Internet service provider (ISP) monitoring tools

Best monitoring tools
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March 16, 2023

Can you keep your business running without power? I’m pretty sure you can’t. To avoid having to face this scenario, your company probably does have some kind of power monitoring system installed. It is responsible for keeping an eye on power fluctuations and engaging backup systems when needed, to avoid interruptions.

What are ISP monitoring tools?, Why should you invest in internet service provider monitoring?, What to look for in these tools?, How to do ISP monitoring?

The best ISP monitoring tools compared

The same can be said of an internet connection. Fast and reliable internet connectivity is essential to practically every single business. And your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the bridge between your internal networks and the rest of the world.

If you are not online, your workers won’t be able to get their job done. They won’t have access to e-mail, Slack, Jira, and other crucial tools. Your customers won’t be able to reach you, and you will lose money.

This need gave rise to ISP Monitoring tools, which are a valuable asset in helping you prevent, diagnose and solve various connection issues. In this article, we will present some of the many options available and hope to help you choose the best one for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about ISP Monitoring

What are ISP Monitoring tools?

An ISP monitoring tool is any tool that can be used to the connection between your internal networks and your ISP. As you can imagine, there is significant overlap between them and network monitoring tools, since they serve basically the same purpose.

These tools can range from a simple status monitor, to check for active connections, to more complex ISP Performance Monitoring tools to measure throughput and latency. Some more sophisticated tools can even simulate traffic as if it were a regular user, giving a clear view of performance across a variety of real-world scenarios.

Why should you invest in ISP Monitoring?

There are many reasons why you should invest in ISP monitoring. Here are five of them:

  • Availability: an ISP monitoring tool can tell you if the connection is available or not, and also help you detect early signs of network failure. This gives you time to redirect traffic to another, more stable, connection and avoid costly outages.
  • Performance: latency and throughput are as important as availability. Your connection may be up, but a page that takes 30 minutes to load is, for all purposes, not available. A performance monitor can help you detect those issues and pinpoint their cause. This will help you and your ISP to solve the problem quickly.
  • Capacity Planning: having a baseline of the past performance and usage of your internet connections is crucial when drawing up plans for the future expansion of your business. Will you need more capacity to deal with the new hires in the next quarter? A monitor will tell.
  • Security: a sudden spike in traffic may be a symptom of an ongoing cyberattack. Having a monitor alert you of such changes is crucial to being able to deploy countermeasures before the situation escalates and goes out of control.
  • Ensuring SLAs: are you getting the bandwidth you’re paying for? Without an ISP monitoring tool, you may not know until it’s too late, when you need to push your connections to the max and everything crumbles. Don’t get caught by surprise.

What to look for when choosing an ISP Monitoring Tool?

There are 5 main features you need to look out for when choosing an ISP monitoring tool.

  • The capability to monitor many aspects of your ISP connections at once. Not only availability but also throughput, latency, and more.
  • A centralized display of information from many sensors for better observability.
  • Customizable alerts and automated notifications when alerts are triggered.
  • Native and automated reporting features.
  • A free trial period, so you can attest to how the tool works with your network infrastructure.

How to do ISP Monitoring?

There are many ISP monitoring tools, from as many different vendors, which may focus solely on a single aspect of the task or offer this capability as a subset of a broader range of features. We present a few of them below, in no particular order.

The best ISP Monitoring tools

Paessler PRTG, ManageEngine, Zabbix, Icinga, OutagesIO, DataDog, Pingdom, Site24x7, Nagios, Domotz

Paessler PRTG

Paessler PRTG is the Swiss army knife of the monitoring world. PRTG is based on basic monitoring elements called “sensors”. One sensor usually monitors one measured value in your network, e.g. the traffic of a switch port, the CPU load of a server, the free space of a disk drive, and so on.

With more than 250 built-in sensors for a wide variety of tasks, device types, and use cases, you would be hard-pressed to find something that you can’t monitor with PRTG. Plus, you can mix and match sensors, and even deploy custom ones, to create bespoke monitoring solutions specific to your needs.

Paessler PRTG HTTP monitoring dashboard
The HTTP Advanced sensor in PRTG.

There are many sensors that can be used for ISP monitoring. The Ping sensor can be used to get the response time and packet loss in the connection. Use the HTTP sensor to measure the load time of a piece of content, or the HTTP Advanced sensor to measure the performance of an interactive website, such as a webshop. You can even do traffic analysis, with sensors for Netflow, sFlow, jFlow, IPFIX, and others, which allow you to monitor which kind of traffic is flowing through the connection.

The information gathered by PRTG is shown on a centralized dashboard with all the relevant metrics. You can set alerts based on threshold values, with notifications delivered by text (SMS) or email if those values are exceeded. There is also an automatic reporting feature, so you can keep management and co-workers informed.

PRTG runs on Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022 or Windows 11, and there are mobile apps for Android and iOS. There is a 30-day free trial of PRTG, with all features available during this period, no credit card is needed.

ManageEngine OpManager

network-monitoring/">ManageEngine OpManager is a full-featured network monitoring system. It can monitor physical and virtual servers, your WLAN and WAN, storage devices, generate network visualizations, and even help you with fault management.

For ISP monitoring, you will want to use the Network Management module, which can monitor availability, WAN performance, errors & discards (which may indicate a problem with a network switch or a device interacting with it), and do traffic analysis using NetFlow, jFlow, sFlow and IPFIX.

OpManager is able to perform Intelligent Event Processing, correlate raw network events and filter unwanted ones. Notifications can be sent by SMS or email whenever an alarm is triggered, and it is also possible to automatically run an external program or script.

ManageEngine internet connection monitoring
Availability Monitoring in ManageEngine OpManager.

The information gathered by this tool is presented in customizable dashboards with various visualization options. Each user can choose widgets and customize their dashboard based on their specific needs.

ManageEngine OpManager is available for Windows (Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, 2016, 2019, 2022) or Linux (RedHat version 7 to 8.4 / CentOS Stream 8/ CentOS 7 to 8.5). There are also mobile clients for Android and iOS, so you can take your monitoring on the go. There is a 30-day free trial available.


Zabbix is a free and Open Source monitoring package that can do a lot, including server, cloud, application, services, and network monitoring into one tool. The network monitoring module can be used to monitor network health (bandwidth usage, packet loss rate, interface error rate, and more), and performance.

“Smart thresholds” allow your team to do root cause analysis and anomaly detection, and there is an AI-Based trend prediction system that not only informs you that you will run into issues, but also how much time you have left until a threshold is reached.

The alerting system is very flexible, supporting not only SMS and email, but also modern communication platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Telegram,,, and more. Messages can even be customized according to the type and role of the recipient.

Zabbix avialability monitoring
Data visualization on the Zabbix Dashboard.

The Zabbix server can only run on Linux, on-premises, or in the cloud. Supported distributions are Alma Linux, CentOS, Debian, Oracle Linux, Raspberry Pi OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Rocky Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Ubuntu, both for x64 and arm64 architectures.

As said, Zabbix is Open Source and free, but you pay for the technical support. There are five support tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum, Enterprise, and Global I), each one with different levels of availability, response times, and amount of incidents and support contacts.


Like Zabbix, Icinga is an Open Source monitoring tool packed with features. Originally developed as a fork of Nagios in 2009, Icinga has a web-based interface and is expandable, with plugins, add-ons, and modules available on the Icinga Exchange. The software is also compatible with Nagios plugins available on the Nagios Exchange.

The network monitoring module can do device specific (with support for devices from vendors like Cisco, Juniper Networks, Huawei, Blue Coat, HP, Checkpoint and many more) and generic SNMP monitoring. It can monitor the network interfaces of your physical and virtual servers to detect availability and potential errors.

Icinga dashboard
Icinga Dashboards can be customized to the user’s needs.

Metrics, such as the availability, bandwidth usage, and errors on every interface, are collected and can be stored on a database of your choice, simplifying tasks such as capacity planning and identification of usage trends. There’s also Logstash integration, providing a powerful log-parsing engine that comes in handy when analyzing hundreds of events.

Icinga runs on Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Raspbian, SLES, RHEL, and Amazon Linux 2) and also Windows Server 2012 R2 and up. The software is free on most platforms, but some packages (for RHEL and Amazon Linux 2) and support are only available through subscriptions, offered on a three-tier system (Basic, Premium, and Enterprise).


In contrast to other software mentioned in this article, OutagesIO is built to do one thing: monitor an internet connection for outages and performance issues, and tell you if the source of the problem is at your location or your ISP.

The overview dashboard shows the last 50 events, pointing to when the connection was down, for how long, and where the issue was located. Need more? Extended reports provide  ongoing historical data, which helps your team drill deeper for clues and trends.

The software is also capable of running automated speed tests (with alerts in case the speeds deviate from an established baseline) and has a flexible alert system, with notifications displayed on the dashboard or sent via SMS or email.

Outages IO Dashboard
The OutagesIO Dashboard shows the most important information up front.

OutagesIO runs on Windows (7, 8, 10, and 11) or Linux, with Linux support for ARM-based systems like the Raspberry Pi. It is available in two versions, a free Community Edition and an Extended Edition costing only a few dollars a month, which adds extra features like automated security scans.

There is also an optional hardware monitoring device, which runs the same software you get on other platforms, while adding a number of additional features like wireless network monitoring, environment monitoring, video surveillance and more.

Datadog Proactive Monitoring

Like the name implies, Datadog Proactive Monitoring is designed to detect potential issues on your network connections before they can cause downtime. It can monitor connections on your network or over the internet, and track response times, HTTP status codes, error rates, and more.

A machine learning algorithm can correlate this information with past data, allowing the tool to discover seasonal trends and only alert on behavior outside historical patterns. The same algorithm can predict future behavior, generating alerts when a projected threshold is breached.

DataDog Alerts
AI algorithms on Datadog can alert you of problems before they become critical.

