We use two server monitoring services at work, one that does external availability checks of critical services and another agent based monitor that reports various system metrics. Niether of these monitoring tools offer sensible free plans.
I recently setup monitor.us to do external monitoring of my VPS hosts. It’s very good and offers many tests (internal and external), smartphone apps and reports. All are available on the free plan. However, the user interface is cumbersome, the reports are ugly and it feels too formal for my personal use. Therefore I no longer use it, but it does a job, so give it a try.
I don’t require agent based systems monitoring. Simple external availability monitoring is all I need for the few personal websites and services I run. So I went off to find and alternative and after some google-fu I found StatusCake.
StatusCake is easy to configure, offers monitoring of http(s), TCP ports and ICMP Ping. Notifications can be delivered via Boxcar, Pushover, NotiApp, Skype, Twitter, email and SMS. StatusCake also looks beautiful and their Real Browser Testing feature is very interesting.
Several plans are available at attractive prices and the free plan supports unlimited sites. Brilliant! Perfect for personal use. StatusCake has only been around since August 2012 (as far as I can tell) but is already shaping up to be real contender to Pingdom.
What monitoring services are you using?