prtg logo white

Frequently asked questions

Here you can find answers to the most common questions regarding PRTG Network Monitor and our order process.



1. FAQ about PRTG


1. What counts as a sensor?

The licensing options are based on the number of sensors (not on the number of devices or IPs). We define one sensor as one aspect that you monitor on a device. Therefore, one sensor monitors for example:

  • a specific URL,
  • the traffic of a network connection,
  • a port of a switch,
  • the CPU load on a machine.

Please have a look at the list of supported sensor types. Every entry in this list counts as one sensor. Each sensor has individual channels. In channels a sensor shows the measured or calculated data. For example, an SNMP Traffic Sensor shows traffic in, traffic out, and traffic total in three individual sensor channels.

To get a better understanding, please have a look at the object hierarchy here.

Normally, we are calculating with between 5 and 10 sensors per device, but of course that depends on what exactly you want to monitor. If in the future you should find that you need a license with more sensors than you started with, you can upgrade to a higher license by just paying the price difference.

2. What exactly does PRTG monitor?

Routers, switches, servers, hardware, software, operating systems, applications, virtualized environments, websites, email servers, databases, VoIP and QoS, IPSLA, logs, events, performance, NetFlow/IPFIX, sFlow, and jFlow, packet sniffing, SNMP, WMI, temperature, humidity, and many more, using approx. 200 predefined sensor types. Phew, there is a lot to monitor, right? Get an overview over all PRTG features here.

3. Do I need a commercial license for PRTG or can I use the Freeware Edition?

The Freeware Edition is available for both personal and commercial use for free, but is limited to monitoring 100 sensors. If you want to monitor more sensors, you need one of the commercial editions. Our licensing model is based on the number of sensors and core server installations. The commercial licenses start at 500 sensors and go theoretically up to an unlimited number of sensors. Please consider the system requirements.

4. What is the difference between the PRTG Network Monitor licenses?

Licenses of PRTG differ by two parameters:
the maximum number of sensors and the number of PRTG core server installations.


PRTG Network Monitor License


Number of PRTG core server installations

Freeware Edition


1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG 30-days trial

not restricted

1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG 500


1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG 1000


1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG 2500


1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG 5000


1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)



1 (plus 1 for failover node in cluster)

PRTG Enterprise

not restricted

not restricted


5. How long does it take to configure PRTG?

PRTG is designed to offer optimal usability. You can install the entire software (including the database and web server) in less than 10 minutes. Try it out! The Smart Setup of PRTG starts scanning the network and setting up monitoring already during the installation process. Intelligent assistants will guide you through the configuration and help you with every step on your way to a comprehensive monitoring. The Smart Setup, our easy-to-use drag-and-drop map editor, the libraries, and the multiple interface options (web interface, WIN GUI and mobile apps) are amongst the things that make an administrator's life a little easier.

6. Is there anything available online to get familiar with PRTG?

The Paessler support team has recorded some videos and published them on our website to help you get started with PRTG. The topics cover installation and auto-discovery, setting up notifications, and background information on using remote probes in distributed networks. Lean back for a few minutes and enjoy!

7. Why does PRTG not use an SQL server for data storage?

Monitoring data usually consist of very small amounts of data that occur at regular intervals. Our tests have shown that a classical database is not so well suited for an efficient storage of this type of data. Therefore, we have developed our own database, which stores data in a flat file format and is optimized for monitoring data.

Your benefits:

  • Performance
    Our database is much faster than other databases. Therefore, we are able to analyze and show historic data in near real-time.
  • Network Load
    The PRTG database server is integrated into the core server. No data transfer through the network to another installation is needed.
  • Configuration and Maintenance
    Our integrated database does not need any extra configuration or maintenance. Updates are deployed automatically with the usual PRTG updates.
  • Easy backup
    You can simply back up the database by copying the data files.
  • Licensing
    The database is included in all PRTG licenses. No other database license is required.

In case you need your data for other applications or statistics, you can export monitoring data from PRTG at any time via the integrated API.

8. How does PRTG store its data?

PRTG stores all monitoring data in its own built-in database. Other data — regarding configuration, temporary files, etc. — are stored on several other locations on your computer. For more information, please see our Knowledge Base article How PRTG Network Monitor Stores its Data.

9. What can I monitor with a Flow (NetFlow, IPFIX, sFlow, jFlow) sensor in PRTG?

PRTG Flow sensors support NetFlow 5, NetFlow 9, IPFIX, sFlow, and jFlow.

See these links for more information about the use of custom sensors with PRTG Network Monitor:

PRTG Manual: Filter Rules for Flow, IPFIX and Packet Sniffer Sensors
PRTG Manual: Channel Definitions for Flow, IPFIX and Packet Sniffer Sensors

10. How many sensors can I monitor using PRTG Network Monitor?

PRTG has rather low hardware requirements compared to similar other products. A current standard office PC or server can easily monitor 1.000 sensors and even many more – although some restrictions can apply.

Please see "Planning large installations of PRTG Network Monitor" in our Paessler Knowledge Base and "System Requirements for PRTG Network Monitor" for more details.

