In an age where seamless online interactions are more critical than ever, ensuring websites’ and applications’ performance, functionality, and availability can prove pivotal. One tool that stands as an indispensable assistant in this work is New Relic Synthetics.

This is essential for monitoring your websites, applications, and API endpoints’ performance, functionality, and availability. As the name suggests, Synthetic monitors create simulated user activity or API checks to measure and record your website’s performance and operations comprehensively.

Let’s discuss the process of using synthetic monitoring in New Relic, offering a deep dive into its functioning, benefits, and best practices to unlock its full potential. From setting up your synthetic monitor to optimizing your monitoring practices, this guide provides everything you need to ensure an outstanding digital experience for your customers.

What Is Synthetic Monitoring

Unlike real-time monitoring, which relies on user traffic to assess user experience, synthetic monitoring employs simulated traffic to gauge application health proactively. This approach allows an IT or Operations professional to proactively detect and address issues like sluggishness or downtime before impacting the end users or customers.

How it Works

Synthetic monitoring functions by imitating user behavior to monitor frequent paths within an application, website, or other software. The creation of behavioral scripts or paths mirrors an action or path that a potential customer or end-user would navigate on a site or an application. This mechanism allows companies to continually test their applications or run preliminary tests on new applications before a customer-facing launch. Synthetic monitoring offers invaluable insights, whether within a data center to ensure smooth machine operation or from a user’s perspective outside the firewall.

The Impact of Synthetic Monitoring: Understanding its Benefits

Embracing synthetic monitoring provides an array of benefits:

Proactive Monitoring: Synthetic monitoring lets you detect and rectify issues before they disrupt your customers, all without requiring installation.

Simulation of User Interactions: Synthetic monitoring permits the emulation of user transactions and business processes across different business applications.

Cost-Efficiency: By decreasing the demand for expensive hardware and infrastructure, synthetic monitoring can generate significant cost savings for organizations.

Continuous Monitoring: With synthetic monitoring, you can continuously assess your applications and network performance, even during low user engagement periods.

Performance Optimization: By pinpointing bottlenecks and areas for improvement, synthetic monitoring empowers IT teams to enhance network performance.

How to Create a Synthetic Monitor in New Relic

Creating a synthetic monitor in New Relic entails several steps.

After creating a New Relic account, navigate to Synthetic monitoring and choose to create a monitor.

Choose a monitor type, preferably starting with a ping or step monitor, and specify a name while choosing a period to set the monitor’s frequency.

Configuring the monitor settings will require you to define the URL to be monitored, the locations to run the monitor from, and the alert conditions.

Types of Synthetic Monitors

New Relic presents seven distinct synthetic monitors tailored for diverse monitoring needs. These include:

  • Ping Monitor: Verifies the reachability of a URL and returns a 200 status code.
  • Simple Browser Monitor: Loads a single page while checking for specific content.
  • Scripted Browser Monitor: Executes a script simulating user behavior while looking for specific content.
  • API Test Monitor: Tests an API endpoint while checking for specific content.
  • Scripted API Monitor: Executes a script testing an API endpoint while looking for specific content.
  • Private Location Monitor: Operates a monitor from a private location, such as behind a firewall.
  • Synthetics API Monitor: Manages synthetic monitors via API calls.

Troubleshooting Synthetic Monitors

In case of synthetic monitor issues, New Relic provides several troubleshooting tips to navigate through common problems such as monitor downtime, isolated monitor failures, and non-scripted monitor errors.

Monitor Downtime: If your synthetic monitors cease alerting during certain periods, consider scheduling monitor downtimes. This practice will halt the alerting process during specific times while maintaining the integrity of your Service Level Agreement (SLA) report metrics.

Isolated monitor failures: A location-specific investigation can be invaluable if you’re experiencing problems exclusive to a certain location. Identifying and rectifying location-based issues can streamline your synthetic monitoring process.

Non-scripted monitor errors: In case of non-scripted monitor errors, your server-side logging can offer valuable insights. Analyzing these logs will help you understand the reasons behind the sent response codes, aiding in quicker resolution of issues.

Best Practices for Synthetic Monitoring

To fully leverage synthetic monitoring, consider these best practices:

  • Select an appropriate synthetic monitor to measure your website’s performance.
  • Establish a clear naming convention for your synthetic monitors.
  • Set relevant permissions for your monitors.
  • Determine your website’s baseline uptime using the SLA report in New Relic Synthetics.
  • Employ synthetic monitoring for automated tests to locate specific errors and slow pages.
  • Keep a tab on the performance of third-party services.
  • Utilize alerts and AI to transition seamlessly from a synthetic check to auto-generated tickets across AIOps.

New Relic Synthetics serves as a robust tool for monitoring the functionality, performance, and availability of your website, applications, and API endpoints. By embracing the steps given here, you can create synthetic monitors, navigate issues, and follow best practices to ensure the effective operation of your synthetic monitoring.