Best PHP Monitoring Tools on the Market

Best PHP Monitoring Tools on the Market

As of April 2022, more than 75% of the internet comprises websites made using PHP (source). That is to say, three out of four websites on the internet have been developed using PHP! That is huge!

With that many PHP web applications on the web, there need to be systems that can automatedly keep track of how they respond to the hundreds of thousands of clients connecting worldwide. Therefore, as a PHP developer, you’d want your toolkit to include practical tools that can keep you up to speed about your applications' performance and constantly monitor potential issues that can bring the whole thing down and alert you in real-time.

In this post, we’ll talk about monitoring PHP applications — the most important metrics to watch for when evaluating performance, and the top tools in the market that can help you achieve that goal.

Here’s an outline of what we’ll be covering so you can easily navigate or skip ahead in the guide:

PHP Monitoring Metrics

‘Performance’ in the context of software development is a somewhat abstract term. It is an umbrella term for evaluating different aspects of an application’s time on the internet. So, to get a sense of how well our application is functioning, we analyze the various aspects of its performance using different metrics.

Depending on your application and organization requirements, the metrics that matter the most to your use case will differ. Therefore, it is worth going over those key performance indicators for your setting.

So, before we dive into the list of top tools for monitoring PHP applications, let’s look at the most commonly valuable metrics to watch for when understanding your application’s performance.

Availability ↑

Availability, as the name suggests, is a measure of the availability and operability of an application’s services — the percentage of time an application and all its services are available and correctly functioning. Therefore, it is usually calculated using the uptime (and downtime) of an application but can also include measures of responsiveness and the percentage of transactions completed.

Response Time ↓

Response time is the time it takes for the server to respond to a client’s request. You’ll usually find two statistics around the response time of an application –

Error Rate ↓

Error rate refers to the number of errors raised in your application per unit time (usually minutes). As you can imagine, this measure includes all errors introduced across all the instances of your applications running on the web.

Memory and CPU Usage ↓

As far as measuring the utilization of your hardware resources is concerned, two metrics you’ll commonly find tracked on monitoring platforms are memory consumption and CPU usage (averaged across all running nodes). 

As you can imagine, the lower these values, the better. If these metrics are extraordinarily high, this might be a bottleneck you’ll want to fix first. On the other hand, if these values are surprisingly low, then that would mean your compute resources are probably overkill for your application requirements. In that case, you could benefit from downgrading your compute instances to save on cloud usage bills.

Customer Satisfaction ↑

The metrics we saw so far attempt to indirectly gauge a user's experience when visiting your website. However, some measures directly take into account customer experience. A famous customer satisfaction metric offered by monitoring tools is the ApDex score, a ratio between the number of requests completed within threshold time vs. those that took way longer. As you can see, this score is a function of the application response time.

You can read more about the ApDex score and its monitoring here.

Top PHP Monitoring Tools

Now that we have seen some of the most important metrics for measuring application performance, let’s look at the top PHP monitoring tools that help us keep track of these.

Scout APM

Scout is an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool that monitors your application and provides real-time alerts and insights about trends in your application’s performance.