For the past four years, I have tried a number of different solutions to monitor my website. Some of them used email as a delivery service, others a Mac app, and none of them looked as polished and simple as I’d like them to be. Especially after our move to a dedicated Mac mini, I wanted a reliable, intuitive, nice-looking solution to always be up to date in regards to my server’s status.
Just after our move to a new host, I found Vigil thanks to a recommendation by John Gruber. Developed by Heirloom, Vigil is an iPhone app that does two things: it monitors websites and it sends you push notifications if something’s wrong with them. There’s a free 30-day trial, after which you’ll have to sign up for a $9.99 yearly subscription to continue using Vigil with an unlimited number of websites. I signed up immediately after a week of testing and I have been using Vigil since.
There was one time when our server went down for a minute, and Vigil promptly sent me a push notification. As you can guess, I’m also using Vigil to monitor Apple’s WWDC website, and I’ve already received two false positives when Apple made minor tweaks to the Developer page: in Vigil, you can choose between three levels of sensitivity for push notifications, my favorite one being “Vigilant” so that a site is considered down after one failed connection attempt.
The main page of the app, called Websites, lists all the websites that you’ve manually added to Vigil. Alongside names, the app will also display domain names, HTTP status codes, and ping time in milliseconds. Tap on a website, and the app will open a side panel with the same data, plus download speeds and a graph showing ping times. In the bottom toolbar, there’s a large Ping button to manually start a new ping request.
Today, the Vigil developers also launched a dedicated page to add your Vigil websites to Panic’s Status Board (my review). To configure the custom board, go to the Vigil website, enter your Vigil account credentials, and tap the link to send the board automatically to Status Board.
In Panic’s app, you’ll be prompted to add the board, which will display status codes, website names, ping times, and download speeds.
I like Vigil. It’s easy to use, it has a distinctive look, and it worked well when I needed it. I trust Vigil for my website monitoring needs, and I highly recommend it.
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