How to install the OieIcons icon theme on Linux

OieIcons is a fun modification of the KDE Breeze icon theme, mixed in with Numix, Papirus, and others. It’s a beautiful icon theme to use on KDE Plasma 5, Gnome Shell, or other desktops if you’re looking for something neat and fresh. Here’s how to install it on your system.

Get Git on Linux

The OieIcons icon theme is hosted on Opencode. To interact with this website, you must use the Git application. To use the app, it needs to be installed. Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. From there, follow the command-line instructions that correspond with your Linux operating system to get

Ubuntu

sudo apt install git

Debian

sudo apt-get install git

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S git

Fedora

sudo dnf install git

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install git

Generic Linux

If you need to install the Git application on a Linux operating system that was not covered in this post, please go over to Pkgs.org to get your copy of the program. Or, download the source code here to get it working on your system.

Download OieIcons icon theme

The OieIcons theme is hosted on Opencode.net, a website that developers can use for source control. It is identical to GitHub, in that if you want to download files from it, you must use the git clone command. So, use the following command below to get your copy of OieIcons.

git clone https://www.opencode.net/adhe/oieicons.git

The downloading process will not take long. When everything is done, everything will be in the “oieicons” directory. You can run the ls command below to verify all of the files are there.

ls oieicons

If the ls command shows that all files are in the “oieicons” directory, move on to the next step in the installation process. Otherwise, re-run the git clone command and try again.

Install OieIcons icon theme

Installing icons on Linux can be done in two ways. The first way is known as “single-user,” as only one person will have access to the icon theme. The second way is called “system-wide,” which means that every user on the system can access it. In this guide, we’ll go over both.

Single-user

To install the OieIcons theme on your Linux PC, you must first create a new directory in your home folder with the name of “.icons”. To create this new folder, use the mkdir command below.

mkdir -p ~/.icons

After creating the new folder, you can verify that it is in the home directory with the ls -a command below.

ls -a

When you’ve verified that the new “.icons” folder is in your home directory, it’s time to start the installation of OieIcons. Using the mv command, place the “oieicons” folder into the “.icons” folder you just made.

mv oieicons ~/.icons/

Once the files are moved into the “.icons” folder, you can verify that the installation was successful by using the ls command and the grep pipe.

ls ~/.icons | grep "oieicons"

Running the ls command above along with grep will print out “oieicons” if it was indeed installed correctly. If it wasn’t, follow the installation instructions again, as something may have gone wrong.

System-wide

Installing the OieIcon theme on Linux in system-wide mode means directly interacting with the system directory on your PC. To gain access to this folder, you must log in with the Root account. Using the sudo -s command, log in as root.

sudo -s

After logging into the terminal as the root user, the icon theme installation can finally begin. Using the mv command, place the “OieIcons” folder into the “/usr/share/icons/” directory.

mv oieicons/ /usr/share/icons/

Once the icon files have been moved to the “/usr/share/icons/” directory, you can verify that the installation was successful by running the ls command along with the grep pipe.

ls /usr/share/icons/ | grep oieicons

The command above will filter through the icons directory for the OieIcon theme. If the files are correctly installed, it will show “oieicons” in the results. If nothing comes up, the installation has failed, and you must follow the instructions again, as something may have gone wrong during the setup process.

Enable OieIcons icon theme on Linux

OieIcons is installed on your Linux PC, but it is not enabled as the default icon theme. You must manually enable OieIcons on your system for it to be your icon theme.

Enabling the OieIcons theme on the Linux desktop is easy. To do it, start by opening up “System Settings.” Once open, look through for “Icons” or “Appearance.” Then, change the current icon theme to “OieIcons.” It should instantly apply to your desktop environment.

Need help getting the OieIcons working on your Linux desktop environments? Check out our list below for help applying icon themes.

 

Read How to install the OieIcons icon theme on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Network Management Best Practices and Tools to Use [Guide]

Network Management is a broad and complex concept. It encompasses several different processes and tasks that combine to ensure the smooth operation of networks. Today, we’re having a look at some of the best practices of network management as well as the best tools available to assist you with these. As you’re about to discover there are different components to network management and each is probably as important as the next. Whether you’re looking for network management software tools or you simply want to make sure you don’t omit anything important, we fell that you’ll find something useful in this post.

We’ll begin our exploration of network management by a generic overview of what it is. That will ensure that we all start on the same page. Then, we’ll have a more detailed look at some of the network management best practices. We’ll first look at network bandwidth monitoring, then network traffic analysis, device configuration and change management, switch port and user monitoring and tracking, WAN performance monitoring, and IP address management. Then, we’ll have a look at a few of the very best integrated tools for network management.

