How To Get Synthetic Monitoring To Work In New Relic | Detailed Guide

How to get synthetic monitoring to work in New Relic

Most websites will explain the principles of synthetic monitoring, which mimics user interactions with your application to ensure availability, functionality, and performance. However, they frequently overlook the statistics and advanced tactics that might transform this feature into a powerful tool for your technology stack.
New Relic provides a variety of synthetic monitoring tools, but its true power resides in its capacity to not only monitor but also analyze and anticipate. With it, I’ve considerably reduced downtime and improved the user experience. But how can you get synthetic monitoring to work in New Relic? Here’s a thorough walkthrough of the process.

What is New Relic?

New Relic APM is a cloud-based application performance management (APM) tool for monitoring app performance, tracking health, and prioritizing updates. It looks for irregularities in the health of your app. Synthetics is an in-house service we offer to our customers. New Relic APM examines these events to assess your app’s health based on their frequency and severity.

What is Synthetic Monitoring?

Synthetic monitoring is the process of anticipating whether a system or service will fail or surpass expectations. It’s a method of integrating centralized services to monitor performance from low-level events such as JVM restarts and application faults.

Synthetics checks your app’s health regularly and compares it to past trends to detect anomalies. These alerts can be configured to send an alert whenever something odd occurs, such as a spike in memory consumption or a spike in response time from users accessing specific pages within the application.


To begin, synthetic monitoring in New Relic entails more than merely creating scripts and forgetting about them. It is about constant improvement and adaptation. Most sites won’t tell you this:

  • Benchmarking: Sure, you can monitor load times and error rates, but have you tried using synthetic transactions to compare to your competitors? This was game-changing for me. I was able to create more targeted performance goals by recognizing not just where I stood, but also where I stood about the market.
  • Customized Insights Using New Relic One: The actual power of New Relic’s synthetic monitoring comes from its interaction with New Relic One. Custom dashboards allowed me to mix synthetic monitoring data with real user monitoring (RUM) data to gain full insights. This dual perspective assisted in identifying difficulties that neither method could have detected on its own.
  • Using the Template for Your Advantage: New Relic provides a template for synthetic monitoring, but customizing it to meet your individual requirements can result in far more successful monitoring tactics. For example, I modified the template to incorporate more detailed checkpoints in user journeys, revealing bottlenecks that we had previously overlooked.

The day I decided to go deeply into synthetic monitoring, I discovered a problem that might have cost us thousands of dollars in income. A specific user flow was failing only in the early hours of the morning, when our actual user traffic was low, and we would not have detected the problem soon. This knowledge enabled us to address the issue before it had a big impact on our users.

How To Get Synthetic Monitoring Work with New Relic

Synthetics Monitoring in New Relic lets you monitor your apps by mimicking user interactions. This covers duties like accessing web pages, filling out forms, and evaluating response times. By doing so, you can detect possible performance concerns before they affect actual users. Here are the steps to get synthetic monitoring to work in New Relic

Step #1: Access Synthetics in New Relic

To get synthetic monitoring to work in Relic you’ll start by logging in to your New Relic account and go to the Synthetics section. If you are new to New Relic or have never set up Synthetics previously, you may need to enable the option in your account settings.

Step #2: Create a Monitor

Once in the Synthetics area, select “Monitors” and then “Create a Monitor.” Here, you can specify the type of monitor you want, such as a simple ping or a programmed browser monitor. Follow the prompts to set the monitor for your individual use case.

Step #3: Configure Monitor Settings

Customise your monitor settings to meet your monitoring objectives. This involves specifying the frequency of checks, the locations from which they will be performed, and the alert criteria.

Step #4: Scripting

If you want to create a programmed browser monitor, you’ll need to include a script that simulates user interactions. New Relic provides a simple scripting language that allows you to create actions such as button clicks, form completion, and page navigation.

Step #5: Run Test Checks

Before properly installing your monitor, perform a few test checks. This ensures that your configuration is correct and that the monitor performs as planned.

Step #6: Analyze Results

Once your monitor is activated, New Relic will begin gathering data from the synthetic checks. Analyze the findings to uncover trends and opportunities for improvement in your application’s performance.

Step #7: Set Up Alerts

To get the most out of Synthetics Monitoring, set up alerts depending on your preset circumstances. This allows you to receive timely notifications when performance metrics depart from the expected range.

