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Monitoring the pulse of IT

How to improve your website's performance and conversion rates using monitoring

If you’re managing any web sites or web applications Selenium can be used with Opsview’s monitoring platform to ensure your customers get the very best user experience and increase your online conversion rates.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is a suite of tools to automate web application testing, it is also the 34th element in the periodic table. You can use the Selenium IDE to record web browser actions in the form of test cases. These test cases can be saved in a number of different formats and replayed when needed. The Selenium IDE is implemented as a Firefox extension.

What is Opsview?

Opsview provides comprehensive monitoring and management capabilities for a very wide range of web applications. Our Community Edition is free, easy to install and simple to use. More advanced features are available with Opsview Enterprise. Check out our screencasts

User Experience monitoring

In 2001, Zona Research reported that 30% of surfers would abandon a Web site if it took more than 8 seconds to load, creating the widely-quoted ´8-second´ standard. Ten years later, with wide adoption of broadband services users become frustrated if sites take more than a couple of seconds to load.

Monitoring your web applications from an user’s perspective is vital for ensuring they get the best experience and allows you to get early warning of any application performance issues. You can use the Selenium IDE to record common paths through your web applications and the have Opsview replay these paths on a regular basis. Opsview will alert if any URLs fail to load in a pre-defined timescale or if the entire path takes too long to complete. These checks can be replayed from multiple locations (Opsview Slaves) to give you a complete picture of how your customers are experiencing the applications.

End-to-end testing

Using Selenium to perform end-to-end web application testing ensures that the whole system is being monitored in concert. This can be combined with individual component checks to provide a coherent overview of system performance and health. The Selenium IDE can be used to record transactions performed through the web applications. These are then replayed on a regular cycle to ensure the transaction completes successfully in a given timeframe. By replaying key transactions all components and sub-systems that comprise the application are exercised to ensure correct operation.

Selenium in action

Selenium in action

Ten uses for Selenium with Opsview

  1. Measure how your applications are performing for end-users
  2. Keep tabs on your shopping cart / order processing application
  3. Check that your landing page forms are working correctly
  4. Confirm that web site authentication is working
  5. Check that you’re not getting any pesky database errors
  6. Track your cloud hosting provider’s performance against their SLA
  7. Make sure your boss can get to his web mail account
  8. Be the first to know that Opsview’s web UI is offline
  9. Ensure your load balancer is working correctly
  10. Get alerted if your homepage has been hacked

What next?

Installation and configuration instructions can be found in Opsview’s documentation along with instructions for downloading the selenium plugin.

Our recommended approach is to configure Selenium on an Opsview slave server, either by updating an existing slave or by deploying a new one. Selenium can place an appreciable load on your server so we recommend allocating another 1GB RAM. For heavy Selenium usage you should consider allocating an additional CPU core.


Thanks to Alan Wijntje @ Ziggo, Rohit Deshmukh @ Opsview and Steve Burt @ Opsview for their work on the Selenium plugin for Opsview and related documentation.

Tags: conversion rates, opsview, performance, sellenium

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