11. Does PRTG support reporting?

PRTG is able to create (and/or store) daily/weekly/monthly/annual reports for selected sensors. You can configure the reports to be sent to you via email in PDFs, or have them stored on the hard-drive. Additionally you can run a report interactively in the web browser (in HTML format). You also can have the reports generated on a schedule, e.g. every Monday. There are various templates available which include different sets of data tables and graphs. Check the PRTG features and the manual.

12. Does PRTG support notifications and alarms?

PRTG offers several means of notifications. The most often used means are sending emails or SMS, starting an executable file, sending SYSLog-messages, playing sounds or adding entries to the Windows Event log, among others. PRTG even includes push notifications to Android and iOS devices for free! Furthermore, you can configure notifications on schedule, so that you (or your staff) won't be alerted in the middle of the night for failures of less important servers. You can define numerous conditions for notifications, not only if a sensor is down, also of course if the traffic on a certain interface hits a limit over a certain time, and much more.

Please see the PRTG features and the manual.

13. Does PRTG support multiple user accounts and user rights?

There are various account types in PRTG, e.g. "Read-Only" users and "Read/Write"-Users. Furthermore, you can configure the access rights for every group/device/sensor to control which users are allowed to see or edit it. These settings are automatically inherited in the device-tree, so that it is not necessary to edit the access rights of every sensor individually.

14. How can I monitor which user, PC, server in my network creates how much traffic
and what type of traffic?

There is no simple answer to this question. The approach depends completely on the setup and topology of your network as well as the software and hardware used. Please have a look at the following article: PRTG Manual: Bandwidth Monitoring Comparison

15. Can I monitor multiple locations with one license of PRTG Network Monitor?

Yes, you can. PRTG Network Monitor consists of two parts: the core server and the remote probes. The probes monitor the network and send the data to the core server. The core server analyzes the data and publishes it. All PRTG licenses allow you to set multiple probes without extra costs.

More about multiple and remote probes.

16. Can PRTG monitor virtualized environment as well?

PRTG is the ideal tool for monitoring virtualized environments. It provides comprehensive real-time monitoring of both host hardware and virtual machines, to ensure the reliability and stability of virtual environments. It comes with a range of built-in sensors which makes monitoring VMware, Hyper-V, Xen, and other virtual servers and services as easy as ABC.

17. What does continuous rollout mean?

The traditional process for building new, major versions of software applications requires specification, build, testing, and deploying. The next version of an application might not arrive until a full year later, or more. Instead of having a massive release with 500 new features that takes a year to build and test, the team works in two-to-three-week sprints, delivering something within that period that improves the application. In other words: continuous rollout means releasing software in shorter cycles.

18. What do the PRTG version numbers tell me?

The version numbers of PRTG Network Monitor indicate the year and the quarter of the release. So the version of PRTG which has been released in May 2012 is called PRTG 12.2, followed by the build number xxxx (e.g. PRTG 12.2.xxxx). After July first 2012 our builds carried the version number 12.3, and so on. This gives you a rough idea how old a PRTG version is.

19. How often does Paessler release updates for PRTG?

Our team works in two-to-three-week cycles, delivering updates within each period that improve the application. This continuous rollout enables Paessler to release new features quickly. The updates are available to all clients with an active maintenance contract and can be obtained via PRTG's built-in auto-update or by logging in to the customer service center.

20. Why are there three release channels?

To reach our goal to provide new features and fixes faster AND with better quality, we actually provide three “channels” of our software, so every user can choose either maximum stability or earlier access to features:

  • The “Stable” channel offers the most conservative, best tested version of PRTG. We update this channel with new features about once or twice per month and whenever an important bug fix makes it necessary (just like we did in the past with PRTG 8 and 9).
  • The “Preview” channel is updated about once per week with the latest new features and fixes which have already been tested successfully in our labs. It will allow the user to access new features earlier and it will allow us to test new features “in the wild” earlier.
  • The “Canary” channel provides “nightly builds” and may be updated as often as several times per day. This code comes directly from our development floor and the software should only be used in test scenarios. It should NEVER be used on live systems.

Depending on this setting in the PRTG installation, the user will be automatically notified upon a release of a new version in the chosen channel. PRTG can even install the new version automatically as it becomes available (if chosen so).

21. Can I keep my monitoring configuration while upgrading from Freeware or Trial
to one of the Commercial Editions?

Yes, you can keep all configured sensors, notifications, dependencies and everything else. If you want to upgrade from the Freeware or Trial Edition to the Commercial Edition after a purchase, simply enter your new license key in your existing installation under Setup | License.

22. How will you be informed about new features?

You can find detailed information about continuously rolled out features, improvements, bugfixes or changes in the PRTG history

23. How does the “Auto-Update” work?

Every PRTG installation regularly connects to our servers to check if there is a new version of PRTG available. For Trial and Freeware users, as well as commercial users with an active maintenance contract, PRTG will download a new version automatically and notify the administrator once it has done so. Using the auto-update function built into PRTG, the administrator can then install a new version with just three clicks.