Network Management In A Nutshell

It seems that everyone has his own idea of what network management is or what it should be. This makes defining the concept a bit complicated. In a nutshell, network management comprises all the processes, systems, and tools that are used to ensure the smooth operation of networks. Things like bandwidth monitoring, traffic analysis, device configuration and change management are, for instance, part of network management. We’ll discuss the various component in greater detail shortly.

When it comes to network management tools, things tend to get even more complex. Various vendors have different offerings that they call network management tools but their feature sets vary greatly. Some tools are big, multi-purpose packages that can accomplish several network management tasks while others are bundles of individual tools sold together by a vendor. Sometimes, these tools are integrated under a common GUI but often they are really individual tools. The main advantage of such bundles is often financial as you can usually get the bundle for less than the price of the individual components purchased separately.

Network Management Best Practices

We’ve compiled a list of various network management practices and processes. It is not necessarily an all-inclusive list. Instead, we’ve chosen to include processes and tasks that are typically included in network management software tools. While some tools do encompass all of these processes, some only implement a subset of them. But no matter what, they are all part of network management best practices.

Network Bandwidth Monitoring

Don’t we all wish our network had infinite bandwidth? Despite the fact that technology has evolved immensely and that bandwidth is not as expensive as it once was, it is still a limited resource. And congestion is still one of the biggest issues with every network. Congestion is the immediate consequence of the current throughput approaching or exceeding the available bandwidth. Its effect is a noticeable hit on network performance. When you have a congested network, users do notice it.

As a rule of thumb, it’s preferable to keep the 5-minute average bandwidth utilization below 70% of the maximum available bandwidth. On a 1 Gb/s interface, for instance, average utilization should never exceed 700 Mb/s. To keep that from happening, you need to keep a close eye on the actual network traffic level. This is what bandwidth monitoring is.

You may think of a network as a highway where congestion is similar to traffic jams. But unlike automobile traffic which one can easily view, network traffic happens within cables, switches, and routers—or even over the air with wireless networks—where it remains invisible. This is where network bandwidth monitoring can be useful. It gives network administrators the visibility they need to keep things running smoothly.

Another reason for network bandwidth monitoring is capacity planning. Network usage always tends to increase over time. No matter what bandwidth your network currently has, chances are it will eventually need to be increased. By monitoring bandwidth utilization, you’ll always know what segment of the network needs to be upgraded and when.

Most of the best bandwidth monitoring tools rely on the Simple Network Management Protocol, or SNMP, to accomplish their feat. SNMP lets monitoring tools read traffic counters directly from networking devices, allowing them to calculate the average bandwidth utilization and display it along with its evolution over time in a graphical or tabular format.

Network Traffic Analysis

While bandwidth monitoring tools are great to measure the utilization of a network, they don’t tell much about the nature of that utilization. Sometimes, it could be very useful to know what type of traffic or what users are utilizing the available bandwidth. This is where network traffic analysis comes in.

Analyzing network traffic can provide such information as the distribution of traffic by type. For instance, while SNMP monitoring would tell you that a given circuit is used at 90% of its capacity (a figure that is, incidentally, way too high and shall be avoided at all costs), network traffic analysis could tell you that 80% of that traffic is web browsing and that 10% of it is email. But it doesn’t stop at traffic types. Traffic could also be reported by source and/or destination IP address. In the previous example, you could be able to see what precise website is behind most of this web browsing traffic. And by adding some extra intelligence and connecting the monitoring tool to other components of the infrastructure such as the AD domain controllers, traffic can also be viewed by user.

Network traffic analysis tools use a variety of technologies to do their magic. One of these is Cisco’s NetFlow technology. Originally only available on Cisco devices, it is now present of equipment from many vendors in one form or another. Several vendors have their own versions such as Juniper’s J-Flow or InMon’s sFlow. While they all have differences, they all accomplish the same goal.

Device Configuration And Change Management

More than anything network configuration and change management has to do with documenting and/or somehow preserving device configuration data. Whenever a network switch breaks and needs to be replaced, wouldn’t you rather pull its configuration from some archive than have to redo it from scratch? Especially when considering how this can lead to useless delays and inconsistencies.

Device configuration management also helps with deploying standard device configurations. This makes maintenance much easier and also helps with troubleshooting. The configuration standardization offered by configuration management can also help with regulatory compliance. Several regulatory frameworks—such as PCI/DSS, for instance—have strict guidelines as to how switches should be configured and what configuration options should and should not be present. Configuration management will help you audit switches and demonstrate their compliance.

