Computer viruses, duplicated IP addresses, and VPN errors are some of the most common network issues for businesses. Most of this can be prevented or solved with robust network monitoring software. Such tools can also help companies manage their networks, identify security threats, and get valuable insights. As the market for network performance monitoring products is vast and lucrative, the number of options out there can be intimidating. Anyone who plans to invest in such a tool, therefore, could use our expert advice on the best solutions. Plus, in this article, we will explain our evaluation criteria and provide a useful buying guide.
We never simply list the most popular brands. Instead, our team of experts tests each product individually using strict evaluation criteria. This enables us to objectively rank the software.
To help our readers understand what makes an excellent system for network connection monitoring, we will thoroughly explain our evaluation methodology. Scroll down and learn how we rank the platforms mentioned in this article.
Before moving on to what affects the ranking, let’s go over the categorization of the best network monitoring tools. While classification doesn’t earn points for products, it helps users detect the most suitable options for their needs.
Essential Features of the Best Network Monitoring Systems
The functions make the software. With network usage monitoring, some features are essential, while others are good to have. Below, we will outline all the capabilities that earn a better ranking for the products listed in our table.
This feature can cover multiple areas and track aspects like bandwidth or Wi-Fi. Still, the primary focus remains on the network and its health which is why we give boosted rankings to products that monitor the system around the clock. It’s great for a network monitoring program to run network diagnosis as well as to set the performance baselines.
We want systems that can detect and resolve issues instantly. Network diagnostics and troubleshooting, therefore, are vital functions. Network resource management and network configuration management are the other critical features here.
Robust bandwidth monitoring should measure usage by device, user, and app. This tool helps network admins understand what uses the most bandwidth by means of real-time and custom reporting. So, you can track all KPIs whenever and however you want. This essential network monitoring tool gives you historical trends, which helps your capacity planning. It also sends instant alerts in case of an emergency.
Discover, add, and monitor Wi-Fi access points. Visualize signal strength with heat maps. Manage your Wi-Fi infrastructure. Identify dead zones and react accordingly to solve such issues. Such functions lead to improved user experience and faster issue detection which is why they earn better rankings for the business or home network monitoring software that offers them.
Maps give users real-time data on their IT infrastructure. They are critical to tracking any information necessary for your operations. The metrics can include network status, connected devices, weak spots, and loading times. The same goes for dashboards, which should be equally visual and interactive. Besides having these two, it’s essential to efficiently operate them. We therefore give extra points to platforms with simple, drag-and-drop builders.
The best network monitoring systems go beyond alerting and detecting issues to provide in-depth reporting and analytics, too. Real-time network monitoring, for instance, gives valuable data 24/7. You can access the platform anytime and track your KPIs. Web traffic reporting and network diagnosis are two vital features here. Being able to export such custom or standard reports as HTML, XML, PDF, or CSV files is also essential, as is scheduled reporting.
Network administrators need more than a tool to simply perform network speed monitoring and generate reports. A robust network monitoring solution should also come equipped with advanced alerts and notifications. Free push notifications, HTTP requests, emails, and even alarm audio files are all welcomed. Flexibility and customization are crucial here, as different users focus on various KPIs. This means you should be able to set your own or turn off pre-set alerts as it suits you.
The features mentioned above always earn better rankings to the platforms that have them. They are essential to network administrators and guarantee smooth operations. There are, however, other appreciated key functionalities of network traffic monitoring tools.
Here are some of them.
We always give extra points to software that seamlessly integrates with other apps. Products for network performance monitoring mostly need to work with application servers, delivery tools, and container management platforms. So, the value of systems that support multiple integrations is always higher.
When performing network monitoring tools comparison, we always give advantage to user-friendly and intuitive solutions. Why? Nobody likes using complex platforms with a steep learning curve. Network admins should get started quickly and without any specialized training.
Another notable feature of this software is multi-user access. It enables multiple people to access the system at the same time and from a range of devices. Mobile-readiness and mobile apps are welcomed, too.
Investing in a top-class network monitoring app doesn’t come cheap. Still, a product with a good value for the money is more than worth it. To make sure you get a suitable platform, however, you need to test it first. This is possible with a free trial. That’s why brands that provide a free trial, a product demo, and/or a money-back guarantee always get better rankings.
