With the recent outages and performance issues I've been having, I decided to find a tool that I can use to monitor the status of my websites that doesn't actually rely on these sites. The idea being that I can gather enough stats to take back to Site5 showing them how poor things have been, if the problems persist.
I needed something that reported not only availability, but performance too. So I turned to my trusty friend, Google, and after some extensive searching, and I happened to find mon.itor.us which seemed to suit my needs, and best of all, it can actually notify you via SMS, email, IM and RSS feed of any outages. Apparently, it'll let you know when it discovers a problem, and then let you know when it's detected it's been resolved. Nice one. I've not had any outages yet, but we'll give it some time. With some luck, I should have some pretty accurate times to feed back to Site5.
Once registered, the actual site turns into a sort of AJAX powered browser based dashboard. You setup your tests and reports and snapshots and then drag and drop them to where you like on the tabbed pages. Whilst I won't be spending most of my time using this page, it is pretty cool.
Oh, and it can pretty much monitor any service you like. In the list of service types you'd like to test it lists the services you'd expect: HTTP, HTTPS, PING, SMTP, POP3, DNS, IMAP. This is pretty impressive already, but the most impressive things are that is also includes SIP (for VoIP apps) but also two invaluable options: TCP and UDP. So if, like me, you want to monitor MySQL, just select TCP from the list and enter the site URL/IP and add :3306 to the end. Bingo, you're now monitoring MySQL.
All in all, it's pretty impressive and the most complete free monitoring tool I've found. I'll give it some time to do some monitoring and I'll report back.