admin-plugins author calendar category facebook post rss search twitter star star-half star-empty

Tidy Repo

The best & most reliable WordPress plugins

A How-To Guide for Server Monitoring Using Node.js

A How-To Guide for Server Monitoring Using Node.js

Vallery Henings

March 30, 2021


Node.js is a popular JavaScript framework used by many developers that are especially useful for eCommerce websites. The programming language uses non-blocking, event-driven Input/Output to remain lightweight. JS has become so effective at doing exactly that, that it boasts an ever-increasing list of real-time applications for which it can claim it is best suited to build. The list includes server-side proxies, web scrapers built in combination with Chrome’s JavaScript, real-time chat, APIs, queued input, bottlenecked databasescloud infrastructure, data streaming platforms, and much more.

Monitoring software is another one of these best-fit uses.

The best Node.js monitor is an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) system. This server performance monitoring tool will detect and diagnose complex performance problems so you can maintain optimal results.

Keep in mind, Node.js monitoring can be a little tricky, especially for people who haven’t done it before. Let’s walk you through it step-by-step so you’ll feel confident and can attack any challenge.

What Is Node.js Monitoring?

Man looking at analytics

When you monitor your Node.js server, it merely means you are keeping an eye on it to make sure it’s performing optimally. You want to catch bugs or something blocking the thread or event queue before it presents a real problem.

If everything is not running correctly, your customers may encounter a loading screen or a standard error message, which could turn them off your business forever. Unfortunately, once customers lose trust in you, it’s hard to get them back.

Moreover, the cost of unplanned server downtime (and thus losing business) is between $5,600-$9,000 per minute. If you haven’t done that math, that’s more than half a million dollars you are losing for every hour your server is down!

Install Monitoring Software

You will want to install monitoring software such as an APM system to mitigate any disaster, even the disasters you cannot see. Too many are blissfully unaware that faulty code can go unnoticed for a long time.

Why are APM systems helpful? Simply put, they pinpoint the error in the code so you can fix it easily. This will help you in the long term because if you catch small problems early, they won’t turn into a big problem later – one that could threaten your whole website.

What You Should Monitor

Man and woman looking at charts

It’s pretty clear by now that you need to invest in an APM system, but what exactly are you monitoring with it? Let’s dive in.

Basically, you are monitoring resource utilization and server health. By monitoring resource utilization, you see how effectively your system is using resources. Poorly-optimized applications will use more resources to do small tasks, cost you a lot more money, and are fairly slow.

Let’s get a little more specific. Here are the six things you should monitor:

  1. CPU usage: CPU usage is the time a CPU (central processing unit) takes to process instructions. When CPU usage is high, you may experience lag.
  2. Average response time: Average response time is the average time it takes the server to return the results of a request. Low average response times are best because people generally have very little patience – two seconds of it, to be exact.
  3. Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transfer from one point to another.
  4. Garbage collection: Your CPU identifies and deletes redundant or irrelevant files from applications to free up memory space. This can help maintain optimal performance.
  5. Memory leak: A memory leak is a resource leak that occurs when a computer program mismanages memory allocation. The most common symptom of a memory leak is your computer getting gradually slower and slower over time.
  6. Event loop: Event loops allow Node.js to be asynchronous and perform non-blocking I/O. It is very important but might be the most misunderstood aspect of Node.js.

Popular Node.js Monitoring Tools

Monitoring software varies in the features it offers, and one size does not fit all. Below, you will find the five most popular monitoring tools on the market. Maybe one will strike your fancy.

Dealing With Errors

Laptop showing error screen

You’re bound to come across a bug or two that will totally mystify you. It’s important to be able to know what errors look like and handle them properly. Below is a list of things you may come across while monitoring your server.

  1. Error Object – An error object provides helpful information when an error occurs.
  2. Error Types – Error types include EvalError, RangeError, ReferenceError, SyntaxError, TypeError, URIError, AggregateError, and InternalError.
  3. Try…Catch – The “try” allows you to test code for errors. The “catch” allows you to handle the error. Try and catch always come in pairs.
  4. Throw – Throw allows you to create custom errors. It is used together with an “exception type”.
  5. Call Stack – A call stack stores information on computer program processes. Whenever you invoke a function, it is added to the call stack automatically.
  6. Functions – A function is a block of code that accomplishes a specific task. The name of a function should clearly indicate what the function does.
  7. Asynchronous Paradigms Like Promise – Promises are a pattern; they help with a specific kind of asynchronous programming and provide a superior method of working with callbacks.

Preventing Server Crashes

If you don’t monitor your server and address errors, it could turn into a larger problem, such as a server crash.

Luckily, this is in your control – just fix the incorrectly formatted plugins or internal coding errors – and you should be able to rest easy at night.

Other reasons for a server crash include getting hacked, getting a virus, or traffic overload, which you have less control over.

Did you know, according to IBM, a data breach could cost you $4M? Not to mention, your server has a ton of personal client data on it.

Investing in anti-virus software and making sure you have a good security setup are all proactive measures you could take to keep you and your clients safe.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, it’s always a good idea to monitor your Node.js server and find errors before your website crashes and customers turn away. An APM system will find the performance issues for you and give you an easy way of solving them.

Now that you are pretty much an expert on Node.js monitoring, what’s your next project?

Want to learn something new in Node.js? Check out this Node js Web Scraping Tutorial.