If you are looking for a hosted cron job monitoring service, good news: there many options to choose from! In this post I’m comparing a selection of the more popular ones: Cronitor, Healthchecks.io, Cronhub, Site24x7, CronAlarm, PushMon and Dead Man’s Snitch.
How I picked the services for comparison: I searched for “cron monitoring” on Google and picked the top results in their order of appearance. I was looking specifically for hosted, SaaS-style services.
Disclaimer: I run one of the services being compared, so I’m a biased source. In particular, choosing the axis of comparison is subjective, and of course I’m inclined to choose metrics that would make my service look good. When in doubt, do your own research!
|Cron expression schedules|
|Pinging via email|
|Price per Month|
|For 1 cron job||free||free||free||$10||free||free||free|
|For 10 cron jobs||$24||free||$49||$10||$5||$15||$19|
|For 20 cron jobs||$24||free||$49||$10||$20||$25||$19|
|For 40 cron jobs||$24||$20||$49||$10||$20||$100||$19|
|For 80 cron jobs||$79||$20||$99||$10||$20||$100||$19|
|Username and password|
|Google or Github|
|Years in business||5||4||2||13||5||8||8|
|Popularity in Slack App Directory||4||4||8||–||–||–||5|
Also called “simple” monitors, where the user specifies a period (for example, one hour). The client system must “check in” at least every period, otherwise the monitoring system raises an alert.
Timeout-based schedules are supported by every reviewed service except Site24x7.
Cron Expression Schedules
The user specifies a cron expression (for example, “0/5 * * * *”) and a timezone. The monitoring system calculates expected “check in” deadlines based on the cron expression.
Supported by: Cronitor, Healthchecks.io, CronHub, Site24x7.
Partially supported by: PushMon (uses non-standard syntax).
Not supported by: CronAlarm, Dead Man’s Snitch.
The ability to explicitly signal a failure. This allows quicker failure notifications, without waiting before the configured timeout and grace time runs.
Supported by: Cronitor, Healthchecks.io, Cronhub, CronAlarm, PushMon, Dead Man’s Snitch.
Not supported by: Site24x7.
The ability to signal when a cron job execution starts. This enables the measurement and monitoring of the job’s run time.
Supported by: Cronitor, Healthchecks.io, Cronhub, Site24x7, CronAlarm.
Partially supported by: Dead Man’s Snitch (job’s runtime is reported on completion by a wrapper script).
Not supported by: PushMon.
Pinging Via Email
With this feature, clients can report their status by sending an email. This comes handy when integrating with a services that support email status reports and nothing else.
Supported by: Healthchecks.io, Dead Man’s Snitch
Not supported by: Cronitor, Cronhub, Site24x7, CronAlarm, PushMon.
The ability organize monitored cron jobs and their associated information by project. Project’s don’t matter much when you have only a few cron jobs to monitor, but become increasingly important as account’s size grows.
Supported by: Healthchecks.io, Site24x7 (“monitor groups”), PushMon (tagging), Dead Man’s Snitch (“cases”).
Not supported by: Cronitor, Cronhub, CronAlarm.
The ability to give your team members limited access to your account. The alternative would be to use a shared single-user account, which is of course not ideal.
Supported by: Cronitor, Healthchecks.io, Cronhub, Site24x7, Dead Man’s Snitch.
Not supported by: CronAlarm, PushMon.
Notifications to email, Slack and custom webhooks is supported by all reviewed services. The support for other notification methods varies from service to service:
All reviewed services support classic authentication using username and password. Some of the services offer additional options:
- Cronitor supports single-sign-on (SSO) using the SAML2 standard.
- Healthchecks.io supports signing in via one-time sign in links to email.
- Cronhub supports authentication using Github.
- Site24x7, as a part of Zoho, supports a variety of single-sign-on options.
Years in Business
Site24x7 is the oldest company in the group with 13 years in business. Dead Man’s Snitch and PushMon are the second oldest, dating from 2011-2012. Cronitor, Healthchecks.io and CronAlarm were founded in 2014-2015. Cronhub is the youngest with 2 full years in business.
Company size is a double edged sword. On one hand, larger companies seem like the safer option: they are less likely to shut down, and are more likely to have 24/7 staff monitoring their operations.
On the other hand, the smaller companies may have only a few people manning the systems, but they are passionate and committed. From my personal experience, when reporting problems to smaller companies, I’ve often had the issues fixed and a personal reply from a co-founder in hours.
The exact company size is usually not public information and I have only a few data points here:
- Cronitor was started by two cofounders, August and Shane. I don’t know for sure but assume they are still a team of two.
- Healthchecks.io is a one-man-band (the one man being me, Pēteris)
- Cronhub is also a one-man-band, Tigran.
Popularity in Slack App Directory
Slack App Directory appears to be showing the apps by their popularity, and so can be used as an indirect way to compare real-world usage of the different services. I skimmed through the Developer Tools category and noted the positions:
- Healthchecks.io and Cronitor are close by in search results on page 4.
- Dead Man’s Snitch is on page 5.
- Cronhub is on page 8.
If you notice any factual errors, please let me know, and I’ll get them fixed ASAP!
There are many more things to compare (Do they have an API? Which country are they based in? What has their historic uptime been like? Which one has the prettiest landing page? …), but I decided to stop here. If you are shopping for a cron monitoring service, you will have to decide what is important for you, and likely do some additional research.