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Why Status Pages Are Lying to You and What To Do About It

When your app goes down, your first thought might be, “is it us or is it one of our 50 SaaS and cloud providers?” One of the ways to investigate this question is by going to those vendors’ status pages.

However, their page might not offer you very much information. In fact, status pages are often not telling you the full truth. And you may already be aware of that. 

So why are status pages unreliable and how can you get to the truth of the matter? That’s what we’ll discuss in today’s article. 

The Importance of Status Pages

These days, apps are built on other apps. While this provides incredible agility and power to developers, they are now also dependent on the performance of these third-party vendors. So if an important third-party app is down, the developers need to know – and a major way to check is by checking a vendor’s status page.

Additionally, this information is important to developers’ customers. The company using cloud dependencies needs to be able to communicate and support its customers if its vendor is not functioning. But they can’t do that if the vendor – and the vendor’s status page – is silent or inaccurate. 

Why Status Pages Are Rarely Reliable

Vendors’ status pages are important but do not always meet their customers’ needs for the following reasons:  

  • Manually updated. Although many companies have the ability to automate their status pages, they usually don’t. Instead, they update their status pages manually, and only when it meets certain criteria (discussed below). 
  • Slow response. Vendors may not be aware their platform is down until they are alerted to the interruption. Further, they may wait to update the status page until they understand the nature of the outage. 
  • Vague information. Rather than telling customers what exactly is wrong with their platform, vendors usually give a simple “up” or “down” status based on a threshold percentage of customers affected (i.e.1-25%). Further, they usually do not provide personalized information that would inform how your use of their product is being affected. (Exceptions to this include Zendesk and GitHub.)
  • Unavailable page. Because of a vendor’s outage, they may not be able to update their status page, even if they want to. So a status page can say a platform is completely fine when it is not even healthy enough to update the status page. 
  • Damage control. It’s also important to remember that the status page reflects the company’s image and provides a narrative regarding outages. Often, several people in the company beyond developers decide whether or not the status page will change. These people can include VPs, public relations, marketing, and even legal. 
  • Not developer-oriented. Since status pages function as PR, they are not generally geared toward developers. The page can be used as a tool by developers, but it only provides limited information. 

As we can see, status pages are important, but several factors contribute to the fact that they can be quite inaccurate and unreliable. Fortunately, there are a few solutions to these issues.  

How To Remedy The Issue

Although status pages may not be as helpful as they position themselves to be, there are ways to ascertain more accurate data about your third-party dependencies. 

  • Adjust mindset. First, it’s helpful to shift to (or reinforce) a perspective that status pages are not fully reliable or up to date. Vendors display a “healthy” status by default and they do not change it until it is absolutely necessary. A status of “healthy” isn’t an “explicit” monitor and is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the service’s status. 
  • Crosscheck pages. If a status page is not giving you enough information, you cross-reference your experience with tools such as the #is-it-up channel in Hangops, Downdetector, and/or Twitter. 
  • Monitor directly. Another option is to monitor the platforms yourself through direct and/or synthetic monitoring. This way, you can see what’s going on for yourself. But rather than creating your own program to monitor third parties, you could opt for using Metrist. 
  • Use Metrist. In order to get accurate, real-time information about third-party performance, you can try using Metrist. The platform uses synthetic and direct monitoring to evaluate over 65 apps in real-time. And if an app goes down, you can get an alert right away so you are aware as soon as it happens. 

Status pages can lie to you, but you can find out the truth. Thanks to the services and strategies above, determining the truth is easier. And Metrist is one of the easiest tools to do this. 

The Metrist Solution

If you want real-time, accurate, detailed information about third-party statuses, Metrist has you covered. As opposed to status pages, cross-checking Twitter, and building your own monitoring system, you can check – or get an alert – from Metrist. 

The data you’ll get from Metrist is

  • More timely. Metrist’s tools constantly check services in real-time, so you can know if a service is down fast. 
  • More detailed. Instead of an overarching “healthy” or “down” status, Metrist tells you exactly where the outage is occurring, when it started, and how long it lasted. Further, it picks up on “small” outages which may not be reported by companies or affect their full customer base but is impacting you. 
  • More accurate. Because Metrist reports on actual performance data as it happens, rather than waiting for a Marketing VP’s approval, the reports are more accurate than your vendors’ status pages. And they are more accurate than Twitter or #is-it-up because the status is based on data rather than solely experience and conjecture. 

While company status pages, cross-checking, and self-monitoring are helpful and should still be utilized, Metrist can be a one-stop shop that gives you accurate, detailed information when you need it. And best of all, you can try Metrist for free. 

 

If you have questions about Metrist, please contact us! And you can register for a free 30-day trial here

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