Most of the time when you create a new monitor, you want that monitor to become active in your account straight away. The monitor will start producing measurements every minute (depending on the monitor interval), you can inspect those measurements in the monitor log, and alerts will be generated when errors start occurring. For many cases, this works very well: when you create the monitor, the monitoring and alerting are effective immediately. However, this immediacy is not always optimal. 

Running in production or not

When you're building a new transaction, for example, it's likely that you'll be working on that transaction for some time before you want to run it in production. In the meantime, you may want to let the transaction run for a while to see how stable it runs, without running the risk of generating false positives that have an unwanted effect on your SLAs and other account-wide uptime numbers.

Similarly, if you have an existing transaction that needs to be replaced by an updated script as soon as your new website is launched, you'll want to prepare that new transaction and have it at the ready alongside the existing one. But as long as the new transaction script is just sitting there, it will take up valuable transaction steps that count towards your total number of available transaction steps. You can purchase additional steps, but there is a more efficient way to organize your monitors.

Managing monitor life cycles using monitor mode

We have three different monitor modes: Development, Staging and Production. You can switch between these modes for all monitor types (not just transactions) if you're using the Professional, Business or Enterprise plan. For other pricing plans, the monitor mode is always Production.

So how will the different monitor modes come in handy?

Development mode

Monitors in Development mode are always inactive. Those monitors cannot be scheduled for execution, so they won't generate any results in the monitor log. This also means that they're free! You can have as many as you want, without any additional cost. That does mean that any data history attached to that monitor will disappear as soon as you switch a monitor back to Development mode.

Development mode monitors are useful for creating and testing draft versions. Suppose you're creating a new transaction or Multi-step API monitor, and that you're running manual tests on it within the editor. Based on the test results, you can tweak it further until you're satisfied with those initial test results. Until you're ready to move that monitor to Staging or Production, it won't cost you anything, and it will not have any negative impact on your uptime numbers.

Consequently, Development mode also lets you keep multiple (inactive) copies lying around without having to purchase additional monitors, transaction steps or API steps. It's fine to keep monitors in Development mode for long periods of time. However, when you are ready to promote an inactive Development mode monitor to Staging or Production, you will need space in your account to activate it, or swap it around with another monitor.

Staging mode

Staging mode is typically the next step in a new monitor's life cycle. Opposite to Development mode, Staging mode does allow you to schedule a monitor for normal execution. Once activated, the monitor will produce new measurements as any other monitor would, and the results are visible in the monitor log as usual. The nice thing of using Staging mode is that even though you can observe how stable the monitoring results are, it will not affect the uptime percentage of your account, it will not have any impact on your SLAs, and no alerts will be sent out. It's like running them in a sandbox environment: the measurements are real, but the uptime, SLAs, historical statistics and alerting pipeline stay clean (learn more).

Once you move a monitor to Staging mode, it will count towards your total number of monitors / steps used in your account. Typically, you want to try and promote a Staging mode monitor to Production as soon as you're confident that the monitor runs stable. Otherwise, you're not taking advantage of the full range of features while the cost is the same as a Production monitor.

Production mode

This is the default mode: a monitor is available for regular execution, its availability counts towards the overall account uptime, the monitor results are taken into account for SLA calculations, and alerting is available.