Chris Dzombak

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A lightweight service health check tool written in Bash

cdzombak/lightweight-healthcheck is an easy-to-use (and deploy) service health check tool, written entirely in Bash.

A lightweight service health check tool written in Bash

Part of the Project Announcements series.

For websites like and other apps and services I run, I need to know when there’s a problem. But for personal & crowdfunded projects with few (or 1) users, services like Pingdom are expensive and overkill.

So I wrote lightweight-healthcheck, a Bash script which I run periodically (typically every minute or two) via cron. When the service it’s checking goes down, I get an email and text message. When it recovers, I get another email & text.

It has some useful features, above & beyond a trivial one-off script one might write to achieve minimum viable monitoring:

SMS delivery is acheived with Twilio. For emails, the script uses the mailx tool, and your server will need to be configured correctly to deliver mail. I personally use Mailgun to ensure mail from my servers reaches me reliably. You can set this up for your Linux servers using this guide.

To deploy the script, you just make a copy, customize the variables on top, and write a check in Bash for your service.

Some tips on writing checks with curl:

Here are a couple example checks I use for my own services:

# verify that my website is online & serving my home page:
curl -s --connect-timeout 5 --max-time 15 --retry 3 --retry-max-time 50 | grep -c "<title> # Chris Dzombak</title>"
# verify that the streaming API is online:
curl -s --connect-timeout 5 | grep -c OK