The average tech-minded geek knows website change detection and monitoring tools come in handy on several occasions. But you don’t have to be tech-savvy to learn how to leverage these tools in your day-to-day life.
One common trick is watching ecommerce websites for sales and bargain offers on your favourite products. When a product is sold out, subscribe to receive an in stock alert and be notified, via email, when it’s back in stock.
Businesses use website change detection and monitoring tools to gather market research and competitive intelligence data. Spy on competitors’ product changes and sales targeting so you can adjust your own accordingly. Monitor competitors’ prices, brand mentions and consumer comments on their Instagram and Facebook pages.
They’re also often leveraged for general management purposes, like website quality assurance. You can keep an eye on unauthorized content changes from employees, either accidental or non-approved, and even track potential hacking attempts.
Regardless of the purpose, website change detection and monitoring tools are ridiculously useful.
That’s why we’ve highlighted the best tools here, analyzed according to their ease of use and advanced features. Read on to learn more.
NBC, The Washington Post and Forbes, among others, recommend using Visualping to watch web page changes.
The Wall Street Journal says Visualping comes in handy for monitoring pharmacy, clinic, government and other vaccine-related pages to snag COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
With over 1.5 million users – out of which 83% are Fortune 500 companies – Visualping is the world’s top website change detection and monitoring tool.
Visualping’s user interface is smooth and minimalist, making it easy to use. Folks less familiar with online tech tools will have a substantially easier time with Visualping than most other monitoring tools.
To use Visualping to monitor website changes, you don’t have to click a slew of buttons on the homepage to find the registration portal, and then several more to actually set up the monitor.
Just paste the URL of the page you want to monitor into the search bar on Visualping’s homepage. Click “Go”, and you’re well on your way there.
The web page loads in Visualping’s viewport, and you’re prompted to customize the monitor: the area of the page you want monitored, frequency of page checks, the specific monitoring mode, and the email address for the alerts.
Then you click “Start Monitoring”, and that’s as tricky as it gets. The user has to confirm the email sent to their inbox to validate the address and make an account password.
But don’t be misled by Visualping’s clean design; many advanced settings are tucked beneath the minimalist interface.
Visualping provides three different monitoring modes for the user to choose from: visual-compare, text-compare and web-compare.
Visual-compare lets you monitor web page pixels. It’s the go-to option for monitoring visual page changes. Upon receiving an alert, users receive a clean, easy-to-read screenshot of the page, with all the changes highlighted for them.
Text-compare monitors a page’s textual changes. It’s best for monitoring pages of dense text, such as changes to a Terms and Conditions Agreement (T&C). Users click the View Changes button at the bottom of the alert to navigate to the page they’re monitoring, with all the textual changes highlighted for them in context.
Web-compare lets you monitor HTML code. When setting up the monitor, you select particular web page elements to be tracked.
The Perform Actions feature lets users instruct Visualping on how to navigate the page to access information they want checked. The features let users automate actions such as filling in a form, selecting from a dropdown menu, clicking a button, etc. It’s a popular feature with monitoring password-protected pages.
Fluxguard is a cloud-based website monitoring tool. While it’s fairly straightforward to set up, there are several steps to get started.
To set up your first monitor, you have to register and validate your account first. This is actually the case for most website change detection tools – Visualping is just the weird one with its quick and easy set up.
With Fluxguard, you’re providing your email and a password, and then checking your email for the confirmation code. If there’s a delay of a minute or two, then you have to request the confirmation code again.
Enter the code, sign in to Fluxguard once more, and then click the “Add Site” button in the top corner to get started with your first monitor.
You copy and paste the URL into the search bar, and click “crawl”. To edit the settings and apply fancy features to it, you have to click the small settings icon next to your monitor.
It’s a couple extra clicks. But it gets the job done.
Fluxguard’s 100% cloud-based web monitoring allows you to sequence a series of pages to crawl, or monitor. Cookies and local storage are preserved in the Cloud.
