Mastering Synthetics Monitoring in New Relic: A Step-by-Step Guide

Understanding and optimizing your online platforms is paramount for delivering a seamless user experience in digital performance. Synthetic monitoring is a powerful tool in this quest, enabling teams to identify and resolve issues before they impact users proactively. New Relic, a leader in the performance monitoring space, offers comprehensive synthetics monitoring capabilities designed to simulate user interactions and monitor the health of web applications and APIs. This guide aims to demystify setting up and leveraging synthetics monitoring in New Relic, ensuring your applications perform at their peak.

Understanding Synthetics Monitoring

Before diving into New Relic’s synthetics monitoring specifics, it’s crucial to grasp what it entails. Synthetics monitoring involves deploying automated scripts or bots to perform web application or service tasks, mimicking real user behaviors and interactions. This type of monitoring is invaluable for early detection of issues, performance benchmarking, and ensuring that critical workflows, such as checkout processes or sign-ups, are functioning correctly around the clock.

Setting Up Your New Relic Account

You’ll need a New Relic account to start monitoring synthetics in New Relic. If you’re new to New Relic and want to know how to get synthetics monitoring to work in New Relic you can sign up for an account on their website, which offers a variety of plans, including a free tier with limited features. Once your account is set up, navigate to the New Relic One dashboard, where you’ll find an array of monitoring solutions, including APM (Application Performance Monitoring), Infrastructure, Logs, and, importantly, Synthetics.

Creating Your First Synthetics Monitor

Navigate to the Synthetics Section

Within the New Relic One dashboard, locate and select the “Synthetics” option from the sidebar. This action will take you to the Synthetics monitoring dashboard, a centralized hub where you can manage your synthetic monitors.

Choose Monitor Type

New Relic offers several synthetic monitors, each tailored to specific monitoring needs. These include:

Simple Ping: Verifies that your site is up by regularly pinging it.

Browser: Simulates real user interactions within a webpage using real browsers.

Scripted Browser: Allows for more complex, scripted interactions with your site.

API Test: Monitors the availability and response time of your API endpoints.

Starting with a Simple Ping or Browser monitor is advisable for beginners, as these are easier to set up and provide immediate value.

Configure Your Monitor

After selecting the monitor type, you’ll be prompted to configure it. This involves specifying the monitor’s name, the URLs to be tested, the frequency of checks, and the locations from which the checks should be performed. For a more advanced setup, such as a Scripted Browser or API Test, you’ll need to write or upload the scripts defining the interactions or API calls to be tested.

Writing Effective Monitoring Scripts

For Scripted Browser and API Test monitors, writing effective scripts is key to unlocking the full potential of synthetics monitoring. New Relic uses Selenium WebDriver for scripted browsers, allowing you to script complex user interactions. Here are some tips for writing effective scripts:

Start Simple:

Begin with basic interactions and gradually add complexity.

Use Explicit Waits:

Ensure your script waits for page elements to load before interacting with them.

Error Handling:

Include error handling in your scripts to manage and log failures effectively.

Reuse and Modularize:

Write reusable functions for common tasks to make your scripts more manageable.

Monitoring and Analyzing Results

Once your monitors are up and running, New Relic provides detailed insights into their performance. You can view each monitor run’s success rate, response times, and detailed logs. For more in-depth analysis, New Relic allows you to drill down into specific failures, viewing screenshots (for browser-based monitors), error messages, and stack traces, which are invaluable for diagnosing issues.

Alerting and Notification

A critical aspect of synthetic monitoring is setting up alerts to notify you when issues are detected. New Relic’s Alerts system is highly customizable, enabling you to define alert conditions based on monitor failures, response times, and other metrics. You can configure notifications to be sent via email or SMS or integrated with third-party tools like Slack, ensuring that the right people are informed promptly when issues arise.

Best Practices for Synthetics Monitoring in New Relic

To maximize the value of synthetics monitoring in New Relic, consider the following best practices:

Comprehensive Coverage:

Ensure you have monitors for all critical user flows and API endpoints.

Regular Review and Update:

Periodically review and update your monitors and scripts to reflect application changes.

Integrate with CI/CD:

Integrate synthetics monitoring into your continuous integration and deployment pipelines to catch issues early.

Leverage Real User Monitoring (RUM):

Combine synthetics monitoring with RUM for a holistic view of performance, capturing both simulated and real user interactions.


Synthetics monitoring in New Relic is a powerful approach to ensuring your web applications and services perform optimally, offering insights that can help preemptively address issues, improve user experience, and maintain operational excellence. Following this step-by-step guide, you can set up, configure, and utilize synthetics monitoring in New Relic, positioning your digital platforms for success in today’s highly competitive online landscape. Remember, the key to effective monitoring is in setting up and continuously refining and integrating these tools into your development and operational processes.

Read Also: Exploring Tech Marvels with Your Computer Guide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *