10 Best Synthetic Monitoring Tools in 2022

Better Stack Team
Updated on May 4, 2022

Synthetic monitoring is a part of APM, or application performance management, set of practices. Meaning, that it serves to ensure that you will always deliver the expected level of performance to your customers. By itself, synthetic monitoring is a pretty vast term, since it includes dozens of practices of website and server monitoring solutions. However, it could be best described as bots, or intelligent scripts, that simulate real human behavior patterns to the point of failure, and that's good. Because if your bot encounters an error before your human customer, you have time to fix it. Synthetic monitoring tests your website, web services, APIs or servers under different conditions like geolocation, time of the day, type of device/browser, or applies a behavior specific to a certain customer type based on other metrics.

Synthetic monitoring vs RUM

In synthetic monitoring you simulate the interaction with your customers - you create a synthetic scenario, in real user monitoring, you collect data from the customer to service interaction. RUM is therefore a passive testing method, meaning, that you have to wait for a customer to start collecting data, Synthetic monitoring is scheduled, but also independent and faster, so in many ways more reliable. It is a proactive approach to monitoring. You can read more about synthetic monitoring in our community guides.

To read more about Real User Monitoring, check out MDN web docs on RUM.

Top synthetic monitoring services in 2022

We know that synthetic monitoring gives you the upper hand, now let's take a look at the best services in 2022.

1. Better Uptime

Better Uptime dash

Better Uptime offers a reimagined DevOps platform. It offers a complete uptime monitoring solution, with Incident management built-in and a public status pages manager.

Better Uptime offers HTTP(s) keyword checks, multi-step verification, heartbeat, SSL, Ping, and Port monitoring, and many more features. Better Uptime checks on your website every 30 seconds and from multiple locations, so no more false alarms or location-related issues will go unnoticed.

It supports plenty of integrations, including Datadog, New Relic, Grafana, Prometheus, Splunk On-Call, Zabbix, AWS CloudWatch, GCP, and Azure.

Each error is documented with a screenshot and a second-by-second timeline. In case of any accidents, your system will not be overwhelmed thanks to smart incident merging. On-Call calendar & scheduling will ensure an immediate response. Alerts are handled by Slack, MS Teams, Phone calls, SMS, Push notifications, Zapier, and Webhooks.

When analysing incidents, you can use its reporting and analytics capabilities to overview historical uptime, verify SLA, and better understand incidents in context using incident cause synthesis.

You can get BetterUptime for free with Slack, MS Teams and E-Mail alerts, Incident timelines, and 90 seconds check window. Your options grow bigger with the subsequent Freelance bundle for $24 with more alerting possibilities, more elaborate Incident management, 30 seconds monitoring period, or Heroku integration. However, if you need more, make sure to check Small Team, Business, or Enterprise bundles.

Main Benefits of Better Uptime:

  • 30 second monitoring frequency with locations available across the world
  • Incident management and status pages built-in
  • Generous free plan

2. Uptrends

Uptrends dash

Uptrends is a part of the ITRS group and offers multiple solutions, including Synthetics and RUM. Their synthetics monitoring allows you to monitor your HTTP(s), web services such as SOAP and REST API, security certificates, DNS, and servers from 229 locations around the globe. Their website performance monitoring features allow you to monitor your website and identify a culprit in case of any speed-related issues. Web Application Monitoring ensures that multi-step transactions work as they are supposed to.

All of the data is visualized in interactive charts, where you can zoom in on specific details or filter by date and time to get a closer look at your data and potentially discover patterns in your performance from a time-related perspective.

Uptrends offers a plethora of free tools, including uptime check, website speed test, traceroute, DNS report, or CDN performance check.

You can try Uptrends for free for 30 days. After that, you have to pick from multiple premium bundles, starting with the Starter pack for $15.47 a month. In the starter, you get one operator, one pre-selected checkpoint, Uptime monitoring, RUM, Internal server monitoring, Public status page, and alert escalation. If you need additional features, you can always update to Premium, Professional, Business, or Enterprise bundles.

Main benefits of Uptrends:

  • Both Synthetic and RUM solutions are available
  • more than 200+ checking locations around the globe

3. Checkly

Checkly dash

Checkly is an end-to-end and API monitoring platform, which allows you to get rid of broken signup forms and flaky shopping carts. Checkly uses Puppeteer & Playwright frameworks to accurately simulate interactions with a Chrome browser. Checkly's browser checks help you validate and measure the performance of your web app and provide you with valuable data useful for either debugging or optimization.

All of their checks run in real Chrome browsers, within a sealed-off sandbox, which ensures extra security. You can run custom Javascript before and after each API check. Using Checkly’s cUrl and Swagger API importers you can create API checks with just a couple of clicks. Your web is monitored every 60 seconds, and with CI/CD integration and optional coding, you can tailor your Checkly Browser monitoring to your needs.