As for the change management part of this activity, its primary purposes are auditing switch configuration for unauthorized changes as well as demonstrating adherence to change management processes. Haven’t we all heard of malicious users trying to gain access to corporate networks by first modifying networking devices configuration to put backdoors in place? Whether this is a true risk or an urban legend is open to debate but we’re never too careful and auditing device configuration for unauthorized changes important. And even if you’re not that paranoid, isn’t it always better to err on the side of caution.

Switch Port And User Monitoring And Tracking

Knowing what is connected to each port of his networking devices is any network administrator’s dream. And although you could thoroughly document everything as you build a network, a network is a living thing and, over time, undocumented changes will happen and you’ll lose track of what connects where. Even worse, you can often end up losing track of what ports are available. And while it would seem to be a simple matter of looking at your switch’s status, it could be misleading. One user could, for instance, be out to a meeting with his laptop computer, making his office connection appear to be available although it is not. Switch port and user monitoring and tracking tools will help you know what and who is connected to each and every port on your network.

WAN Performance Monitoring

WAN performance monitoring is almost identical to bandwidth monitoring. The main difference lies in the fact that WAN circuits typically have lower bandwidth than local networks and, as such, are easily congested. Also, the adverse effects of WAN congestion have a tendency to have much more impact than its LAN counterpart. It’s actually not that rare to see extreme WAN congestion situation be so bad that a whole site loses access to the corporate network. Although the costs of WAN are not as high as they once were and it is common today to have decent bandwidth on WAN circuits, they are rarely as wide as local networks. For that reason, they need to be closely monitored.

IP Address Management

IP Address Management, or IPAM, is the process of managing IP address allocation as well as establishing an IP addressing plan. It may seem trivial to many but in reality, this is one of the most important parts of network administration. It is also the part that is typically given the less thought and, consequently, where many issues can develop.

Managing IP addresses can be as simple as keeping a spreadsheet of what address is assigned to what resource. This is a simple and efficient way to do it—and a cheap one too—but it has a few flaws. First, it assumes that each and every change will be correctly documented. This is where problems start to roll in as the documentation is rarely kept up to date.

The best IPAM tools will often interact with—or take control of—your DNS and DHCP servers. It makes sense as the former is what is used to resolve hostnames into IP addresses while the latter automatically assign addresses to end devices.

The Best Tools For Network Management

Now that we’re familiar with the best practices of network management it is time to have a look at what software tools are available to assist you with that considerable task. Not every tool includes every network management process and some include processes or tasks that we have not yet discussed. They all share one important thing, though: they are designed to help network administrators with their management tasks. This is a rather short list but our goal was to give you an idea of what’s available while reviewing the very best products from some of the most reliable vendors.

1. SolarWinds Network Automation Manager (FREE TRIAL)

Most network administrators have heard of SolarWinds. After all, the company’s been there for about 20 years and it has brought us some of the best network management tools. Its flagship product, the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, consistently features among the top SNMP monitoring products. And to add the icing on the cake, SolarWinds also makes a few dozen free tools designed to address some specific needs of network administrators. Among them, you’ll find an excellent subnet calculator and a TFTP server, just to name a few.

SolarWinds NPM Network Summary

When it comes to network management, the SolarWinds Network Automation Manager combines the benefits of several tools. Before we dig deeper, let’s have a quick glance at what the product has to offer in terms of features.

  • Performance monitoring
  • Traffic and bandwidth analysis
  • Configuration and change management
  • Switch port and end-user monitoring and tracking
  • WAN performance monitoring
  • IP address management

The SolarWinds Network Automation Manager is actually a bundle of several tools’ functionality, each covering on network management practice. This bundling of several essential tools provides the utmost convenience and the best value. Let’s have a deeper look at some of the bundle’s main features.

The performance monitoring component of this product is the Network Performance Monitor. It will help reduce or shorten network outages and quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues. It has critical path hop-by-hop analysis and visualization from end to end. The tool will let you view network performance and traffic details, regardless of device location.

 

The SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer is also included in this bundle. It will let you monitor interface-level traffic patterns with a fine granularity as low as up to one minute. It will collect and analyze NetFlow, sFlow, J-Flow, IPFIX, and NetStream data to identify users and applications that are generating and consuming bandwidth.

SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer Dashboard

The configuration and change management module will let you monitor, back up, and deploy network device configurations, allowing you to recover quickly from hardware issues or human-caused configuration errors. The system can send real-time change notifications, helping to ensure that devices are configured and operating in compliance with any regulatory standard such as PCI, SOX, or HIPAA. Finally, this tool will let you compare configurations side-by-side letting you quickly determine what has changed.