The Benefits of Synthetic Monitoring

In today’s dynamic digital market, even modest delays in application response times can lead to consumer discontent and revenue loss. Synthetics Monitoring addresses this issue by continuously testing and assessing application performance, allowing enterprises to maintain a high degree of reliability and availability.

Furthermore, Synthetics Monitoring plays an important role in analyzing API performance and usefulness. Given that APIs are the foundation of modern web applications, monitoring their responsiveness and consistency is critical.

Best Practices For Effective Synthetics Monitoring

#1. Choosing Optimal Monitor Locations

When choosing monitor locations, consider your intended audience’s geographic location. Monitoring from relevant locations provides vital information about how different user groups perceive your application.

#2. Designing Realistic Synthetic Tests

To acquire accurate insights, design synthetic tests that accurately reflect real-world user behavior. To accurately depict the usual user experience, test scenarios should be modeled after actual user interactions.

#3. Fine-tuning Alert Conditions

To reduce false positives, fine-tune alert conditions to avoid “alert fatigue”. Examine past performance data and establish thresholds that are consistent with your application’s regular behavior. This reduces superfluous notifications while assuring prompt attention to essential concerns.

Consider building sophisticated alerting methods that consider numerous performance parameters. To effectively capture complicated performance concerns, set up alerts based on a combination of response time and mistake rate.

#4. Leveraging Data for Performance Metrics

Synthetics Monitoring generates an abundance of performance data. Use this data to make data-driven decisions and continuously improve the performance of your application.
Identify areas for optimization by analyzing past trends and patterns. Focus on essential features, such as high-traffic pages or frequently used APIs, to optimize the impact of your performance changes.

#5. Ensure Security and Privacy in Synthetics Monitoring

While doing synthetic tests, you may come across scenarios with sensitive data. As a result, verify that your synthetic scripts are designed to handle such data properly.
Avoid exposing confidential data in synthetic tests; instead, consider using test accounts or anonymised data to simulate user interactions. This protects data privacy and security while providing useful performance information.

Furthermore, ensure that your Synthetics Monitoring processes comply with data protection requirements. Be aware of the compliance regulations specific to your industry and location, and take the required steps to maintain compliance.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting Tips

Common issues encountered in synthetics monitoring are:

#1. Dealing with False Positives and Negatives.

False warnings can erode trust in your monitoring system while wasting crucial time. To reduce false positives, constantly examine and fine-tune alert conditions in response to changing application activity.

In cases of false negatives, where genuine issues go undiscovered, look into the core reason. Adjust alert thresholds or widen the monitoring scope to include these future events.

#2. Overcoming Monitoring Limits

Synthetics Monitoring provides useful insights, but it is critical to recognize its limitations. Synthetic tests can emulate user behavior, but they may not accurately reflect real-world settings.

To improve synthetic monitoring, consider using real-user monitoring (RUM) data. RUM delivers real-time insights into how actual users interact with your application, revealing faults that synthetic tests may ignore.

#3. Fluctuations in Data

When synthetic test data reveals oscillations, it is critical to examine the root causes. Changes in application code, server configurations, or external service providers could all contribute to these differences.
Examine the test environment and compare data from numerous monitoring sources to determine which causes are producing oscillations. Take the right action depending on your findings.

The Future of Synthetic Monitoring and New Relic

As technology advances, New Relic is likely to add new capabilities and improvements to its Synthetics Monitoring product.
Stay up to date with New Relic’s announcements regarding the most recent advances in synthetic monitoring. These could include more powerful scripting capabilities, broader monitoring choices, and improved interactions with other New Relic products.

Conclusion

Synthetics Monitoring in New Relic is a powerful tool for guaranteeing optimal performance in online applications and APIs. Businesses may discover and resolve possible issues before they affect real consumers by implementing proactive monitoring, performance data analysis, and alert fine-tuning.

Integrating Synthetics data with other New Relic features, such as APM and Insights, provides a comprehensive view of application health, allowing teams to gain useful insights for ongoing improvement.
Synthetics Monitoring enables enterprises to confidently deliver high-quality user experiences, improve application performance, and stay ahead in today’s competitive digital market.


I’d want to underline that synthetic monitoring in New Relic is more than simply a tool; it’s also an attitude. By embracing it, you not only ensure the efficiency of your application but also take a proactive approach to the user experience. It is about making data-driven decisions, identifying problems before they occur, and constantly pushing for better.

Incorporating synthetic monitoring into your work may appear daunting at first, but with the New Relic template and little customization, it becomes a lighthouse guiding your application through the darkest hours.

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