PRTG Manual: HTTP Sensor

The HTTP sensor monitors a web server using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). This is the easiest way to monitor if a website (or a specific website element) is reachable.

  • It shows the loading time of a web page or element.
HTTP Sensor

HTTP Sensor

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Remarks

Add Sensor

The Add Sensor dialog appears when you manually add a new sensor to a device. It only shows the setting fields that are required for creating the sensor. Therefore, you will not see all setting fields in this dialog. You can change (nearly) all settings in the sensor's Settings tab later.

Sensor Settings

On the details page of a sensor, click the Settings tab to change its settings.

icon-i-roundUsually, a sensor connects to the IP Address or DNS Name of the parent device where you created this sensor. See the Device Settings for details. For some sensor types, you can define the monitoring target explicitly in the sensor settings. Please see below for details on available settings.

Basic Sensor Settings

Sensor Name

Enter a meaningful name to identify the sensor. By default, PRTG shows this name in the device tree, as well as in alarms, logs, notifications, reports, maps, libraries, and tickets.

Parent Tags

Shows Tags that this sensor inherits from its parent device, group, and probe. This setting is shown for your information only and cannot be changed here.

Tags

Enter one or more Tags, separated by spaces or commas. You can use tags to group sensors and use tag–filtered views later on. Tags are not case sensitive. We recommend that you use the default value.

You can add additional tags to the sensor if you like. Other tags are automatically inherited from objects further up in the device tree. These are visible above as Parent Tags.

Priority

Select a priority for the sensor. This setting determines where the sensor is placed in sensor lists. Top priority is at the top of a list. Choose from one star (low priority) to five stars (top priority).

HTTP Specific

Timeout (Sec.)

Enter a timeout in seconds for the request. If the reply takes longer than this value defines, the sensor will cancel the request and show a corresponding error message. Please enter an integer value. The maximum value is 900 seconds (15 minutes).

URL

Enter the URL the sensor connects to. It has to be URL encoded!

If you enter an absolute URL, the sensor uses this address independently from the IP Address/DNS Name setting of the device on which you create this sensor. You can enter an URL leading to a webpage (to measure the page source code's loading time), or enter the URL of an image or of another page asset to measure this element's availability and loading time.

icon-i-roundPRTG uses a smart URL replacement that allows you to use the parent device's IP address/DNS name setting as part of the URL. For more information, please see section Smart URL Replacement below.

Request Method

Choose an HTTP request method to determine how the sensor will request the given URL.

  • GET: Request the website directly, like browsing the web. We recommend using this setting for a simple check of a web page.
  • POST: Send post form data to the URL. If this setting is chosen, you must enter the data that will be sent in the Postdata field below.
  • HEAD: Only request the HTTP header from the server; without the actual web page. Although this saves bandwidth since less data is transferred, it is not recommended because the measured request time is not the one experienced by your users and you might not be notified for slow results or timeouts.

Postdata

This field is only visible when you select the POST Request Method setting above. Enter the data part for the POST request here.

icon-i-redNo XML is allowed here!

Content Type

This setting is only visible when you select the POST Request Method setting above. Define the content type of a POST request. Choose between:

  • Default (application/x-www-form-urlencoded): This is the default content type used to encode the form data set for submission to the server.
  • Custom: If you need another content type than default, enter this content type below.

Custom Content Type

This field is only visible when you select Custom above. Define the content type that is needed, for example, XML, JSON, HTTP.

Server Name Indication

Shows the Server Name Identification (SNI) that the sensor automatically determined from the host address of the parent device or the target URL of the sensor. SNI has to be a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN). Please ensure it matches the configuration of the target server.

icon-book-bulbFor details, see the Knowledge Base article My HTTP sensors fail to monitor websites which use SNI. What can I do?

SNI Inheritance

Define if you want to inherit the Server Name Identification (SNI) from the parent device. See the Server Name Indication setting above which SNI is determined. Choose between:

  • Inherit SNI from parent device: The sensor determines the SNI from the host address of the parent device.
  • Do not inherit SNI from parent device: The sensor determines the SNI from the target URL as defined in the settings of this sensor.

icon-i-roundThis sensor type implicitly supports Server Name Identification (SNI), an extension to the TLS protocol.