We further focus on platforms whose pricing aligns with the industry average. The only exclusions are products whose feature lists justify their either too high or too low cost.
A 360-degree monitoring solution for small and mid-sized businesses in any industry. Site24x7 supports more than 200 vendors and comes with over 4,000 device templates. The platform has over 50 plugin integrations and provides full server monitoring with more than 50 metrics.
Site24x7 is packed with both the essential and advanced functions of the best network monitoring tools out there. The platform handles routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, Wi-Fi, printers, and storage. It covers all necessary points of interest that guarantee good network health.
The product provides WAN accelerator and UPS monitoring, allowing customers to track everything that happens, including usage metrics, number of pages printed, battery stats, and signal strength. Users can automatically discover available devices within a range. Network mapping meanwhile provides them with full visibility, while device templates enable easy configuration.
This software supports over 200 vendors, including HP, Dell, and Cisco. Other top features of the network monitoring system worth mentioning are the health dashboard, the SNMP trap processing, and the in-depth reporting.
Individuals and businesses can test Site24x7 by requesting a 30-day free trial. Then, there are several plans to choose from.
Yearly billing on the Starter, Pro, and Classic Plans of the Site24x7 network monitoring software gets clients a 10% discount. There are also add-ons users can get to boost the plans. These include basic and advanced monitor add-ons, log management add-ons, additional network interfaces, and real user monitoring add-ons.
A powerful tool used by network admins and tech-staff, PRTG Network Monitor provides a centralized solution for monitoring the entire IT infrastructure of businesses. It smoothly integrates with companies of any size and in any industry. An intuitive interface and a forever-free version make PRTG one of the best home network monitoring software on the market.
Large-scale, cloud, database, server, and SNMP monitoring are among PRTG Network Monitor’s strengths. The tool’s 10,000+ sensors allow users to track virtually every aspect of their IT infrastructure. The most popular options are listed below.
PRTG is also an eHealth, hardware, mail server, and wireless network monitoring software. Many of the sensors meet the specific needs of businesses working in healthcare, security, and eCommerce.
Besides the powerful monitoring capabilities, the tool also offers a multi-user interface, flexible alerting, and distributed monitoring. Users can create maps and dashboards with a drag-and-drop editor. The system will also provide in-depth insights, real-time reports, and custom analyses.
Paessler offers a 30-day free trial of its PRTG Network Monitor. Then, rather than going for open source network monitoring tools, clients can keep using the forever-free version. After the trial, all accounts are automatically redirected to the freeware license that includes only 100 monitoring sensors.
There are five premium plans. Find the starting lifetime license costs for them below.
Our network monitoring software reviews continue with ManageEngine OpManager which lets businesses of all sizes track over 2,000 performance metrics. While excellent for home use, this tool is powerful enough to handle large-scale workloads. OpManager tracks and manages various aspects of your infrastructure and provides both physical and remote network monitoring.
OpManager by ManageEngine is packed with features. It’s an on-premise solution that covers basic and advanced needs. Real-time network monitoring, server monitoring, and WAN link monitoring are some of the functions here. Users of this network monitoring program also get access to customizable dashboards, multi-level thresholds, alarms and notifications, and 3D rack views.
OpManager will monitor all network devices, run diagnostics, perform mapping, and start troubleshooting as needed. Routers, servers, switches, VoIPs, and processes are all handled by the software. Plus, users can manage their storage, faults, performance, data centers, and more. OpManager offers do-it-yourself deployment, and it’s simple to set up. Some configurations, however, can be complicated for first-time users.
ManageEngine provides a 30-day free trial and product demo of the OpManager server network monitoring software. Users with up to three devices in need of essential monitoring functionalities can go for the free edition.
The other options are for SMBs and enterprises. These come with a lifetime license, and their feature list differs.
Businesses and individuals can use the Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack by SolarWinds for comprehensive network monitoring and analytics. This is a scalable and flexible product that can handle small-scale and large-scale operations. Network administrators, network managers, and IT technicians are among the most frequent users of this SolarWinds bundle.
