Get started with synthetic monitoring

Synthetic monitoring is a suite of automated, scriptable tools to monitor your websites, critical business transactions, and API endpoints. You can simulate user traffic to proactively detect and resolve outages and poor performance of critical endpoints before your customers notice.

Why it matters

With synthetic monitoring, you can:

  • Get the context of failures by connecting the availability and performance of endpoints to the underlying applications and infrastructure.
  • Easily diagnose if an issue stems from the network or AWS location, a slow third party resource, or the health of backend services or infrastructure.​​​​​ ​​

  • Add synthetic monitoring into build automation and CI/CD pipelines to automatically track performance and check functionality for each deployment.

  • Expand your monitoring further with real, Selenium-powered scripted browsers, which test login procedures, searches, and other critical business transactions.

  • Monitor your API endpoints with API tests.

Advanced testing

Synthetic monitoring allows you to proactively monitor your website or API endpoint to ensure your content is not only available, but fully functional. Synthetic monitoring browser tests send real, Selenium-powered Google Chrome browsers to your site from locations around the world to ensure your content is always up, everywhere.

Scripted browsers expand your testing capabilities, so you can test uncommon user flows or beta-test complex procedures. For example, ensure your users are able to sign up for your newsletter, add an item to their cart, or search for and find a piece of critical content with a simple JavaScript-like language. Test your backend with API monitors, which allow you to run scripted tests against any API endpoint.

Enhanced monitoring and reporting

Synthetic monitoring aggregates the results of each check into metrics, allowing you to see patterns and identify causes of poor performance. Synthetic monitoring also stores each and every monitor result, so you can see exactly where your website broke down.

Alerts notify you if your website or API endpoint is inaccessible. You can even expand your geographical coverage or monitor internal websites by creating private locations.

You can also query your monitor results for a closer look. New Relic retains monitor results for thirteen months, ensuring you can compare usage year over year.

Additional features

Synthetic monitoring includes the following features:

Feature Description
Real browsers With simple browser and scripted browser monitors, synthetic monitoring doesn't simply check that your host is up. It loads the actual page content in a real, fully virtualized Google Chrome browser (powered by Selenium) to provide testing that mirrors your users' actions.
Detailed results view Synthetic monitoring stores every single run of your monitor for 13 months, so you can view a detailed breakdown of each and every check. You can get a snapshot of your website's performance and availability, or hunt down specific problems.
Comparative charts with browser monitoring Use New Relic's comparative charting feature for a direct page load time comparison between real user (browser monitoring) interactions and the synthetic monitors. For example, during a page outage, you can compare trends to see if an issue is also visible in synthetic monitoring, or if it is caused by other variables.
Advanced scripted monitoring Use scripted browsers to run complex test cases against your website. Ensure critical processes like checkout and login are always running smoothly, and build a baseline to compare against when things go wrong. With a built-in scripting IDE based on Node.js, create scripts quickly without leaving your browser.
Global test coverage Check coverage from locations around the world to ensure your users can access your website from anywhere, anytime. Monitor sites behind your firewall by adding the synthetic monitoring static IP addresses to your allow list. Use private locations to monitor internal sites or to expand your coverage to new locations.
Compatibility with popular analytics platforms

Synthetic monitoring specifically excludes scripts for popular analytics services, like Google Analytics. This ensures your analytics tools continue to receive the exact same data, even with thousands of monitors checking your website each month.

You can unblock any of the services blocked by default, or block additional services.

REST API functions

Synthetic monitoring includes a REST API, which you can use to manage:

Data protection and privacy

The data from synthetic monitoring is test data, representing typical interaction with the webpage or application. It is never actual data from human beings. The data collected when you use synthetic monitoring therefore is not personal data. For more information, see the Synthetic monitoring security documentation.

Compatibility and requirements

Synthetic monitoring does not require any software except a supported browser.

To monitor a site behind your firewall, add the synthetic monitoring public minion IP addresses to your allow list.

Permissions

By default, all users in your account can:

For more fine-grained control, you can enable the optional permissions system. The permissions system allows you to manage the level of access for users to view and edit within synthetic monitoring (for example, monitors and private locations).

For more help

If you need more help, check out these support and learning resources: