Feature Spotlight: Transaction Check

Uptime’s transaction checks can continually monitor important functionality of your site.

Specific steps within a Transaction Check can monitor nearly anything you have a test case for. So, this check is as good as the steps you configure for it. You can think of it as the first response or notification that a portion of critical infrastructure is down.

Traditionally, transaction checks watch your website’s login functionality, and ensure shopping carts remain online. You can hack this tool to fit the specific needs of your website, or check that a certain string is returned as expected when visiting a new landing page. It reports pingback statistics as well, so it’s useful in determining the average response time of various elements of your website.

Transaction checks are important because your site can appear to be functioning correctly, even though portions of it are not working. These checks help complex websites guarantee the best possible customer experience. The advantage of the Transaction Check tool is its versatility.

Creating a Transaction Check

To generate a Transaction Check, first click on “Monitoring” and choose “Transaction Check” from the “Check Type” dropdown.

Next, you’ll enter the steps necessary to complete the check. Uptime uses two kinds of steps. The first is a command, and the second is for validation. Commands tell the Uptime Transaction Check what to do or how to behave. You might tell it to wait for a certain string to appear in a certain order. You can also designate a particular URL that should appear at a certain time. These commands work alongside their validators to monitor various functions of your website.

Transaction checks can be complex. Before you get started, visit our Field Explanation support article for more information about what each step does. In this article, we assume you’ve read over the terminology and have a good understanding of the tool.

Transaction Check Use Case

A common problem with an enterprise or eCommerce website is that small outages can occur even though the rest of the website appears ok. IT is scrambling to find the source of the problem while visits are lost, shopping carts abandoned, or items left untouched.

Your management team might realize that a slow shopping cart is to blame, but the damage has already been done. You cannot recover lost revenue or churned customers.

Transaction Checks remove all of this guesswork and unnecessary risk. It provides crucial data on small outages that affect user experience, and promptly notifies the appropriate parties. Let’s look at a common example.

Testing Your Shopping Cart

Uptime’s Transaction Check provides insights into your shopping cart’s performance, and alerts you if it drops below a certain threshold.

Here are the steps necessary to test a shopping cart using a transaction check:

  • Command the Transaction Check to visit a specific URL
  • Click the “Add to Cart” button for the item we want
  • Check that the cart has added the item (if our shopping cart allows this, and signals it within the code as a string we can expect)
  • Visit our cart by clicking the “Go to Cart” button
  • Verifying we are in the cart by checking our items have been added, or verifying based on some other element.

In order for the check to function properly, you have to tell it which elements must be present on which URL, which buttons to push or forms to submit, and what to expect. You can walk it through nearly every step of the funnel for a complete perspective on how well your shopping cart performs.

You can even pick certain elements from a particular page, and configure the Transaction Check to report back on how long those elements took to appear.

When a Transaction Check is combined with advanced features like “Timeout,” this tool can be quite powerful. Timeout and escalation allows you to alert IT the moment your shopping cart takes longer than X seconds to respond.

Final Thoughts

In IT, tools aren’t normally limited to our imagination. We like to think the Transaction Check is clever enough to account for many scenarios. We employ this tool regularly in our own work, and we’re anxious to see what the community will do with it.

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Sharon McElwee is Uptime.com's content manager. Her focus is helping the team create great blog and help center content for Uptime.com users. Sharon lives in Central Virginia, USA and enjoys scrapbooking, building websites and hiking.

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