SolarWinds is a reputable player on the network monitoring software market and offers several IT infrastructure solutions. The Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack is for those who need a robust solution for window network monitoring. This product is packed with functionalities of controlling and managing networks, bandwidth, wireless, and traffic. It also includes two exclusive SolarWinds features, the NetPath™, and the PerfStack™. The first provides cross-stack network data correlation, and the latter visualizes critical paths.
Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack tracks response times, uptimes, switches, routers, availability, and similar SNMP-enabled devices. Clients will also receive intelligent alerts and notifications alongside valuable insights.
Other advanced network monitoring tools like the IP address manager, device tracker, and topology mapper are separate packs, and cost extra to use.
Anyone interested in testing the Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack can do so for 30 days completely for free. The download files are featured on the SolarWinds website. Pricing information meanwhile is provided upon request.
A monitoring and analytics service for IT, development, and operations teams, Datadog provides full tracking to businesses in various industries, including financial services, healthcare, gaming, and eCommerce. As network monitoring software, Datadog covers the basics and performs the best for SMBs and households.
Datadog Network is designed to perform five essential functions. This is achieved through a set of features that guarantee a healthy IT infrastructure.
The network module, however, lacks some advanced business and home network monitoring tools. For example, dashboards and alerts come as separate feature packs. Meaning, to get them, clients must pay extra. Still, all these are reasonably priced, so the Datadog bundles can turn out cheaper than other all-in-one solutions.
Any user can request a 14-day free trial to test the platform’s monitoring capabilities. Then, they can choose their preferred modules and type of billing.
The network monitoring tool costs $5/host/month when billed annually or $7.20 on-demand. It includes six million flows per host. Those who need over 500 hosts per month can ask the vendor for discounted pricing. A host is considered any virtual or physical OS that has the installed agent.
For reference, here’s the starting price of the other modules.
Excellent server network monitoring software for any business and household. LogicMonitor is a monitoring superpower that tracks and troubleshoots multiple sectors of IT infrastructures. The system is equipped with a plethora of essential and advanced tools for achieving optimal uptime.
LogicMonitor is scalable, flexible, and customizable. It also covers multiple aspects of IT stacks. These include websites, containers, applications, dynamic services, storage, databases, cloud, and servers. As one of the best network monitoring software, LogicMonitor gives visibility into the client’s networking equipment and infrastructure. The system provides automatic monitoring and troubleshooting alongside alerting.
Some key features here are dashboards, forecasting, bandwidth monitoring, network mapping, and network security monitoring. LogicMonitor also offers in-depth reporting and insights. Users can track all critical metrics like interfaces, devices, switches, routers, and CPU. Thanks to network mapping, clients also get valuable data on the relationships between vital resources. LogicMonitor integrates with over 2,000 apps, including Slack, Autotask, and PagerDuty.
Go beyond our network monitoring software reviews and test LogicMonitor yourself. Claim a free trial or request a product demo to check if the platform meets your needs.
The vendor offers two standard packages – Core Package and Website Monitoring. The Core Package has two options. The first is Pro for up to 199 devices, and the second is Enterprise for over 200 devices. Pricing for all packages is available upon request only.
A cloud-hosted and an on-premise network monitoring app perfect for IT experts, network admins, and individual users. ConnectWise Automate helps customers track and manage their IT stacks using a single dashboard. The platform is rich in functions and enables users to save time and minimize errors by creating automated workflows.
Network performance monitoring is just a single aspect of this product. ConnectWise Automate offers the best network monitoring tools like bandwidth, server, IP address, internet usage, and uptime monitoring. It also performs network diagnostics and sends alerts when needed. The platform also comes with an intuitive dashboard.
Besides the proactive monitoring and troubleshooting of users’ networks, the system offers reporting on remote control sessions too. Asset discovery and endpoint management are two other useful functionalities of ConnectWise Automate. The patching features meanwhile ensure all user devices are up to date and that all systems are secure.
ConnectWise Automate’s company and home network monitoring software is available for a free trial. Interested clients can request the trial by filling out a simple form on the vendor’s website. The provider doesn’t have pre-made plans but rather, believes that each customer is unique and, therefore, offers custom quotes based on individual needs.
This platform enables IT teams to identify network issues and detect what causes them. The Catchpoint network monitoring software provides full network visibility to businesses of any size and type. Clients of all backgrounds report 99% detection rates before affecting user experience, and a 90% reduction of false alerts.
Users of this platform get to detect and resolve all network-related issues from a single dashboard. The system gives full visibility of both hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments. It identifies various issues, including packet loss, peer issues, and congestion. Catchpoint performs strongly as network security monitoring software too. It protects against DNS cache poisoning, DDoS, and BGP route hijacking.
Network Insights visualizes entire network paths, from end to end. It generates charts, hop-by-hop visuals, and health reports. Among its 20+ monitor types, users can track API, web, SSL, DNS, and traceroutes. Clients also get access to intelligent alerts, insights, and triggers. Catchpoint smoothly integrates with a range of popular integrations and APIs. Some of these are Slack, PagerDuty, and Chef.
To get a free trial of the Catchpoint network monitoring solutions, just complete the form on the company’s website. The vendor doesn’t provide pricing for any of its programs, so prospective customers should ask for a quote.
Individuals and businesses can start monitoring their networks with Zabbix in no more than 10 minutes. This scalable and customizable platform offers monitoring, automation, alerting, problem detection, and more. It’s is easily implemented, regardless of the industry focus and size of those using this open source network monitoring software.
For a free solution, Zabbix is packed with functions. The company has carefully categorized all its tools into separate sections.
As one of the best network monitoring software on the market, Zabbix offers smart metric collection and data gathering. The tool also enables clients to automatically detect network devices. The system can predict downtimes and trends as well as to detect anomalies. Alerts and notifications keep IT teams in the loop, while remote commands help with remediation.
Zabbix is a cloud-hosted free monitoring solution. Anyone can download and use it without limits or hidden fees. It’s an excellent option for individuals and startups that prefer open source network monitoring tools. Still, the vendor kindly asks commercial users to support the software by purchasing commercial support.
Auvik is designed to help managed service providers (MSPs) monitor, track, and handle network infatuations. This is a cloud-hosted solution whose scalability and flexibility make it suitable for any business. Auvik is packed with automation, dashboards, remote management, real-time mapping, and many more advanced tools.
Users get access to many advanced network performance monitoring tools. The platform supports multi-client accounts, two-factor authentication, roll-up dashboards, and a range of integrations. Full network topology includes automated mapping, inventory, map export, and network documentation. Auvik also offers IP address management, password management, and service monitoring.
IT admins are always up to date with any anomalies thanks to preconfigured and custom alerts and notifications. The system also provides rich statistics alongside live and historical data. Auvik is a network monitoring application that handles troubleshooting as well, and is further equipped with remote management.
Auvik offers a free trial, and its pricing starts at $500 per month. The company has only four billable device types (firewalls, routers, switches, and physical Wi-Fi controllers). Any other devices like access points, printers, and endpoints are free to manage.
The exact price of Auvik depends on individual needs and workload. Users should choose client types (Essentials or Performance) and onboarding style (Standard or Plus) to get a custom quote.
Our table of top products and their reviews are helpful. Still, finding the best solution for your business or home goes beyond those. Users must focus on picking a system that works for their individual needs and expectations which is why we’ve drafted a simple buying guide.
Your initial shortlisting should focus on the target businesses of the product. Stick to network monitoring solutions whose clients have similar size and industry focus as yours. That way, you can be confident that the platform has the power to handle your workload and meet your specific needs.
The next step is focusing on the capabilities of your future investment for monitoring network activities. This is done by listing all the features you expect from the software. Add anything critical to your operations like network diagnosis, bandwidth monitoring, and Internet usage. Shortlist all network monitoring tools that have all those functions.
With a shortlist of all suitable products, it’s time to choose a winner. The last step in our buying guide is related to your budget. Make sure to decide how much money you’re willing to invest in network traffic monitoring. Then, compare your budget against the pricing of the options that survived steps 1 and 2. The network monitoring software with monthly costs that fall within your spending range is the product you should ultimately go with.