Quickly Get Alerted to Front-End Errors and Performance Issues

Measuring things is great. They say what you only fix what you measure. Raygun is great at measuring websites. Measuring performance, measuring errors and crashes, measuring code problems.

You know what’s even better than measuring? Having a system in place to notify you when anything significant happens with those measurements. That’s why Raygun now has powerful alerting.

Let’s look at some of the possibilities of alerts you can set up on your website so that you’re alerted when things go wrong.

Alert 1) Spike in Errors

In my experience, when you see a spike in errors being thrown in your app, it’s likely because a new release has gone to production, and it’s not behaving how you expected it to.

You need to know now, because errors like this can be tricky. Maybe it worked just fine in development, so you need as much time as you can get to root out what the problem is.

Creating a customized alert situation like this in Raygun is very straightforward! Here’s a quick video:

Alert 2) Critical Error

You likely want to be keeping an eye on all errors, but some errors are more critical than others. If a user throws an error trying to update their biography to a string that contains an emoji, well that’s unfortunate and you want to know about it so you can fix it. But if they can’t sign up, add to cart, or check out — well, that’s extra bad, and you need to know about it instantly so you can fix it as immediately as possible. If your users can’t do the main thing they are on your website to do, you’re seriously jeopardizing your business.

With Raygun Alerting, there are actually a couple ways to set this up.

  1. Set up the alert to watch for an Error Message containing any particular text
  2. (and/or) Set up the alert to watch for a particular tag

Error Message text is a nice catch-all as you should be able to catch anything with that. But tagging is more targetted. These tags are of your own design, as you send them over yourself from your own app. For example in JavaScript, say you performed some mission-critical operation in a try/catch block. Should the catch happen, you could send Raygun an event like:

rg4js('send', {
  error: e,
  tags: ['signup', 'mission_critical'];
});

Then create alerts based on those tags as needed.

Alert 3) Slow Load Time

I’m not sure most people think about website performance tracking as something you tie real time alerting to, but you should! There is no reason a websites load time would all the sudden nose dive (e.g. change from, say 2 seconds to 5 seconds), unless something has changed. So if it does nose dive, you should be alerted right away, so you can examine recent changes and fix it.

With Raygun, an alert like this is extremely simple to set up. Here’s an example alert set up to watch for a certain load time threshold and email if there is ever a 10 minute time period in which loading times exceed that.

Setting up the alert in Raygun
Email notification of slowness

If you don’t want to be that aggressive to start with loading time, try 4 seconds. That’s the industry standard for slow loading. If you never get any alerts, slowly notch it down over time, giving you and your team progressively more impressive loading times to stay vigilant about.

Aside from alerts, you’ll also get weekly emails giving you an overview of performance issues.

Alert 4) Core Web Vitals

The new gold-standard web performance metrics are Core Web Vitals (which we’ve written about how Raygun helps with before) (CWV) because they measure things that really matter to users, as well as are an SEO ranking factor for Google. Those are two big reasons to be extra careful with them and set up alerts if your website breaks acceptable thresholds you set up.

For example, CLS is Culumative Layout Shift. Google tells us CLS under 0.1 is good and above 0.25 is bad. So why don’t we shoot for staying under 0.1?

Here we’ve got an alert where if the CLS creeps up over 0.1, we’ll be alerted. Maybe we accidentally added some new content to the site (ads?) that arrive after the page loads and push content around. Perhaps we’ve adjusted a layout in a way that makes things more shifty than they were. Perhaps we’ve updated our custom fonts such that when the load they cause shifting. If we’re alerted, we can fix it the moment we’re aware of it so the negative consequences don’t stick around.

Conclusion

For literally everything that you measure that you know is important to you, there should be an alerting mechanic in place. For anything website performance or error tracking related, Raygun has a perfect solution.