24. How fast is support?

We offer our support directly from our headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, working closely with our development department and our support team is actively involved in the Knowledge Base community. That way we guarantee the fastest and most constructive assistance possible. Our office is staffed Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (UTC+1). You will receive an answer within 24 hours on business days.

25. Is there a PRTG community out there?

Our Knowledge Base contains questions and answers about PRTG and network monitoring in general. All of our customers and trial users are invited to get involved: ask questions, create how-tos or to share best practices. 


2. FAQ about ordering






1. How can I order Paessler products by credit card?

We recommend ordering online and paying with your credit card because this is the fastest option. To do so please visit the Paessler Shop, choose a product and click the "Add To Cart" button. Fill out the upcoming form, choose payment method "credit card" and follow the instructions. Your card will be charged immediately and you will then receive an invoice and your license key by email in a few minutes.

2. How can I order if I cannot or do not want to pay with a credit card?

If you want to order online and pay by bank transfer, visit the Paessler Shop, choose a product, and click the Add To Cart button. Fill out the form, choose the desired payment method, and follow the instructions. You will receive a payment document via email to transfer the amount of your purchase to the Paessler bank account.

Alternatively, you can also send us your purchase order by email to: [email protected]

3. How can I order from a reseller in my country?

To make your purchase of our products as seamless as possible, Paessler partners with software companies from all over the world. This partner network makes it easy for you to find out more about Paessler products and to purchase your license locally. Please find your nearest partner in our Worldwide Partner Network.

4. How can I upgrade from an older version to the current version of a product?

In our Support Center we explain how we handle upgrades and updates.

You can also visit the Online Shop and login with your email address you used during the purchase to receive all promotional offers and upgrades which apply to you.

5. If I buy one edition (e.g. PRTG Network Monitor 500) now, can I upgrade to a higher edition
(e.g. PRTG Network Monitor 1000) later?

Yes, you can always upgrade to higher edition licenses within one product family at the price difference of the two licenses (at the time of the new purchase). For doing so, please login to our Online Shop or write to [email protected] stating the license you are using now, which license you want to upgrade to, and, if available, the order number of your original purchase.

6. Can I combine different licenses if I need more sensors?

No, it is not possible to combine different licenses on one server, i.e. buying a PRTG 500 and a PRTG 1000 license does not mean that you can use 1500 sensors in one installation. PRTG will only accept one license key. If you need more sensors, you can upgrade to a license with more sensors by paying the list price difference.

7. Is there a money-back guarantee?

We are so confident that you'll be delighted with our software that we make ordering our software totally risk-free, with our 30-day Risk Free Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee! That's right - if you should not be satisfied with our software for any reason whatsoever, just let us know within 30 days of purchase and we will refund your order in full.

8. Are maintenance, support, and updates included in the list price?

When purchasing a license you receive 12 months of software maintenance.

During the time of this Software Maintenance...

  • can log in to download the latest version for free at any time (this includes all bugfixes and all new versions of the product that you have purchased).
  • are entitled to receive priority email support via our support ticket system.

The Software Maintenance can be renewed after one year. The price will be 25% of the current list price of the original license, in effect when the renewal is ordered. For your convenience, we will give you advance notification by e-mail before your maintenance plan expires.

We offer our support directly from our headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, working closely with our development department and our support team is actively involved in the Knowledge Base community. That way we guarantee the fastest and most constructive assistance possible. Our office is staffed Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. (UTC+1). You will receive an answer within 24 hours on business days.

Please note that after expiration, you will no longer be able to download the software or new versions from our website. When you extend your Software Maintenance plan we sum up the total maintenance packages and calculate the duration from the time of the initial purchase of the license on. In the case of support issues, priority is always given to customers with maintenance contracts.

9. How do I receive the software?

We deliver electronically (ESD). That means that you will receive an e-mail with your license key(s) and the download URL(s).

10. Which PRTG license is best for larger environments?

For large scale environments, you have two possibilities: PRTG XL1 and PRTG Enterprise. The option you choose depends on your specific environment and requirements.

The PRTG XL1 license allows for a single PRTG server installation. With PRTG XL1, you can monitor 10,000 aspects of your devices in your network which usually means about 1,000 devices.

PRTG Enterprise, on the other hand, offers licensing for several PRTG server installations with a very large number of sensors. For more information on PRTG Enterprise, contact us to learn more.

11. I want to use PRTG as an MSP solution. How do I go about it?

You may use our PRTG 500, 1000, 2500, 5000, XL1 and PRTG Enterprise Monitor licenses and also our PRTG Hosted Monitor subscriptions to offer monitoring services to your customers.

PRTG Network Monitor comes with the entire functionality for use as an MSP solution—PRTG is MSP-ready out of the box.

For detailed information regarding our MSP offering, please have a look at the following article: PRTG Network Monitor for MSPs.

13. Do you have a question that is not answered here?

If you have questions not answered here, please write to [email protected]. We are happy to help.