Pinging Reliability Tips

Sending monitoring signals over the public internet is inherently unreliable. HTTP requests can sometimes take excessively long or fail completely for a variety of reasons. Here are some general tips to make your monitoring code more robust.

Specify HTTP Request Timeout

Put a time limit on how long each ping is allowed to take. This is especially important when sending a "start" signal at the start of a job: you don't want a stuck ping to prevent the actual job from running. Another case is a continuously running worker process that pings after each completed item. A stuck request could block the whole process. An explicit per-request time limit mitigates this problem.

Specifying the timeout depends on the tool you use. curl, for example, has the --max-time (shorthand: -m) parameter:

# Send an HTTP request, 10 second timeout:
curl -m 10

Use Retries

To minimize the amount of false alerts you get from, instruct your HTTP client to retry failed requests several times.

Specifying the retry policy depends on the tool you use. curl, for example, has the --retry parameter:

# Retry up to 5 times, uses an increasing delay between each retry (1s, 2s, 4s, 8s, ...)
curl --retry 5

Handle Exceptions

Make sure you know how your HTTP client handles failed requests. For example, if you use an HTTP library that raises exceptions, decide if you want to catch the exceptions or let them bubble up.