Fluxguard can monitor password-protected pages through automating the process of interacting with the page and submitting login forms.
Users can monitor text content changes, HTML, visual changes, network activity and cookie changes.
Through Google Lighthouse audits, Fluxguard can automate website audits to assess changes in important metrics such as your website’s performance, search engine optimization (SEO) and accessibility. You can have this set up on every page of your site, or just a couple pages, within a few minutes.
Fluxguard offers detailed reports of change summaries for staff remediation, analysis or investigation, emailed to you and others in an easy-to-read report. The reports can be sent via SMS, Webhooks, Email and API.
Similar to Visualping, Sken is quick and easy to get started with. You simply copy and paste the URL of the page you wish to monitor into the search bar on the homepage.
After customizing the monitor’s settings, you provide the email for the alerts and make a password for your account. That’s it. Quick and easy.
While it’s not as smooth and slick as Visualping’s interface, you’re not having to navigate a finicky sign up process with a series of small, fussy steps.
With Sken’s advanced time scheduler, you can set your own schedule for when the checks will be performed. The timing of the checks and check frequency can vary each day of the week, ranging from every minute to every 60 minutes.
Sken.io users can avoid false alerts when setting up their monitor, such as irrelevant popups that hide the content you wish to monitor, by simply selecting the page element and deleting it.
You can also get chart-style reporting to more easily analyze changes to numerical values – shifts in your favourite product’s prices, for example, or the number of your competitors’ service reviews.
Sken offers a mobile app for users who prefer to receive alerts directly to their mobile. There’s also a browser extension. Your monitored data, stored in the Cloud, can be fully synchronized with the chrome extension and mobile application.
Pagescreen is relatively easy to set up. Although, when you first set up your monitor, you have to “take a few seconds” to consider trying out their “capturing tool”. It’s a fancier feature that lets you monitor websites in high resolution. You ultimately have to pay for it. It’s a popup you can’t avoid.
But, once you’re setting up the monitor, it’s straightforward: you’re pasting the URL into the search bar, naming your monitor and specifying the check frequency.
Advanced scheduling options become available once you switch on Advanced Mode.
With Pagescreen, you can create website archives of saved page changes. Get the visual evolution for better analysis to generate numerous high-quality screenshots from mobile and desktop.
You can choose which days of the week you want the monitor to repeat itself, as well as the exact time, down to the minute, you want Pagescreen to monitor the page. There’s an option to delay the time in between the page loads, up to 60 seconds.
As with most competing website change detection tools, you can monitor the entire page or just a part of it. You can also select a preset device, such as a desktop (1440 x 960), tablet (768 x 1024) or mobile (375 x 667), or a custom size to monitor the page with.
You can also select the file format – either PNJ, for lossless compression, or JPEG.
Customize the alert change threshold to customize the sensitivity of your alerts and minimize false alerts. You’ll only be notified if the change meets a required change percentage.
You can make navigation and management easier by smartly grouping your monitors together. The grouping also ensures you don’t miss important changes due to managing several different monitors at once.
While OnWebChange has a user interface that isn’t as sleek as the others, it’s relatively easy getting set up. To register with OnWebChange, you have to provide your email and password. Then you have to scroll past a prompt to upgrade your subscription to a paying option and your account summary, in order to click the “Create New Tracker” button to start monitoring a web page. From there, it’s a matter of copy and pasting the URL you want to monitor and customizing the settings.
OnWebChange is particularly handy for defacement protection. Users can select one or more areas to monitor within a web page, which is ideal for maintaining pages with dynamic content.
OnWebChange notifies you via email or push notifications in Android/iOS. Power Users can also use a HTTP CallBack with their own login data, to adjust website content automatically and, for example, restore a defaced page.
OnWebChange offers multi-region tracking, allowing you to visit web pages as though you were visiting them from different geographic regions around the world. The “Browser Mode” feature allows you to track any public webpage.
OnWebChange also offers advanced CSS (Page Content Selection), as well as the ability to scan both PDF and plain text files for changes.