As of April 2022, more than 75% of websites on the internet are built using PHP (source). In other words, three out of four websites are developed using PHP! This is a significant statistic.
Given the extensive usage of PHP web applications, it is crucial to have systems in place that can automatically monitor their performance and response to the vast number of global users. As a PHP developer, it’s essential to have practical tools in your toolkit that can keep you updated on your application’s performance and promptly alert you about any potential issues.
In this article, we will discuss PHP application monitoring, highlighting the key performance metrics to consider and showcasing the top tools available in the market that can help you achieve your monitoring goals.
PHP Monitoring Metrics
‘Performance’ in the context of software development is a broad term that encompasses various aspects of an application’s behavior on the internet. To evaluate how well our application is functioning, we need to analyze its performance using different metrics.
The most valuable metrics to consider will vary depending on your specific application and organizational requirements. It’s important to understand the key performance indicators relevant to your use case.
Before diving into the list of top PHP monitoring tools, let’s explore the commonly important metrics that provide insights into your application’s performance.
Availability refers to the measure of an application’s services’ availability and operability. It represents the percentage of time an application and its services are available and functioning correctly. Calculating availability typically involves tracking uptime, downtime, responsiveness, and the percentage of completed transactions.
Response Time ↓
Response time is the duration it takes for the server to respond to a client’s request. There are two primary statistics related to response time:
- Mean response time: The average response time for each request, with shorter times being better.
- 95th percentile response time: The time it took for 95% of transactions to complete. The closer this value is to the mean response time, the better.
Error Rate ↓
Error rate measures the number of errors encountered in your application over a specific time period. This metric includes all errors across all instances of your application running on the web.
Memory and CPU Usage ↓
Memory consumption and CPU usage are essential metrics for measuring hardware resource utilization. Monitoring platforms typically track these metrics, averaged across all running nodes. Lower values indicate more efficient resource utilization. Abnormally high values may indicate bottlenecks, while unexpectedly low values might suggest overprovisioned compute resources.
Customer Satisfaction ↑
Apart from indirect measures of user experience, specific metrics directly account for customer satisfaction. The ApDex score, a famous customer satisfaction metric provided by monitoring tools, compares the number of requests completed within a threshold time to those taking significantly longer. This score depends on the application’s response time.
For more information on the ApDex score and its monitoring, refer to the ProgramMatek website.
Top PHP Monitoring Tools
Now that we have covered the essential metrics for monitoring PHP applications, let’s explore the top PHP monitoring tools that can help you effectively track these metrics.
Scout APM is an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool that offers real-time alerts and insights about your application’s performance. In addition to capturing the mentioned metrics, Scout provides support for key performance indicators (KPIs) such as deployment tracking, error monitoring, custom contexts, and detailed tracing.
Scout seamlessly integrates with popular PHP frameworks like Laravel and Symfony, providing auto-instrumentation for widely used libraries such as Lumen and Predis. Learn more about monitoring PHP applications with Scout on the ProgramMatek website.
Xdebug is a highly popular free and open-source PHP extension that provides a suite of tools for developers, including debugging, error reporting, tracing, profiling, and code coverage analysis. The in-built profiler helps identify function calls that slow down your application and consume excessive memory. The profiler’s analysis can be visualized using tools like KCacheGrind and Webgrind.
Xdebug’s step debugger allows interactive stepping through PHP code lines, visualizing control flow, and seamlessly integrating with popular IDEs like Visual Studio Code. Its tracing support helps identify stack traces during code debugging. To learn more about Xdebug’s debugger, profiler, setup instructions, and features, visit the ProgramMatek website.
Loggly, developed by SolarWinds, is a log management and monitoring platform for PHP applications. It aggregates logs from all your deployed servers and nodes into one centralized location, simplifying log synchronization for distributed applications. Loggly analyzes and monitors these logs for insights and trends in application performance.
With Loggly’s interactive search interface and event summary, navigating and identifying abnormal behavior in extensive log files becomes effortless. Log-analysis visualizations provide actionable insights into application performance. The integration of logging and monitoring capabilities is seamless. Learn more about Loggly on the ProgramMatek website.
AppOptics is another popular APM tool that offers infrastructure health monitoring services. Alongside traditional APM features, AppOptics provides performance monitoring in pre-production settings, distributed transaction tracing, exception tracking, and live code profiling. It integrates with log management systems like Loggly.
AppOptics simplifies the diagnosis of root causes that hinder performance, including slow database queries, high latency service calls, and time-consuming user-defined methods. Discover the range of monitoring services offered by AppOptics on the ProgramMatek website.
New Relic One
New Relic One, an industry-leading APM platform, provides comprehensive full-stack observability for your software stack. Beyond traditional APM features, New Relic offers AIOps capabilities to analyze events, identify data trends, reduce alert noise, and uncover insights for enhanced application performance. New Relic One also includes a free subscription plan with limited features to give users a taste of the platform’s capabilities.
With features like high-level application summaries, service maps, contextual logs, customizable interactive dashboards, and custom metrics, New Relic One empowers users to gain valuable insights. Trusted by renowned organizations such as Github, Atlassian, Epic Games, and Cloudfare, New Relic One offers an integrated solution for comprehensive APM.
Improved PHP Monitoring with Scout APM
In this article, we discussed valuable metrics for evaluating application performance and highlighted the top five PHP monitoring tools. By leveraging these tools, you can gain actionable insights into bottlenecks within your application. Evaluate your application’s performance monitoring requirements and consider investing in a reliable solution that will proactively alert you about any issues before your users experience them.
Get started with Scout APM today with a 14-day free trial (no credit card required!) or schedule a demo with our experts. Visit the ProgramMatek website for more information.