The NS1 monitoring solution allows you to create monitoring jobs (i.e., probes) to track the health and performance of a specified device or endpoint. After you create the monitor, you can connect it to a corresponding answer within a DNS record to update the answer metadata automatically.
You can create any of the following monitor types in the NS1 Connect platform:
This article explains the process for setting up an HTTP/HTTPS monitor and connecting it to answer metadata using the NS1 Filter Chain. HTTP/HTTPS monitoring is used to check website availability. The monitoring system connects via HTTP/HTTPS to a server and waits for a response. Then the monitor assesses the connection health based on specified criteria—including the HTTP headers and body in the response.
In the NS1 Connect platform, navigate to the Monitors page.
Click the + on the right side of the menu to activate the Add Monitor modal.
Select HTTP from the drop-down list in the upper-left corner.
Under Configuration, adjust the settings as desired while considering the following:
(Required) Enter a name for the monitor.
Toggle the switch to activate or deactivate the monitor. By default, this option is disabled meaning the monitor is active.
Toggle the switch to enable or disable notifications related to this monitor. By default, this option is enabled meaning notifications are active.
Select the locations from which monitoring will be executed.
Select the policy this monitor should use to determine if the monitored endpoint is down. Choose one of the following from the drop-down menu. NS1 recommends selecting either "All" or "Quorum" to prevent false alerts.
Quorum: The host is marked “down” if tests conducted from a majority of the monitoring regions do not pass the “up” conditions.
All: The host is marked “down” if tests conducted from all of the monitoring regions do not pass the “up” conditions.
One: The host is marked “down” if tests conducted from a single monitoring region do not pass the “up” conditions.
(Required) Enter the amount of time in seconds between each monitoring test conducted in each region. The minimum setting is 60 seconds.
Click Add Condition to define the conditions the hostname must meet in order to be considered “up.” First, choose the metric to validate during the test: HTTP Response Body or HTTP Status Code. Note the response body is case-sensitive. Then, choose the comparison operator (=, <, >, etc), and the value to compare. You can add multiple conditions, just note that all conditions must be met in order for a test run to consider the host “up.” Note if you select HTTP Response Body, the only comparison option is “contains.”
Check this box to automate a second verification test before changing the status of a host. Enabling this option can help prevent false positives.
Under HTTP Settings, adjust the settings as desired while considering the following:
(Required) Enter the URL to monitor.
Note: To test using HTTPS, start the URL with HTTPS:// As the default is HTTP. The hostname in the URL is used to determine the IP address of the host to test. If you want to test against a specific virtual hosting server, specify that hostname in the URL. For example, if testing a server hosted on AWS, use something like myserver.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com/healthcheck.php.
This string is set as the HOST request header as part of the HTTP transaction. For example, if Virtual host = www.example.com, then Host:www.example.com will be included in the HTTP request header. The virtual host is also used to support testing hosts that utilize server name indication (SNI). The monitor adds the virtual host to the TLS handshake process so that it receives the correct SSL certificate, enabling the rest of the TLS handshake to proceed as normal.
Enter the desired HTTP method. Default is GET.
User agent strings contain pertinent information about a user’s web browser, as needed, as part of the validation process. Default is "NS1 HTTP Monitoring Job."
This string is set as the authorization request header during the HTTP transaction.
Follow HTTP redirects when enabled
When you select this checkbox: If the monitor attempts to connect to the URL and the website responds with an HTTP redirect (e.g., 30x response code), then the monitor will try to connect to the new URL to which it is redirected, and the monitor status reflects that of the new URL.
When you do not select this checkbox: The monitor will not follow the redirect, and the monitor status will always reflect the original URL configured.
The amount of time (in seconds) that the server will wait for a monitor connection to occur. The default setting is 5 seconds.
The time (in seconds) after connecting to wait for a response. Default is 3 seconds.
Select the checkbox to enable TLS verification on this monitor. NS1 recommends keeping this option disabled if the monitor is failing due to a certificate error, such as an expired certificate for which you do not want this to be used as a failure condition.
Connect over IPv6
If selected, make sure you entered a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or IPv6 address in the URL field.
Note: If you select this option, the monitor will connect exclusively over IPv6.
Once complete, click Save Changes.
To complete the setup process, you must connect the monitor to an answer in order to automatically change the “up” metadata to reflect the status of the monitor. That is, when the tested host meets the up conditions, it will change the metadata to up=true. If the tested host does not meet the up conditions, the metadata is automatically changed to up=false.
Under DNS > Zones, navigate to the record upon which you want to attach the monitor. Then click into the record to view associated answers.
Click Create Filter Chain (which alternatively displays as Edit Filter Chain if filters already exist on the record).
Select or drag-and-drop the Up filter option (and any other desired filters) to the list of active filters.
Click Save Filter Chain when finished adding filters. Now, you can see the Filter Chain configuration to the left of the answer list.
On the left-hand sidebar showing the Filter Chain configuration, click the Up filter to expand that box and reveal filter-specific metadata options.
Click the up: unset metadata label beneath the answer to view the Answer Metadata configuration screen.
Click the icon in the Feed column next to the up/down filter setting to reveal a list of available data feeds—including the monitor you created earlier.
Select the HTTP/HTTPS monitor you created earlier, and click Ok.
Click Save Record to save your changes.
Now, when the HTTP monitor detects a failed endpoint, it automatically adjusts the answer metadata to indicate that the endpoint is “down.” As a result, DNS traffic is steered to better-performing endpoints.