An autodetection engine allows the tool to automatically surface anomalous behavior without manually setting up and configuring alerts. It can also detect application and infrastructure issues with proactive monitoring of hits, error rates, latency, or other metrics.

The Datadog server is cloud-based, so it can be accessed from almost everywhere with a browser. But you will need to install an agent to collect data on every device you wish to monitor.

These agents are Open Source and available for many operating systems, including UNIX (AIX), mac OS, Windows, all the main Linux distributions (including Ubuntu, Fedora, Red Hat, CentOS, Debian, SUSE, and others) and even a Docker container. The trial period is short, however: only 14 days.

SolarWinds Pingdom

SolarWinds Pingdom is a tool dedicated to website performance monitoring. It can do uptime, transaction, and page speed monitoring, generate immediate alerts in case of problems and help you identify their root cause.

This is useful if you don’t want to monitor the connection to your ISP, but the rest of the world’s connection to a website (like a web store, for example) that is hosted there. One useful feature for that is Real User Monitoring, which lets you experience your website like your users would, tracking metrics that affect the user experience.

Pingdom internet connection monitoring
Pingdom gives you insights into what may be affecting the user experience on a website.

Page speed monitoring will track your website’s load time and help you identify performance bottlenecks, and transaction monitoring helps you ensure that the interactive parts of the user experience, like signup, search, or file downloads, are as responsive as they should be.

The uptime monitoring feature checks your website’s availability every minute, from 60 different locations, ensuring worldwide availability. And if problems arise, a Root Cause Analysis feature can help you identify the source.

Pingdom is a cloud-based service, so you can run it on any platform you wish using just a web browser. There is a 30-day free trial available.

Site24x7 Server Monitoring / Free

Site24x7 offers a complete set of monitoring tools for all needs. But, for those who need just the basics, Site24x7 Free Server Monitoring may fit the bill.

This is a “basic heartbeat check monitoring solution” which allows you to monitor the uptime and availability of up to five servers. This is not a trial: you can use this tool for unlimited time, but it will only provide availability percentage and downtime history.

Site24x7 monitoring
The network monitoring dashboard on the paid version of Site24x7. The free version is much more limited.

Since this is cloud-based, it supports all the major operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, mac OS and FreeBSD. If you like what you see, You can also “upgrade” to a 30-day free trial of the full Site24x7 Server Monitoring solution.

Nagios Network Analyzer

If you need to monitor every single aspect of your ISP connection, not only availability and performance, the Nagios Network Analyzer is the tool for you, as it provides an in-depth look at all network traffic sources and potential security threats.

Information about Netflow or sFlow data sources, server system metrics, and abnormal network behavior is displayed on a central dashboard, including specific information on individual IPs, source port, destination port, or any combination of those. It is even possible to track the network usage of specific applications.

Nagios network analyzer dashboard
Using flow analysis to monitor connections in Nagios Network Analyzer.

The tool includes a bandwidth calculator, allowing the creation of reports summarizing bandwidth usage by source and/or IP. There are built-in alerting and reporting capabilities, with customizable alerts that can be triggered when critical thresholds are exceeded, abnormal network activity occurs, or bandwidth restrictions are met. Built-in wizards help network administrators set up those alerts with “only a few clicks”.

Nagios Network Analyzer also offers “seamless” Nagios XI integration, allowing admins to see generated reports from within the XI system. It is available for Windows, VMWare and many Linux distributions (CentOS, RHEL, Ubuntu or Debian). Unlike many other tools listed in this article, it is offered on a license model, without recurring subscription costs. There is a free trial available.


This is another full-featured network monitoring software. Domotz can monitor any external IP address or host, and also TCP services like HTTP, SSH, Telnet, and more. Other features include route analysis to identify the cause of network issues and speed tests. These can even be run repeatedly, every 6 hours, to get a picture of connection performance over time.

This tool offers logging and monthly reports, which you can download or share via email, showing network and device history. A “Shared Alerts” system allows you to define alert profiles that can be applied either to devices or agents. You can also choose which events will generate notifications and how they will be delivered, including via email or messaging platforms.

Domotz Internet connection speed test
Domotz can help you run continuous speed tests in your connection.

Domotz is offered on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis, and there is no need to install any software. There is a 14-day trial available.


There are ISP monitoring tools for all kinds of needs, no matter how you use them. However, our favourite is Paessler PRTG, as it “ticks all the boxes” in our list of desired characteristics in a PC monitoring tool, making it, in our opinion, the best choice overall.

First, it streamlines your workflow by enabling you to monitor all of your infrastructure with a single tool. It can monitor your ISP connection, but also your network, services, servers, databases, IoT devices, cloud infrastructure, and much more. It really is a “Swiss army knife” of the monitoring tools.

That means you can do away with having to rely on a variety of individualized solutions, which can carry potential risks such as conflict with your current workflow and even network security issues.

Second, it comes with built-in sensors that cover many of the main use cases, without the need to purchase extras. Last, but not least, it is extensible, which means you can deploy third-party sensors, or even develop your own, to cover specific needs.