SolarWinds NAM - Config And Change Summary

This all-in-one bundle will also let you understand how switches and ports are being used, as well as which switches are nearing their respective capacity. It will also let you know who and what is connected to your network, and when and where they are connected. It can track endpoint devices by MAC and IP addresses on both wired and wireless networks.

The WAN performance monitoring component of the excellent product goes much further than just SNMP monitoring. Using Cisco IP SLA technology, this tool will also let you simulate traffic data to test the network between a Cisco router and a remote IP device to measure the performance of key apps and services.

SolarWinds NAM - IP SLA

Finally, the tool’s IP address Management features automated subnet discovery and IP scanning which will scour your network and find how IP addresses are used. It will alert you if IP address conflicts, subnets/scopes depletion, or mismatched DNS. The power of this tool will find an open IP address and make the DHCP reservation and DNS entries in a single step and from a single console.

SolarWinds NAM - IP Address Management

Prices for the SolarWinds Network Automation Manager start can be obtained by contacting SolarWinds Sales. Optionally, a high-availability module can be added for better uptime and application and server monitoring is also available as an optional component. If you’d rather try the product before committing to its purchase, a free 30-day trial version is available from SolarWinds.

2. Micro Focus Network Operations Management

Micro Focus might not be as well-known by network administrators as SolarWinds but it is one of the best-known software publishing companies. It is particularly known for its software development tools but it also makes some administration tools. The Micro Focus Network Operations Management is one such tool. Although not as broad as the previous tool, this is still a very potent system. Its key capabilities include:

  • Topology, Health, and Configuration of Network Services
  • Performance and Capacity
  • Policy-Driven Configuration Management
  • Automation and Orchestration
  • Executive Dashboards and Custom Reporting

Micro Focus NOM

This tool will let you manage both physical and virtual networks as well as Software Defined Networks (SDN). It also claims to have The best scalability of any network monitoring and troubleshooting tool in the industry with 80K devices (monitoring) and 120K devices supported (configuration) per global domain. It also claims to the device coverage in the industry, supporting more than 180 vendors and 3,400 devices and delivering device support on a bi-monthly cadence.

Like it is often the case for this type of tool, pricing information can be obtained by contacting Micro Focus Sales. Note that a free 30-day trial is also available.

3. Cisco Tools

Cisco is such an important player in the networking field that we felt we had to include their network operations management offering on our list. Unfortunately, Cisco doesn’t have an integrated operations management tool. Instead, the vendor has many smaller tools, each addressing a different aspect of network operations management.

Cisco has several generic tools for network management such as the Cisco DNA Center, the Cisco Prime Infrastructure. The Cisco Prime Virtual Network Analysis Module which specializes in virtual networks of the Meraki Dashboard, a cloud-based management solution.

Cisco Prime Infrastructure

The vendor also has smaller tools targeting small and medium businesses. The Cisco Configuration Professional for Catalyst can be used to configure network switches via a web-based interface and the Cisco FindIT Manager can help improve security and performance. Cisco also offers several tools for network automation and data center management, both of which can be considered as part of the grand scheme of network operations management.

Read Network Management Best Practices and Tools to Use [Guide] by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The Best Smart Lights When Style Matters

Lighting is about so much more than convenience. The type of lighting you have speaks to your sense of style. In the same way that a chandelier tells a different story than a fluorescent overhead light, certain kinds of smart lights separate themselves from the competition. 

In our article about the best smart lights on a budget, we focused on utility and cost. This guide will be entirely the opposite and instead focus wholly on the best smart lights with style with no regard for cost.

If you’re decking out a game room, man cave, or home theater and you want the absolute coolest lights, this guide is for you. Two companies dominate this list: LIF and Nanoleaf.

Best For Home Theater: Nanoleaf Rhythm (Amazon)

Nanoleaf was one of the first companies to set itself apart with high-end, high-performance smart lighting with the Nanoleaf Aurora. The triangle-shaped tiles could be arranged in any shape and pattern as long as one side was touching another, and users took advantage of this to create intricate patterns on the wall – everything from Space Invaders to DNA helices.

The Nanoleaf Rhythm expands on that same modularity by offering more than 16 million color combinations. The Rhythm syncs to music in real-time and changes colors across individual tiles in time with the beat. 

With added features like the new Screen Mirror feature, the Nanoleaf Rhythm can reflect the ambient colors on your television or computer monitor for the ultimate home theater or gaming experience. 

