. If that is all you need, then an HTTP sensor suffices (cf. [1]).

However, using an iMacros sensor, you can use any other online service as well.

If you are a PRO customer, we will create such a test for you. Just tell us.

Q: Can I encrypt login passwords in our macros?

In order for iMacros to decrypt a password and enter it into a login form, it needs to know the master password used to encrypt the password. This is usually accomplished with one of the following methods:

  1. Stored master password. The master password used to encrypt/decrypt the login password is stored on the machine running iMacros. Because AlertFox runs macros for many different customers on many different servers, it is not possible to simply store one master password on the machine itself. Each customer requires their own master password.
  2. Prompt for the master password. iMacros will prompt the user to enter the master password the first time it is required. This option is not viable with AlertFox since obviously, the macro is running in the cloud and there is no user available to enter the master password.

We could offer an implementation of the first method above by allowing each AlertFox account holder to assign a master password to their account. This password would then be encrypted (using a passphrase known only to AlertFox) and stored within the AlertFox system. The passwords in your macros could then be encrypted using this master password, and when AlertFox runs one of these macros, it would retrieve your master password and pass it along to iMacros.

The problem with this approach is that it still does not offer the level of security that you might require, primarily because your master password is stored on the AlertFox server. Anyone who happens to compromise the AlertFox server could potentially access your master password, and hence the login passwords in your macros. This is why we don't offer this method.

The best solution is one where the master password is not stored on the same system with your macros. This is possible with the AlertFox EUM Poller (iDrone). With this configuration, the master password used for decryption stays locally on the iDrone and never reaches the AlertFox servers. If you would like to try this solution, please visit the iDrone page for download/setup details and general information on what it has to offer.

Reporting and Alerting Questions

Q: Is an email sent when a monitored server fails?

A: Yes, you will receive an email alert immediately whenever a sensor detects a problem (e.g., the site is down or the response time is too slow (timeout)).

You will receive another notification when the site is up again.

Q: Why am I not getting alert emails?

I'm not getting the alert emails even though the sensor detail logs report a Failed status and I have configured contact emails under the notification options.

A: Check the following:

  • Make sure that the alert emails are not being filtered to your junk/spam folder by your email provider or client.
  • Double-check the "Alert on failure" setting in the sensor options. Is it set to notify once or repeatedly? If it is set to notify once, then you will only receive one alert email when the sensor first fails.
  • Look at your Alerts Log report. This shows all the alert emails that were sent by AlertFox.

Q: Do you offer SMS alerts?

A: Yes - see the Contacts chapter.

Q: Do you offer escalation rules?

We offer flexible escalation rules e.g. notify contact A on the first failure and notify contact B only if the error persists after one hour.

The escalation are not yet available via the general user interface, so please email your requirements to our support team and we can set them up for you.

Q: In the report, what does Average, OK and NOK means?

Average = average response time

OK = server ok (up and responding quickly)

NOK = server not ok (down or very slow)

Q: Can AlertFox follow website redirections?

Yes, the HTTP Sensor follows redirections (e.g., HTTP/1.1 302 Found) and monitors the real website - not only the redirecting server. By contrast, simple ping-based uptime monitoring services cannot do that and, consequenty, would monitor the wrong server.

Another option is to use an iMacros Sensor. It runs in a real browser, so it follows any kind of redirections, even tricky ones based on Javascript or Flash (just like the IE or Firefox web browser does).

A simple Firefox test macro looks like this:

 URL GOTO=http://www.yoursite.com
 TAG POS=1 TYPE=* ATTR=TXT:"*test for some text on your site*"

Q: Can I see the page HTML when an error occurs, i.e. "view source"?

You can see the full HTML by enabling the waterfall charts on the sensor and then viewing the Response for the top-most element.

HAR Response.png

Q: Why can't I select past last month when generating a custom report?

AlertFox sensor data is retained for a period of 60 days, therefore all reports will be limited to this time frame.

AlertFox Web Interface and Backend Questions

Q: What browsers do you run on the backend?

A: Please see the backend monitoring server page for details.


Q: How can I disable/enable monitoring for many sensors at once?

The fastest method for doing this is to navigate to your sensor page and then run this iMacros macro via the "LOOP" button. You can adjust the start and end values to match the range of sensors you want to disable/enable.

 VERSION BUILD=6301104 RECORDER=FX
 URL GOTO=http://www.alertfox.com/EditAccountSensors
 TAG POS={{!LOOP}} TYPE=A ATTR=TXT:Edit
 'This lines DISables monitoring
 TAG POS=1 TYPE=INPUT:CHECKBOX FORM=NAME:form1 ATTR=ID:ctl03_ctl00_dvDetail_cbMonitoringEnabled CONTENT=NO
 'This line enables monitoring again
 'TAG POS=1 TYPE=INPUT:CHECKBOX FORM=NAME:form1 ATTR=ID:ctl03_ctl00_dvDetail_cbMonitoringEnabled CONTENT=YES
 TAG POS=1 TYPE=INPUT:SUBMIT FORM=ID:form1 ATTR=ID:ctl03_ctl00_dvDetail_btUpdate

Of course, the same approach can be used for any other mass changes in your AlertFox account.

Q: How do I change my account password?

Please see this screenshot.

Change password.jpg


iDrone Questions

Q: If I use iDrone to host an iMacros sensor on my VM, will I be able to utilize items saved in my browser's cache?

For example, could I save the login/password info in the browser's password save section and thereby bypass the login steps in the script.

The short answer is, it depends.

If the password filling relies on the actual browser cache, then this will not work for IE or the iMacros Browser since the iDrone regularly purges the cache. There is currently no way to prevent this.

If the password filling relies on built-in browser password storage, such as with Firefox or Chrome, then this should work fine.

Keep in mind that this is not an officially supported feature, and that you can use iMacros password encryption as an official alternative.

Billing Questions

Q: How can I update my credit card information?

Please log into the subscription control panel (which is for security reasons not the same as your regular AlertFox account). Once logged in, select the "Manage Cards" link.

Q: How can I view and print my invoices?

Please log into the subscription control panel. Once logged in, select the "Charges" menu.

Q: How can I add more real browser monitoring checks to my PRO3 account?

The PRO3 account contains up to 10 real browser monitoring checks (iMacros sensors) with a 15 min measurement interval.

  • Each sensor can be upgraded to a 5-min interval for only US$20/month.
  • Additional 15-min interval sensors are available for US$20/month.
  • Additional 5-min interval sensors are available for US$40/month.

To add new sensors please contact us or email suppport AT alertfox.com directly. The new checks will only be billed starting with the next billing period. Of course, you can add or remove the extra checks anytime.

Q: How can I add more classic checks to my PRO3 account?

Our PRO3 plan already contains up to 50 classic checks. If you need even more, please contact us or email suppport AT alertfox.com directly. We can add extra classic checks to your account at no extra cost.