In case of any error, checkly alerts you via multiple platforms, including e-mail, SMS, Webhooks, Slack, MS Teams, Discord, Pagerduty, and more.

You can get Checkly for free, with 50k API check runs per month, 5k browser check runs, and basic features. Paid subscription operates in the Pay as you go mode, with $1.20 per 10K API check runs and $3.60 for 1k browser check runs.

Main benefits of Checkly:

  • Pricing
  • Open Source tools such as Headless Recorder

4. Dynatrace

Dynatrace dash

Dynatrace offers a full-observability, AI-powered platform. Its synthetic monitoring covers single-URL browser monitors, browser click paths, and HTTP monitors. Their web-based recorder allows you to record and then evaluate business-critical transactions. Their benchmarking allows you to better understand your site’s performance under stress and in specific conditions. Data output from these benchmarks can be used to optimize performance, compare your performance with the competition, or just understand where you stand performance-wise.

Dynatrace’s synthetic monitoring allows you to manage CDN and third-party performance, ensuring that you can keep your word to your users and that your partners will keep theirs. With proactive problem analysis, you can automate testing and dependencies analysis in seconds. You can rank problems by their importance and impact on your business. Finally, you can integrate Dynatrace with multiple communication platforms such as Slack, On-Call, Opsgenie, Pagerduty, ServiceNow, and more.

Dynatrace offers either a Full-stack monitoring bundle for $69 a month per 8GB per Host or a bunch of individual subscriptions, each with a specific focus. Synthetic monitoring can be found in the Digital experience monitoring for $11.

Main benefits of Dynatrace:

  • One-click integration with web analytics like Google
  • Session replaying
  • Other AI-boosted solutions within one platform

5. Sematext

Sematext dash

Sematext offers a full spectrum of monitoring solutions, and synthetics belongs among them. Using Sematext Synthetics, you can monitor your Uptime and API from multiple locations, from private networks, and behind firewalls. You can track network timings across all layers, including DNS, TCP, SSL, and HTTP. Using customized requests, you can monitor your APIs, and in case of any error, get notified on your favorite platform, including Slack, Email, Webhooks, and more.

Synthetics also lets you keep an eye on your website’s performance. You can get metrics concerning page load performance, core web vitals, third-party software performance and check its reliability by verifying SLAs. All of the tests take place in real Google Chrome Browser.

Sematext Synthetics operates in two modes. Firstly, the Pay-As-You-Go model with $2 per HTTP monitor and $7 per Browser monitor with a minimum of $5 subscription. Or you can decide to go for a classic bundle, starting at $29 a month with Starter. Starter includes 40 HTTP and 5 Browser monitors maximum and 30 days data retention. However, you can always rank up with the Pro subscription for $99 a month.

Main Benefits of Sematext:

  • Core Web Vitals monitoring
  • SSL monitoring
  • Page speed monitoring
  • CI/CD integration
  • Browser scripts

6. Uptime

Uptime dash

Uptime offers solutions for monitoring, alerting, reporting, and status pages. In uptime monitoring, you receive data from bulk management, SSL monitoring, Content Matching, API calls, Virus & malware scanning, Synthetics, and Ping. The checking interval is 60 seconds.

On top of that, Uptime also offers a solution for Real User Monitoring and Reporting. All of the data collected is visualized in custom dashboards. You can assign a custom dashboard based on their role in the team. Automated reporting allows you to send uptime monitoring data via automated links or API on a frequency you decide.

Alerts are handled by multiple platforms, including SMS, phone calls, and third-party integrations. Thanks to Uptime’s status pages, you can properly communicate your downtime. Status pages can be either public or private and are fully customizable.

Uptime offers reliable monitoring and reasonable pricing. Starting with the Basic subscription at $16 with 10 total checks, 1 transaction check limit, 1 RUM limit, 2 API checks, and Custom checks, all monitored from the US. If you are looking for more, you can always take a look at their Superior, Business, or Enterprise subscriptions.

Main benefits of Uptime:

  • Real User Monitoring
  • A lot of integrations are available
  • Status pages

7. Alertbot

Alertbot dash

AlertBot monitors your Web Pages, Multi-step Web Processes, Mobile Websites, and Servers. Their architecture allows you to set up multi-step monitoring with your own custom scripts; all you need to do is write them, upload them and then schedule them for monitoring.

Thanks to Alertbot's Waterfall Reports, you will be able to analyze the performance of every aspect of your website and find all the common sources of performance shortages that cause customer dissatisfaction.

You can get AlertBot in multiple flavors. Starting with the Essentials package for $89 a month with 100 availability monitors, 2 TrueBrowser monitors, and 10 steps TrueBrowser Multi-Step monitors. If you need more, you can always upgrade to Professional or Enterprise packages. However, if you need a tailored option, you can request a quote for a Custom package, ranging from $49 to $3499 a month.

