capsule review

PageSentry 2.5

At a Glance
  • Maxum Development PageSentry 2.5

    Macworld Rating

Webmasters often rely on customer complaints to tell them that the company home page is off the air. Maxum's PageSentry 2.5 watches your servers for you-from your office or from across the Internet-automatically notifying you by e-mail or alpha page when problems arise.

PageSentry is a small application that can run in the background of any Internet-connected Macintosh. It comes with a well-written user guide, online documentation, and some sample AppleScripts for use with pagers or remote power-control devices. You configure a list of probes–called sentries–that periodically test specific protocols on specified servers, and a list of people to notify by either e-mail, pager, or Apple event. PageSentry then quietly checks your servers for proper operation, emitting notifications when servers become unreachable or respond incorrectly, and then when they return to normal operation. A handy status display lets you see problems at a glance.

The program includes numerous perks. For example, you can probe servers using HTTP, FTP, SMTP, Telnet, AppleShare IP, DNS, and arbitrary TCP/IP streams and configure multiple notification techniques–e-mail, alpha paging, or AppleScript. Included are AppleScripts for Mark/Space Softworks' PageNow, Ex Machina's Notify, and Sophisticated Circuits' PowerKey Pro. The PowerKey AppleScript lets you automatically reboot a nearby server when PageNow finds it unresponsive. You can schedule and customize notifications to occur only during certain time periods, to automatically repeat, and to wait a predetermined interval before sounding the alarm. These features combine to make PageSentry easy to configure for even complex monitoring chores.

PageSentry has no obvious technical faults, and the affordable entry-level package lets you configure up to ten sentries and ten notifiers. Alas, the next-larger PageSentry package costs nearly three times as much, entering the range of full-fledged network monitors. However, although PageSentry performs some of the functions of a full-blown network monitor, its feature set is not as complete.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Scheduled notifications
    • Periodic status summary
    • Multiple protocol support
    • AppleScript support

    Cons

    • Expensive for more than ten sentries
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