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What is synthetic monitoring?



In today's digital age, ensuring your applications perform flawlessly is crucial for a top-notch customer experience. This is where synthetic monitoring comes into play. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? Let's break it down with an easy-to-understand analogy.

What is Synthetic Monitoring?

Imagine you own a car – your application – and you want to ensure it runs smoothly. Synthetic monitoring is like having a robotic mechanic who regularly checks your car using a predefined list: engine, brakes, lights, etc. This mechanic doesn't wait for a problem to occur; it proactively checks whether everything is working correctly, just like synthetic monitoring scripts test various aspects of an application.

How Does Synthetic Monitoring Work?

This robotic mechanic – the synthetic monitoring tool – follows a routine, inspecting your car at regular intervals or in response to specific triggers. If it finds an issue during these checks, like a brake problem, it rechecks to confirm the issue before alerting you. Similarly, synthetic monitoring tools perform tests on your application, ensuring all parts function correctly and alerting you to any issues.

Synthetic Monitoring vs. Real User Monitoring

Comparing synthetic monitoring to real user monitoring (RUM) is like comparing our robotic mechanic to customer feedback. RUM gathers data from actual users of your application (the drivers), providing insights into real-world usage and long-term trends. On the other hand, synthetic monitoring is like the robotic mechanic who checks for issues before they impact your users.

Why Use Synthetic Monitoring?

Using synthetic monitoring is like having an early warning system for your car. It helps you spot issues like a slow engine (slow website) or a faulty brake (broken transaction process) before they inconvenience you (or your users). This proactive approach saves time, improves performance, and ensures your application offers a seamless user experience.

Types of Synthetic Monitoring

  1. Availability Monitoring: Checking if the car is ready to drive (if your site or app is accessible).
  2. Web Performance Monitoring: Making sure all parts of the car are working efficiently (webpage elements loading quickly).
  3. Transaction Monitoring: Ensuring the car can complete a journey from start to finish (completing a login or a purchase on your site).

Challenges of Synthetic Monitoring

Despite its benefits, synthetic monitoring isn't without challenges. It's like having a robotic mechanic who only knows how to check the components you've told it about. It might miss issues that arise from real-world scenarios, like unexpected road conditions (user behaviors). Plus, setting up these checks (the synthetic tests) can be complex and time-consuming.


In essence, synthetic monitoring is like a diligent, robotic mechanic for your application, conducting regular health checks and ensuring everything runs smoothly. By understanding its workings, benefits, and limitations, you can better leverage this technology to enhance your application's performance and your users' experience.