POST URL Monitoring

POST URL Monitoring is an Enhanced Service.

We nearly called this feature "Form Submission Simulation" rather than "POST URL Monitoring". Here's why...

When you fill out a form and click the submit button, your browser sends the form information to a certain URL that is embedded in the HTML definition of the form. We call that URL a POST URL, because that particular kind of HTTP transaction uses the "POST" method. A script located at that URL receives the submission and sends an appropriate response back to your browser.

Web forms are usually intended to be filled out by humans. But by means of the POST URL Monitoring feature, you can have Red Alert repeatedly simulate this human process of filling out a form, submitting it, and examining the response. This is extremely useful for testing whether a login script is working properly, checking whether a particular database search is returning good results, verifying that your e-commerce server is accepting payments, or just making sure your site visitors' form submissions are getting through.

How to Use

In order for you to set up monitoring of a POST URL, you'll need three sets of information:

  • The fully-specified POST URL embedded in the HTML definition of the form.
  • The names of the elements of the form whose submission is to be simulated. For example, in a login form, two of the elements might be named "username" and "password".
  • For each name in the above list, a corresponding value which the imaginary human has selected or typed.

None of the above information can be reliably extracted by looking at the form itself. Rather, you must examine the HTML that defines the form. If you are not familiar with HTML, we recommend asking for help from the author of the form, or from someone who is good at writing HTML forms. If you wish, you may contact the Red Alert support staff for help at an hourly rate.

Once you have determined the above three sets of information, choose "URL" in the ADD A DEVICE section of your Account Summary page, and click the ADD button. Enter the POST URL in the URL section. In the POST URL PARAMETERS section, enter the name-value pairs as shown in the example there.

If you need to enter a value that contains a carriage return, type the carriage return, then start the next line with a space. Red Alert will interpret any line that begins with a space to be part of the value on the previous line. The space itself will be discarded, but the carriage return will be retained. Example:

 name=Joe Visitor address=123 Anystreet  Anytown, OH  43201  U.S.A. phone=972-422-6364