The downside is the cost: a 15-piece starter kit (called the “Smarter Kit”) will run you $299.99 on Amazon.

Best For General Lighting: Philips Hue Color (Amazon)

While the Philips Hue White is a great budget option, the same can’t be said for the color version. A single Philips Hue Color A19 bulb runs about $47.49 on Amazon, while the Starter Kit with 3 bulbs and the necessary Philips Hue Hub will cost $159.00. 

Decking out your entire home will cost a pretty penny, but Philips Hue Color bulbs are well worth it – they’re some of the best smart lights on the market. Users have access to more than 16 million color variations, voice control, and plenty of pre-built scenes to choose from.

The Philips Hue “Lab” constantly invents new applications for the bulbs that can be downloaded from the app, such as the ability to make the lights flicker like candles. You can also expand the functionality of Philips Hue bulbs by pairing them with other smart home devices or Hue-brand products like the Hue Dimmer Switch or Hue Motion Sensor.

Best For Accent Lighting: LIFX Beam (Amazon)

The LIFX Beam is unique in that it isn’t intended to provide whole-room lighting in any way, but rather to be an accent for a space. Each panel is 1.4 inches wide and 11.8 inches long, but can be connected end-to-end to cover longer distances, such as around a door frame. 

LIFX sets its smart lights apart due to its patented Polychrome Technology. Each panel has dozens of individual LEDs that can broadcast any available color, allowing users to create a rainbow of light across the setup.

LIFX smart lights are also unique in that they do not require a central hub. Each panel connects to WiFi on its own, which makes installation as simple as connecting the Beams together and hooking the system to your network. 

The LIFX Beam can be voice-controlled through all the major smart assistants, and the starter kit will run you $149.99 for a six-piece setup with one corner connector.

Best Tile-Style Smart Lighting: LIFX Tile (LIFX)

The LIFX Tile is a lot like it sounds: a nearly 8 inch x 8 inch tile that boasts the same Polychrome Technology as the LIFX Beam. You can connect these tiles together in any arrangement you want (or do as many people have done and emulate Tetris on your walls). 

One of the main selling points of LIFX is its app; a majority of users prefer it over the competition due to the intuitive interface and easy-to-understand controls. Like other LIFX smart lights, the Tile does not require a central hub. Each panel has a built-in WiFi adaptor that allows it to your connect to your home network without an intermediary.

A single LIFX Tile will cost you $79.99, while a three-pack offers a better bang for your buck at $149.99. These lights are great for creating accents on your walls or just to serve as a conversation piece, but creating an expansive display will cost you.

Best Smart Light For Gaming: Nanoleaf Canvas (Nanoleaf)

The Nanoleaf Canvas is a lot like the LIFX Tile in appearance, although smaller. Each Canvas tile comes in at about 6 inches square, rather than 8. But where the LIFX Tile serves as an art piece, the Nanoleaf Canvas packs a lot of functionality. 

The Canvas tiles can sync with music much like the Nanoleaf Rhythm, but you can also use the Canvas tiles as touch controls for other smart home devices. Want to turn your coffee pot on from the bedroom? Set up a Canvas tile to control your smart coffee pot and give it a tap when you wake up. You can also use the Canvas tiles to play light-based touch games.

With the Nanoleaf Mirror mentioned earlier, you can set the Canvas up to reflect specific parts of your screen. You can have them flash red when your HP gets low, or flicker a different color when a specific power-up appears. 

Like other Nanoleaf products, the Canvas smart lights work with most major smart assistants. A four-piece “Smarter” kit will cost $119.99, while the more expansive 9 piece Canvas kit costs $229.99. 

The 6 Best Web Server Monitoring Tools of 2019

I probably won’t teach you much by telling you that monitoring web servers is important. Possibly more so than monitoring any other kind of server. With an organization’s website often being its primary window to the world, it is easy to understand how important it can be. And to ensure that web servers are up and running and responding correctly, you need to use the right tool. This is the subject of today’s post as we explore the best web server monitoring tools. Between simple cloud-based up-or-down types of tools and big, locally-installed monitoring tools, there is a multitude of tools to choose for. We’ll try to help you see clearly through that maze of products and services.

Web server monitoring - best tools

We’ll start off by discussing web server monitoring in general, doing our best to explain what various types of monitoring is available. We’ll then have a look at the consequences of not monitoring web servers as we have a look at the adverse effects of web server downtime or performance issues. And finally, we’ll have a look at what tools are available for monitoring web servers and review some of the best tools that can be found.

