Synthetic monitoring is a web performance monitoring technique that uses behavioral scripts to simulate end-user interactions with a website or application. The goal of synthetic monitoring is to understand how a real user might experience an app or website. This type of monitoring is done by directing a robot client on a predefined course through the app, simulating transactions to mimic what an end user might do. As the client proceeds through a typical user clickstream, performance metrics on the end-user experience are collected, analyzed and interpreted.
Synthetic monitoring can be used to collect a range of performance information and answer questions like:
- “Is my website up?”
- “How fast is my site loading?”
- “Are shopping cart transactions working?”
- “Is there any part of my transaction flow I can optimize?”
Synthetic monitoring checks are performed at regular intervals, and the frequency of these checks is typically determined by what is being checked. Availability, for example, might be checked once every minute.
Synthetic monitoring is an important tool for ensuring that an organization’s apps or services are available and responsive. In the following sections, we’ll look at how synthetic monitoring helps optimize website performance, how it works and some of the tools to look for.