I’ve been using Little Warden for quite a while. It monitors all of the sites I work on and has saved me from disaster on more than one occasion. It’s been beneficial for sites that multiple developers manage because they have a habit of overwriting code and pushing changes that break search visibility. For example, it’s caught and notified me of
robots.txt changes that could have de-indexed the site if I hadn’t known about it.
Little Warden was founded by Dom Hodgson, an SEO and serial entrepreneur living in Leeds, UK. He and his wife Heather – a talented software engineer with a Ph.D. in Mathematics and the CTO of Little Warden – stay busy updating and improving the app. They recently added team management (multi-user) support and new Core Web Vitals checks.
Little Warden monitors URLs, which can be a domain, subdomain, or page on the site. Depending on the plan, each URL is allotted a certain number of checks. The most common usage is to add the root domain for every site you want to monitor and to setup site health checks, like monitoring changes to
robots.txt and nameservers. However, you can also add individual pages and setup checks that are specific to the page.
All of the URLs that are being monitored are displayed on Dashboard. The Dashboard highlights the number of issues for each URL. Clicking on a URL will reveal more details about each issue.
Managing site monitoring options
When you add a URL, you specify what should be checked. However, you can adjust the settings for any check and remove or add new checks.
- Domain expiration check
- HTTP to HTTPS check
- www to non-www check
- SSL Certificate expiry
- Nameservers check
- MX Records check
- Indexability check
- URL check
- Title Tag change detection
- Meta Description change detection
- Rel Canonical check
- Google Analytics
- Google Tag Manager
- Robots.txt change detection
- IP Address change detection
- Google Malware list check
- Sitemap validation
- Sitemap URL changes
- Core Web Vitals
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) for mobile and desktop
- First Input Delay (FID) for mobile and desktop
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) for mobile and desktop
- Geo redirect check
- Custom checks
Dom and Heather are innovating and adding new checks regularly, so the list above may not represent a complete list of Little Warden’s monitoring capabilities.
Create custom checks
One of my favorite features of Little Warden is the Custom Check option. You can create a check that will monitor content changes or code changes.
Since I use privacy-first Fathom Analytics instead of Google Analytics on all of my sites, I use the Custom Check option to ensure the tracking code is present on the URLs I’m checking.
The Fathom Analytics tracking code looks like this:
<script src="https://example.com/script.js" site="TLMOBLOR"></script>
Using the XPath query language, I have the check look for the site attribute and match the tracking ID associated with the URL.
If the check finds it, I get a message in the app that looks like this:
And if the tracking code ever went missing, I would receive an alert from Little Warden.
Little Warden provides several options for receiving notifications. The primary method for getting alerts is via email. In the Notifications Settings, you can specify which alerts you want to receive and how often they should be sent.
The email alerts all look slightly different depending on the check it’s notifying you about.
Another notification option is Slack. This is the one I prefer the most. You can have alerts posted to your account or a shared channel on your workspace. This is what the Slack notifications look like.
Little Warden supports webhooks, which can be used in a custom application or service that supports webhooks. It also supports Zapier. The Zapier integration provides the most options for how you receive notifications, including the ability to receive SMS alerts.
Additional noteworthy features
The further you dig into Little Warden, the more robust it becomes. For example, if you view the settings for a site, you can specify the country Little Warden will use to monitor the site. That can be incredibly helpful if you’re doing international SEO.
Little Warden also has an API that enables its features to be integrated into a custom app. That’s especially helpful for agencies that need to monitor their clients’ sites but want to integrate it into their own management and reporting software.
As much as I love using Little Warden, it’s still not perfect. Feature-wise, the product is solid. However, I occasionally experience UX issues where the page doesn’t render well, or I get stuck configuring a check, and I have to refresh the page and start over. For that reason, I’m giving Little Warden a 4.5 out of 5. Regardless, it’s a must-have site monitoring, and I consider it an essential part of my stack.
Check out Little Warden at littlewarden.com.