Monitoring Web Servers

Anyone who’s been a network administrator for any length of time knows how important monitoring is. This is why there are so many network bandwidth monitoring tools or application performance monitoring tools. Servers—including web servers—are not different and they too, need to be monitored. Perhaps even more so that other components. After all, the website is often the first contact a client has with an organization and since you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you want that first experience to be as good as can be.

There are several things one may want to monitor on a web server. First and foremost, you want the hosted site to respond. This is the most elementary type of monitoring one can think of. But that’s not enough, you also nee your web pages—and especially your homepage—to load quickly. Clients won’t wait for much more than 30 seconds before they abandon your site and move to your competitor’s. Monitoring for website performance is another important type of web server monitoring. But for the very best in monitoring, you’ll also want to monitor the actual servers, their operational metrics and the various services they are running including, but not limited to, the web server process.

No matter why you need to monitor websites or what you want to monitor, you need to use the proper tool for the job. Fortunately, there are tools out there that will perform each type of monitoring we just talked about. Some will even monitor more than that. The best advice we can give anyone looking for the best tool to monitor websites is to first make a list of what it is they want to monitor. Doing so will make the selection process much easier.

What If We Don’t Monitor Web Servers?

When your website is down, every second counts. Internet top retailer Amazon experienced several outages or performance degradation episodes over the years. In March 2016, the site went down for about 20 minutes. It’s been estimated that such a short outage did cost Amazon about $3.75 million. And while your organization may not be as big as Amazon, you may think that downtime is not that expensive. However, the truth is that there are several ways that downtime can affect you.

Lost Sales

According to research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion. Another survey, from Siemens Building Technologies, shows that 33% of organizations don’t even know the impact of one day of downtime on their business. But regardless of the exact impact of website downtime to your organization in terms of lost sales, it is clear that it can be major.

Brand Reputation

It takes a lifetime to build a reputation but only a few minutes to lose it. Whenever a website is down, what is the very first thing people do? They jump on their favourite social media platform and immediately voice their frustrations. This can be very damaging to your brand’s reputation. You wouldn’t want potential new customers to first hear of your company by reading complaints about your unresponsive website.

When that Amazon outage happened back in 2016, thousands of Twitter users started complaining about it. Some of them had large numbers of followers who, in turn, retweeted the alert. It’s almost impossible to tell exactly but it’s easy to imagine that hundreds of thousands of Twitter users learned about the site being down. As much as social media can be an effective marketing tool for companies and brands today, It is a double-edged sword that can quickly turn against you. There is nowhere to hide on the Internet.

Customer Satisfaction

You most likely don’t want to lose those hard-earned customers of yours. But if your website goes down, it can easily spell disaster. This is especially true for SaaS companies with application logins. Customers only have so much patience before they might start thinking about switching to a different vendor. And this is even worse for e-commerce sites. A customer might simply switch to your competitor and do their shopping there instead. Make no mistake. It is very important to maintain good uptime and optimal performance to keep your customers happy.

The Best Web Server Monitoring Tools

There are many types of web server monitoring tools. The most basic tools simply connect to a website and verify that they are responding correctly. Some more advanced ones will look for specific patterns. These tools can either be locally installed of they can be cloud-based with the best ones offering the capability to monitor from various locations, ensuring not only that your web server is up and running but that it is reachable from anywhere.

Another type of web server monitoring tool is, at its base, a server monitoring tool that has specific modules or extensions to monitor the actual web server process as well as several operational metrics of the web server and its underlying operating system. Our list includes tools from each type as our goal was to give you an overview of the different types of tools available.

1. SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

Our first tool is from SolarWinds, one of the best-known names on the network administration tools market. Its flagship product, the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is consistently scoring among the network bandwidth monitoring tools. SolarWinds is also famous for its free tools. They are simpler tools designed to address specific tasks of network administrators.

When it comes to website monitoring, SolarWinds’ tool is called the Web Performance Monitor. This is a very complete website monitoring package aimed at monitoring not just websites but also web services and SaaS application performance. Without relying on third-party software, This product can proactively identify slow web services which could be impacting the user experience.

SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor

A powerful feature of this product is its ability to identify and resolve slow web page elements and transactions that affect overall website application performance. It can help diagnose latency issues in CSS, HTML, JavaScript and third-party plug-ins. The tool will let you record critical transactions and then run them as frequently as every 5 minutes.

To circumvent the fact that this is a locally-run tool and to give its test an Internet perspective such as the one you’d get from a cloud-based tool, you can deploy transaction players to Amazon EC2, and track user experience from multiple locations.

Reporting is also one of the SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor’s strengths. The tool will let you generate out-of-the-box or custom website performance reports which can include page load speeds, transaction health, website availability, etc.