Main Benefits of AlertBot:

  • Multi-User Accounts
  • Granular User Permissions
  • File Size Scanner
  • Network Operations View

8. Pingdom

Pingdom dash

Pingdom offers Synthetic and Real User Monitoring Solutions as two stand-alone bundles. Using Synthetic Monitoring, you can monitor Uptime, Page Speed, Transaction, and APs. On top of that, you can create custom Pingdom status pages that offer a certain level of customizability.

Pingdom monitors your website from over 100 locations around the globe, and in case of any outages, you will get notified via SMS or email. Each potential error is double-checked to prevent any false alarms.

Pingdom lets you easily identify and fix issues related to loading times. Granular web page load test allows you to monitor the performance of every single element. You can also overview historical data and evaluate the performance of your page over time, which can help you to spot performance trends and issues. Broken multi-step transactions like login, search, or checkout are monitored using probe servers f as often as every 5 minutes every day.

You can get Pingdom Synthetic Monitoring for $10 a month with 10 Uptime monitors, 1 Advanced monitor, Transaction monitoring, Page speed monitoring, and Uptime monitoring. You can edit your bundle with the number of monitors all the way to 30 000 Uptime monitors, for $18 000 a month.

Main Benefits of Pingdom:

  • Real User Monitoring
  • Infrastructure and Application Monitoring
  • Log Management and Analytics

9. Apica

Apica dash

Apica offers Synthetic Monitoring ensuring you will always deliver the critical transactions both you and your clients depend on. Websites are proactively monitored around the clock along with applications and APIs to identify availability and performance issues before they make any impact.

If you need to test any specific cases, you can script your own scenarios. Your website is tested from around the world, from over 60 countries and 180 server locations, including mainland China. Apica offers a highly scalable SaaS solution, Hybrid and On-premise deployments to meet high-security requirements. Apica’s synthetic monitoring integrates with leading APM tools, which allows you to get end-to-end application performance insights.

Apica does not offer standard pricing models, but you can always schedule a Workshop and get a custom quote.

Main Benefits of Apica:

  • Desktop application monitoring
  • Load testing
  • Apica scripting tools

10. Site24x7

Site24x7 dash

Site24x7’s Synthetic Monitoring allows you to monitor site availability in intervals as low as every 60 seconds from over 110 locations around the globe. You can also monitor your APIs and web applications. By analyzing historical data, you can easily identify performance trends occurring over time.

Using regular expression patterns or strings, you can check for the presence of a value in the returned response body, and you can also verify web server configuration by adding response headers.

You can record critical business transactions with their browser extension and check them from multiple locations by simulating traffic. You can either record typical user paths or import Selenium IDE test scripts and use them at regular intervals on a real browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Site24x7 starts at $9 a month with 10 Websites/Servers monitored, 1 Synthetic Web Transaction monitor, 1-minute poll frequency, and more than 110 available test locations. Their Pro bundle starts at $35 a month and offers up to 40 Websites/Servers monitored and 3 Synthetic Web Transactions monitored. If you are looking for a more complex solution, you can reach for their All-in-one PRO solution for $35 a month.

Main Benefits of Site24x7:

  • DNS servers monitor
  • Chrome and Firefox emulators
  • WebSocket endpoints monitor

How can synthetic monitoring benefit your project?

Keep your word - verify SLAs

Service level agreements or the SLAs are essential, the modern-day gentleman's word keeping your good reputation on the line. You need to understand what is your software actually capable of, how well it performs and if it performs sufficiently. All this can be found out via synthetic monitoring.

Keep an eye on your partners

Synthetic monitoring allows you to monitor if you deliver the promised quality of service, not only from your side, but also from the side of your partners. With synthetic monitoring you can keep an eye on all your third-party partners like payment processors, business analytics solutions, or various plugins. Their performance significantly affects the final result, and therefore, client satisfaction, so you better keep an eye on them. Trust, but verify.

Prepare for expansions and overloads

Synthetic monitoring helps you benchmark and baseline your software architecture. Benchmarking helps you to understand how effective your service actually is under different circumstances (like time of the day, location of your clients, number of requests, etc.), to estimate its performance after modifications or transitions, and to reveal its strong and weak aspects.

Understand, what it's like to be your client

Sometimes, you are just way too close to the problem and can't see the bigger picture. After all, how could you, you made the project, you know almost every line of the code. While that's great, it could also be a problem. Try to actually work with your own architecture from the user’s perspective, try different browsers, try different hours, locations, requests. And try dozens of different combinations.

Conclusion

In this article we briefly introduced and analyzed synthetic monitoring. We explained its main differences with Real User Monitoring and brought a list of the advantages it can bring you. We also proposed you a list of the best Synthetic Monitoring Tools in 2022.

Check Uptime, Ping, Ports, SSL and more.
Get Slack, SMS and phone incident alerts.
Easy on-call duty scheduling.
Create free status page on your domain.
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