What is synthetic user monitoring?

Synthetic user monitoring simulates user experience on your website. It works by scripting typical user actions, and then simulates user click at regular intervals, to ensure that your website is responsive. This directed monitoring provides information like the uptime and performance of your critical business transactions.

The questions that synthetic monitoring can help you answer includes:

  1. Is my site up?
  2. How fast is my site?
  3. Are transactions working?
  4. If there is a slow down or failure where is it in the infrastructure?
  5. Are my third-party components operating correctly?
  6. How is my overall performance?
  7. Am I striking the correct balance of performance versus cost?

Pros and Cons of synthetic user monitoring

Pros

  1. Simulate business-critical customer journeys
  2. enables you to proactively catch any existing problems before your end users get to experience slow or unresponsive applications, or encounter other errors.
  3. Consistent regular interval monitoring
  4. Design scripts to test every detail scenario business requires
  5. can be used to monitor databases and TCP ports

Cons

  1. requires you to spend time scripting typical user actions.
  2. if your website changes frequently, you’ll need to periodically update your scripted scenarios.
  3. does not definitively tell you what your actual users are actually experiencing
  4. Geographical problems not specifically measured- the network between a particular location and your application server.
  5. Specific individual actions taken by users such as choosing items to add to a cart can cause problems and synthetic testing cannot cover every iteration.
  6. Intermittent problems can be highly troublesome since synthetic tests may not experience the problem when they are run.
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