The SolarWinds Web Performance Monitor is licensed by the number of web application usage scenarios (transactions) and the number of locations to monitor from. (transactions X locations = license size). Prices start at $1 995 for up to 5 scenarios x locations and go up from there. If you’d want to try this great tool before buying it, a free 30-day trial is available from the SolarWinds website.

2. SolarWinds Server And Application Monitor (FREE TRIAL)

Our second entry is another product from SolarWinds called the Server and Application Monitor. As you’d most likely get from its name, this tool’s primary purpose is monitoring servers of all kinds, including, of course, web servers. It was created to assist administrators with monitoring servers, their operational parameters, their processes, and the applications which are running on them. And by application, we mean various services and processes such as an IIS or Apache web server. It can easily scale from very small networks to large ones with hundreds of servers—both physical and virtual—spread over multiple sites. The tool can also monitor cloud-hosted services like those from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor Dashboard

The SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor is very easy to set up and its initial configuration is just as easily done with the help of its auto-discovery process. It is a two-pass process. The first pass will discover servers, and the second one will find applications. This can take time but can be sped up by supplying the tool with a list of specific applications to look for. Once the tool is up and running, the user-friendly GUI makes using it a breeze. You can choose to display information in either a table or a graphic format.

Prices for the SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor start at $2 995 and vary based on the number of components, nodes, and volumes monitored. A free 30-day trial version is available for download, should you want to try the product before purchasing it.

3. Pingdom From SolarWinds (FREE TRIAL)

Pingdom is probably one of the most used and best-known of all the different cloud-based website monitoring tools on the market. This SaaS offering from SolarWinds is used by several major players such as Apple, Pinterest, HP, Amazon, Google, and Dell. The service is known to be extremely reliable and it has a long history of providing uptime notifications to clients around the globe.

PIingdom Visitor Insights

  1. FREE TRIAL: Pingdom from SolarWinds
  2. Official Download Link: https://www.solarwinds.com/pingdom

The Pingdom monitoring network features more than sixty monitoring locations from where your website is checked. In order to filter out false alerts, you can opt double-check and raise alerts only on the second fail. The frequency of the website tests can be as high as every minute. Alerts can be transmitted via email or SMS. An important feature of the service which sets it apart from many competing players is its page speed monitoring. The service can not only monitor uptime, but it can also monitor if something suddenly brings your website to a crawl. The service also provides a public status page so you can show off your results.

Pingdom doesn’t offer a free plan but it is reasonably priced, starting at $14.95/month for up to ten checks at 1-minute intervals. Considering the advanced features offered by the service, it’s no surprise that a free plan is not available. And if you’d like to test the service, a free 14-day trial is available.

4. Uptrends

Uptrends, a cloud-based service that offers both website monitoring and server monitoring. The company has been around since 2007 and has worked with clients such as DHL, eBay, PBS, Schiesser, and Episerver. The main distinguishing feature of this service, the one that is bound to strike you the minute you start using it is its impressive dashboards. If you care for the look of your website monitoring tool, this may be the one.

Uptrends Screenshots

But good looks are not enough. Fortunately, Uptrends also delivers on functionality. In particular, the service uses a technology it refers to as “real browser monitoring”. This means that it uses a real web browser to perform its tests, enabling it to get a feel of a real user’s experience. It features over 200 website monitoring locations around the globe. This is more than most competitors. The service also lets you choose between 1 to 60 minutes interval checks. Additional features such as SSL certificate monitoring and real browser monitoring which include things like waterfall reports, mobile website monitoring, and transaction screenshots are available, as is third-party content monitoring.

Basic plans vary from $11.33/month to $158.61/month, depending on the number of included monitors and users. Advanced plans are also available at $27.14/month to $49.10/month which include multi-browser monitoring and transaction simulation. If you want to test-drive the service, a free 30-day trial is also available.

5. Monitis

Monitis is a cloud-based, all-in-one monitoring platform that has been around since 2006. The versatile service is used by clients like Visa, Puma, and Siemens. The monitoring one can do with this tool is not limited to websites. In addition, it can handle, network, cloud, server, application, and custom monitoring, all managed and controlled from a unified dashboard.

Monitis - RUM Screen

Monitis has over thirty monitoring locations across the planet from where it can monitor your website’s uptime. The service will let you use multiple protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, PING, DNS, TCP, UDP, ICMP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP. This powerful and flexible service features 1-minute interval checks and 2 years of a historical archive. Such a long archive can turn out to be pretty useful when it comes to reporting. This tool also provides instant failure alerts via email or SMS and detailed level reporting.

Monitis offers some advanced monitoring features such as monitoring for a full page load. This ensures that each element (image, script, CSS, etc.) loads correctly. The tool can also synthesize complete transactions and validate that they can be completed.

Monitis’ pricing structure is rather complex due to the many available possibilities. In a nutshell, it is based on the type and number of monitors, the frequency of the checks and the number of locations to check from. Fortunately, the service’s website has an easy to use calculator where you can pick your options and instantly see your monthly and yearly pricing. You can also take Monitis for a full-featured test drive with a 15-day free trial.

6. Uptime Robot

Last on our list is another immensely popular cloud-based monitoring service called Uptime Robot. Dating back to 2010, it might not be as old as our other top monitoring services but it can’t be called a newbie either. It is used by Expedia, Nginx, Fandango, among others. The company is recognized for providing a great service when it comes to website monitoring.

Uptime Robot Screenshot

Uptime Robot features 12 different monitoring locations in Germany, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Singapore, Ireland, and the United States. While it is less than other services, it might very well be all you need. If most of your clients are in Brazil, you wouldn’t care about monitoring from Peru anyways. The service monitors your website every 5 minutes and lets you know if your sites are down based on the response from your website’s headers. Among the other major features of Uptime Robot, the service has alerts with advanced notifications, statistics, configurable maintenance windows, and public status pages.

Uptime Robot offers a very generous free plan which includes 50 monitors on 5-minute intervals and 2 months of logs. There are also paid plans starting at $5.50/month which can allow more monitors—up to 20 000 at $649/month—and feature advanced notifications, 1-minute monitoring intervals, and SMS alerting credits. Given the available free plan, no other trial plan is offered.

Read The 6 Best Web Server Monitoring Tools of 2019 by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to fix lines on a monitor screen on Windows 10

Monitors are plug and play. They’re some of the easiest hardware to set up and you’ll find they’re easy to connect to almost any laptop model that’s not a Macbook. The only thing you’ll be concerned with is the color profile that a monitor supports, its resolution, and the screen size. All of those you can check before you actually buy a monitor and it’s smooth sailing from there. If you’ve been using a monitor for a while and are suddenly seeing lines on the screen, you likely have a hardware problem. If you’re lucky, the problem won’t cost too much to fix.

Using a 4K monitor? Make sure you have it set up correctly.

HDMI/VGA/DVI Cable

The first thing you should check when you start seeing lines on a monitor screen is the cable that you use to connect to it. Examine it closely to see if it’s damaged. You might see pins that have broken or pins that are bent out of place. In some cases, it might be obvious that the cable is damaged. In other cases, it won’t be. It’s probably a good idea to just change the cable out with a new one. They’re cheap and easily available.

Additionally, make sure the cable isn’t unnecessarily coiled or wrapped up too tight. These cables are stiff to say the least and for good reason. If you coil it too much, it might cause damage inside the cable.

Power cable

Check the power cable for the monitor. Make sure it’s connected properly. If you’re using an extension board, make sure that the plug is connected securely. Electronic fluctuations may cause lines on the screen to appear. If you let it go on too long, it might damage your monitor. Change the cable. Again, it’s cheap so it won’t put you out too much.

Connecting ports

This is the next thing you should check once you’ve checked both the connecting and power cables. The port on your laptop/desktop and the monitor might both have come loose. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can tell easily but check if the cable if fitting securely. Ideally, any cable connected to a port shouldn’t ‘jiggle’ around. If you’re not sure, you can have the hardware taken in and checked out by a professional.

Update display drivers

In some cases, this might be a software issue. Check if the display driver has recently been updated. It may cause problems but it is highly unlikely that it does. Still, given this is Windows 10, the chance is always there.

Overclocked GPU

If you’ve overclocked your GPU, it might be having trouble sending signals to the monitor. It may have worked fine for a while but problems can surface at any point. There’s not much you can do unless you’re willing to return the GPU to its stock settings.

A line across the screen

This is not for regular LCD or LED monitors. A long, long time ago, monitors used to be big square boxes that looked like television sets. They’re no longer manufactured but those that are still around and in use are sturdy enough to last another few decades. These monitors used a technology called CRT or cathode ray tube which is a fancy name for a picture tube. When this tube reaches the end of its life, a white line shows across the screen. If you happen to have one of these monitors and you’re seeing this single white line, unplug your monitor. It’s time for an upgrade.

If all else fails, you should take your monitor in for a check-up.

Read How to fix lines on a monitor screen on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter