Status Pages 101: Everything You Need to Know About Status Pages

August 17, 2023
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Status Pages 101: Everything You Need to Know About Status Pages
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    Status Pages are critical for effective Incident Management. Just as an ill-structured On-Call Schedule can wreak havoc, ineffective Status Pages can leave customers and stakeholders, adrift, underscoring the need for a meticulous approach. 

    Here are two, Matsuri Japon, a Non-Profit Organization and Sport1, a premier live-stream sports content platform, both integrate Squadcast Status Pages to enhance their incident response strategies discreetly. You may read about them later.  

    Crafting these Status Pages demands precision, offering dynamic updates and collaboration. Let’s uncover some questions that might pop up while you’re thinking about or setting up your Status Pages. 

    How Do Status Pages Work?

    A Statuspage serves as a communication instrument enabling you to notify your customers regarding service interruptions and scheduled maintenance. It can be public or private. A public Status Page enables you to cultivate customer confidence by displaying the status of your services or components. You can present a historical record of your service's uptime and performance trajectory over time.

    It works by monitoring different components and endpoints for any incidents or disruptions. When a problem is detected, the Status Page updates to reflect the issue and provides detailed information about the problem, such as the root cause. This allows users and customers to quickly and easily check the status of a service or system and stay informed about any ongoing or resolved issues.

    Watch this video to know how Squadcast Status Pages work.

    Why Does Your Organization Need a Status Page?

    Status Pages pose many benefits. 

    • They provide real-time insight into service health, building customer and stakeholder trust.
    • Status Pages offer centralized incident updates, reducing customer inquiries during Incidents, leading to lesser burdened Customer Support Teams 
    • Status Pages demonstrate Reliability by showcasing the Historical Uptime of Services or Components
    • Customers and Stakeholders stay informed about service status which helps manage expectations and build trust
    • Regular updates about maintenance show commitment to service quality
    • Private Status Pages allow teams to coordinate better during incident response.
    • Customers and Stakeholders can receive notifications about specific Services or Components, Ongoing Incidents, and Maintenance updates through multiple channels if they have subscribed to a Status Page
    • Status Pages connect with Monitoring tools for automating incident reporting.

    That being said, there are many tools in the market offering Status Pages. But there are different types of Status Pages too.

    What are the Different Types of Status Pages?

    Some popularly used status page types include:

    • Public and Private Status Pages 
    • Service-Specific vs. Multi-Service Status Pages
    • API-Driven vs. Webhook-Driven Status Pages

    1. Public Status Pages & Private/Internal Status Pages 

    Public Status Pages display information about service health and ongoing incidents publicly for their customers to view. Alternatively, private Status Pages are intended for internal stakeholders, engineers, CTOs, etc to keep them notified of and aligned with the incident resolution process.                                 

    2. API-Driven vs. Webhook-Driven Status Pages

    API-driven Status Pages fetch real-time data from monitoring and alerting tools via application programming interfaces (APIs). This integration enables automatic updates of incident information, ensuring that the Status Page reflects the most current state of the system.

    API driven Status Pages are different from normal Status Pages in essence that (most) normal Status Pages require manual updates. 

    Webhook-driven Status Pages receive updates directly from systems through webhook notifications. Webhooks are triggered when specific events occur, such as an incident being detected or resolved. This approach provides instantaneous updates to the Status Page without relying on periodic API calls.

    3. Audience Specific Status Pages

    Audience-specific pages are for pre-specified users and groups to view. They are usually customized to show the status of the components and systems that are relevant to a specific audience, such as a region, a segment, a partner, or a customer. 

    They also provide updates and information about any incidents or maintenance that may affect the components and systems that are relevant to the specific audience. Audience-specific pages are useful for providing personalized and tailored communication to different audiences, as well as enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    What are the best practices for Status Pages?

    Designing a Clear and Informative Status Page

    Ensure the Status Page layout is intuitive, with clear indicators for service status. Organize information logically, using concise language and visual elements that are easy to understand. Make key information easily accessible to users, and consider mobile responsiveness for users on various devices.

    Communicating Incidents Effectively

    Craft incident messages that are concise, accurate, and transparent. Clearly state the impact, ongoing efforts for resolution, and expected timelines for updates. