New European monitoring server

Insping is steadily growing as a reliable web monitoring service. Today we are adding a new monitoring server(we call it as edge center) in Europe region.

What is the actual effect?

The first advantage is improved reliability and avoiding false positives.

By this launch we will change edge center/location of some accounts to this new edge center. So the source IP of monitoring requests might change and you may need to update your firewall rules accordingly.

From now when we detect high load/error rate, We will change edge center/location of some selected accounts which does not have a fixed edge center preference(Plus or higher plan users can request for a fixed edge center preference).

We request you to update your firewall rules to allow the following IPs which we are using for our servers. The first two are the existing IPs (which you might have already whitelisted) and the third one is our new IP.

  1. 54.69.149.131
  2. 52.35.187.228
  3. 34.248.203.77

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Insping announces a new monitoring server!

From humble beginnings of having a few customers to growing steadily to be on the map as a reliable web monitoring service, we at Insping have come a long way.

We owe a lot of our success to you, our loyal customers for having believed in us and stood by us through this one year journey. We believe that with such growth, comes a lot of responsibility to provide a world class product that meets your exact needs.

We take great pride to announce that we have added a new monitoring server to enhance your monitoring services as well as to provide more security and to enhance your experience with Insping.

The new update provides

  1. Higher reliability and robustness
  2. Added security
  3. Well-rounded monitoring for your websites, APIs, and lots more

With this update, we request you to update your firewall rules to allow the following IPs which we are using for our servers. The first one is the existing IP (which you might have already whitelisted) and the second is our new IP.

  1. 54.69.149.131
  2. 52.35.187.228

Please do add the two to your whitelist (if required) and enjoy the Insping experience.

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What went wrong with Insping’s newest feature – Weekly Reports!

What is the Weekly Reports feature?

The Weekly Reports feature in Insping is designed to send an email report to users about their summary of checks on a weekly basis. With this feature, every Insping user having at least one active check will receive an email with the summary of last week’s checks.

 

 

What went wrong with this feature?

We designed, developed, and deployed prematurely by mistake. Yes, we deployed it accidentally. Because of this, all Insping active users received the report email with some incorrect data on it.

 

How it happened (The Big Issue because of a small old bug)

Actually, the story started a few months ago. We did a UI change on ‘Manage’ section which introduced a bug. Due to this bug,  admins or owners will not be able add users to organizations, specifically when they have more than one organization.

We failed to notice this issue because the above is a fairly rare edge-case scenario. We developed the reports feature and we were doing a quick test, but unfortunately we ended up exactly in the edge case scenario. We found the bug and and fixed it instantly. We did not just do the UI fix, but released the weekly reports as well. Yes, instead of deploying just the front end application, we rolled out everything by running similar commands from the bash history.

 

What is the invalid data?

  1. We generated reports for 8 days instead of 7
  2. We showed the uptime values for the downtime as well, so now both uptime and downtime reflected the same values.

 

How did we correct it?

Actually, we didn’t. We had already sent the email to all the active users and we don’t know any magic spell to bring them back. So, we just made the fixes and kept the app ready. From the next week onwards, your reports will be proper. After releasing the fix, we sent an apology email to all the users explaining the situation.

What we could have done to avoid this mistake

  1. Release Pipelining with CI CD
  2. Avoid on-demand releases
  3. Focus on one thing at a time

Release Pipelining

This process will transition the code (commit revision of version control systems like git) to a release. Every feature (i.e) revision should be put into the pipeline. The pipeline process should take care of release. Typically, each release will be going trough multiple stages of pipeline and each stage will do certain sanity checks. For example in stage 1 run automated test cases, stage 2 will place it in internal beta testing environment and wait for approval from QA members, stage 3 brings it to alpha testing and finally stage 4 will release it to production.

What is this CI and CD?

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) can be part of the release pipelining. With continuous integration, every branch of code (any source code change can be a feature under development) can be tested as soon as possible. Continuous delivery will give the ability to release the code seamlessly, typically by a merge operation of version control systems.

Bunch of ready made solutions are available of CI and CD. Here are a few

 

Avoid on demand releases

The whole mistake was because we wanted to deploy the UI bug as soon as we fixed the bug, without a QA or pipe line process. On-demand quick release always involve risks like this. So we should have avoided it.

But then again, we should be able to do on demand releases in case it becomes an urgent requirement. In cases like security bugs, we can not wait for pipeline process

Focus on one thing at a time

There always are added errors in parallel processing. Even in the current advanced computing era, there are lots of issues related to concurrency like race conditions, dead locks etc. The main cause of the weekly reports error is becayse we deviated from actual works and started other (UI bug fix).

Our biggest learning has been that we should always try to focus on one prioritized thing. And we certainly promise to do so.

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Now Insping free plan includes webhooks and SMS Alerter, credit goes to zapier

Yes this credit goes to zapier only.

Insping is providing a Free plan to support smaller businesses, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and personal bloggers. Free plan can be used to monitor uptime and performance of  up to 2 URL/websites but it wasn’t included integrations like webhooks and twilio SMS/Text Alerters.

Today zapier approved the insping app. And now insping is listed in zapier’s App Directory globally.

zapier is really cool and great platform for integrating and connecting internet applications together. With this we can get insping alerts in number of internet application easily. By just creating a zap, you can get insping alerts(uptime or downtime) in your favorite applications.

This is very use full for insping users. But we realized that all this awesomeness is not available for Free users. Because zapier integration works on top of webhooks which is not available in Free plan.

Why can’t we give limited integrations to Free plan users?

So we made the decision to add webhooks and SMS Alerter to Free plan.

This is the story behind this good decision.

So ultimately all the credit goes to zapier.

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Why we chose to make webhooks the first integration feature?

We have now started integrations with webhooks. Yes, webhooks is the first feature of insping under integrations category.

So, why did we choose webhooks as first integration?

In fact we have a lot more integration and features in queue but we have prioritized the webhooks as the first. There are strong reasons behind this decision.

Lets recollect the motto behind insping product. Insping is a web monitoring tool. The primary goal of which is instant downtime alerts. As a basic feature we have e-mail alert notifications. E-mail notifications are targeted to people. By e-mail we are notifying people but not the other systems or applications. Only few apps such as help desks can take email as a trigger. But not many apps can do this, and it will be difficult to build or modify app to gather information from an e-mail when compared to doing it via a  http call.

So email notifications are just not enough. We need an efficient way to send down time alerting information to other apps. Webhooks is the best way to do this. They are nearly instant, asynchronous and retryable. Any app can easily implement webhook handling just with a http handler. Since trigger from insping is via http post, it is almost instant. One more advantage is webhooks will be retried if insping does not receive proper response from the target app. So even if the target app is unable to handle the requests for some time, it will be notified on subsequent retries.

Because of these good reasons we have prioritized, built and delivered the webhooks feature as first integration.

By using webhooks feature of insping, you can get down time information in your own application even if it is custom-built. All this  just by opening a http gate to feed critical down time information.

We can actually do a lot more things using webhooks data. For example, you may want to check some logs, services status, resource usage metrics of your own server once your application or website goes down. You may not be able to connect to your server as soon as application goes down. So you can setup a simple http handler to do this. The http post will trigger appropriate commands on server and send information to appropriate people. This information will be useful for debugging.

Looking for a quick fix when your site goes down? Our webhooks can even help you restart your web server when the site goes down. This may be temporary solution for you to bring your application back online on every down time.

And here’s an additional bonus with the webhooks feature. Insping can now easily connect to wide variety of internet application through Zapier. Zapier will allow you to connect your apps together. Zapier already has a large number of applications. For example we can create issues in JIRA or tickets in help desks on every down time alert.

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Happy 2015 – Great Start with Free Monitoring

Basic Plan – Start Monitoring 2 URLs for FREE

The Basic Plan, is going to be absolutely free! Why this sudden move? We, at Insping, believe that nurturing smaller businesses is what makes a better tomorrow. And the Free Plan is going to do just that by helping more non-profit organizations, educational institutions, personal bloggers, start-ups and many more small and mid business. Please spread this to make a better tomorrow. Get started with Insping now. (more…)

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