Sensor Display

Primary Channel

Select a channel from the list to define it as the primary channel. In the device tree, the last value of the primary channel will always be displayed below the sensor's name. The available options depend on what channels are available for this sensor.

icon-i-roundYou can set another primary channel later by clicking the pin symbol of a channel in the sensor's Overview tab.

Graph Type

Define how different channels will be shown for this sensor.

  • Show channels independently (default): Show an own graph for each channel.
  • Stack channels on top of each other: Stack channels on top of each other to create a multi-channel graph. This will generate an easy-to-read graph that visualizes the different components of your total traffic.
    icon-i-roundThis option cannot be used in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the Sensor Channels Settings settings).

Stack Unit

This setting is only available if stacked graphs are selected above. Choose a unit from the list. All channels with this unit will be stacked on top of each other. By default, you cannot exclude single channels from stacking if they use the selected unit. However, there is an advanced procedure to do so.

Inherited Settings

By default, all following settings are inherited from objects higher in the hierarchy and should be changed there, if necessary. Often, best practice is to change them centrally in the Root group's settings, see section Inheritance of Settings for more information. To change a setting only for this object, disable inheritance by clicking the button next to inherit from under the corresponding setting name. You will then see the options described below.

Proxy Settings for HTTP Sensors

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

HTTP Proxy Settings

The proxy settings determine how a sensor connects to a given URL. You can enter data for an HTTP proxy server that sensors will use when connecting via HTTP or HTTPS.

icon-i-roundThis setting affects monitoring only and determines the behavior of HTTP sensors. To change proxy settings for the core server, see System Administration—Core & Probes.

icon-i-roundThe SSL Certificate Sensor and the SSL Security Check Sensor do not support HTTP proxies, but you can configure connections via SOCKS proxies in their sensor settings.

Name

Enter the IP address or DNS name of the proxy server to use. If you leave this field empty, no proxy will be used.

Port

Enter the port number of the proxy. Often, port 8080 is used. Please enter an integer value.

User

If the proxy requires authentication, enter the username for the proxy login.

icon-i-round-redOnly basic authentication is available! Please enter a string or leave the field empty.

Password

If the proxy requires authentication, enter the password for the proxy login.

icon-i-round-redOnly basic authentication is available! Please enter a string or leave the field empty.

Scanning Interval

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval (seconds, minutes, or hours) from the list. The scanning interval determines the time the sensor waits between two scans. You can change the available intervals in the system administration on PRTG on premises installations.

If a Sensor Query Fails

Define the number of scanning intervals that a sensor has time reach and check a device again in case a sensor query fails. The sensor can try to re-reach and check a device several times, depending on the option you select here, before it will be set to a Down status. This helps you avoid false alarms if the monitored device has only temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor will show a Warning status. Choose between:

  • Set sensor to "down" immediately: The sensor will show an error immediately after the first failed request.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 1 interval, then set to "down" (recommended): After the first failed request, the sensor will show a yellow warning status. If the following request also fails, the sensor will show an error.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 2 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after three continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 3 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after four continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 4 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after five continuously failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 5 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after six continuously failed requests.

icon-i-roundSensors that monitor via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) always wait at least one scanning interval until they show an error. It is not possible to set a WMI sensor to "down" immediately, so the first option will not apply to these sensor types. All other options can apply.

icon-i-roundIf a sensor has defined error limits for channels, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" option will apply.
 

icon-i-roundIf a channel uses lookup values, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" options will apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

icon-i-roundInheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows cannot be interrupted. The corresponding settings from the parent objects will always be active. However, you can define additional settings here. They will be active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. Schedules can be used to monitor for a certain time span (days, hours) every week. With the period list option it is also possible to pause monitoring for a specific time span. You can create new schedules and edit existing ones in the account settings.

icon-i-roundSchedules are generally inherited. New schedules will be added to existing ones, so all schedules are active at the same time.

Maintenance Window

Specify if you want to set up a one-time maintenance window. During a "maintenance window" period, this object and all child objects will not be monitored. They will be in a paused state instead. Choose between:

  • Not set (monitor continuously): No maintenance window will be set and monitoring will always be active.
  • Set up a one-time maintenance window: Pause monitoring within a maintenance window. You can define a time span for a monitoring pause below and change it even for a currently running maintenance window.

icon-i-roundTo terminate a current maintenance window before the defined end date, change the time entry in Maintenance Ends field to a date in the past.

Maintenance Begins

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the start date and time of the maintenance window.

Maintenance Ends

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the end date and time of the maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Define a dependency type. Dependencies can be used to pause monitoring for an object depending on the status of another. You can choose between:

  • Use parent: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency.
  • Select object: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Additionally, pause the current sensor if a specific other object in the device tree is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Select below.
  • Master object for parent: Make this sensor the master object for its parent device. The sensor will influence the behavior of the device, where it is created on: If the sensor is in Down status, the device will be paused. For example, it is a good idea to make a Ping sensor the master object for its parent device to pause monitoring for all other sensors on the device in case the device cannot even be pinged. Additionally, the sensor will be paused if the parent group of its parent device is in Down status, or if it is paused by another dependency.

icon-i-roundTesting your dependencies is easy! Simply choose Simulate Error Status from the context menu of an object that other objects depend on. A few seconds later all dependent objects should be paused. You can check all dependencies in your PRTG installation by selecting Devices | Dependencies from the main menu bar.

Dependency

This field is only visible if the Select object option is enabled above. Click on the reading-glasses and use the object selector to choose an object on which the current sensor will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

Define a time span in seconds for a dependency delay. After the master object for this dependency goes back to Up status, PRTG will start monitoring the depending objects after this extra delayed. This can help to avoid false alarms, for example, after a server restart, by giving systems more time for all services to start up. Please enter an integer value.

icon-i-round-redThis setting is not available if you choose this sensor to Use parent or to be the Master object for parent. In this case, please define delays in the parent Device Settings or in the superior Group Settings.

Access Rights

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

User Group Access

Define which user group(s) will have access to the object you're editing. A table with user groups and types of access rights is shown: It contains all user groups from your setup. For each user group you can choose from the following access rights:

  • Inherited: Use the access rights settings of the parent object.
  • None: Users in this group cannot see or edit the object. The object neither shows up in lists nor in the device tree. Exception: If a child object is visible to the user, the object is visible in the device tree, though not accessible.
  • Read: Users in this group can see the object and review its monitoring results.
  • Write: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, and edit the object's settings. They cannot edit access rights settings.
  • Full: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, edit the object's settings, and edit access rights settings.

You can create new user groups in the System Administration—User Groups settings. To automatically set all objects further down in the hierarchy to inherit this object's access rights, set a check mark for the Revert children's access rights to inherited option.

icon-book-arrowsFor more details on access rights, see the section User Access Rights.

Smart URL Replacement

Instead of entering a complete address in the URL field of an HTTP sensor, you can merely enter the protocol followed by colon and three slashes (that means you can enter either http:/// or https:/// or even a simple slash / as equivalent for http:///). PRTG will fill in the parent device's IP address or DNS name in front of the third slash automatically.

Whether this results in a valid URL or not depends on the IP address or DNS name of the device where this HTTP sensor is created on. In combination with cloning devices, the smart URL replacement makes it easy to create many like devices.

For example, if you create a device with DNS name www.example.com and you add an HTTP sensor to it, you can provide values the following ways:

  • Providing the value https:/// in the URL field, PRTG will automatically create the URL https://www.example.com/
  • Using the value /help in the URL field, PRTG will automatically create and monitor the URL http://www.example.com/help
  • It is also possible to provide a port number in the URL field, which will be taken over by the device's DNS name and internally added, for example, http://:8080/

icon-i-round-redSmart URL replacement does not work for sensors running on the Probe Device.

More

Knowledge Base: Which HTTP status code leads to which HTTP sensor status?

Knowledge Base: My HTTP sensors fail to monitor websites which use SNI. What can I do?

Edit Sensor Channels

To change display settings, spike filter, and limits, switch to the sensor's Overview tab and click the gear icon of a specific channel. For detailed information, see the Sensor Channels Settings section.

Notifications

Click the Notifications tab to change notification triggers. For detailed information, see the Sensor Notifications Settings section.

Others

For more general information about settings, see the Object Settings section.

Sensor Settings Overview

For information about sensor settings, see the following sections: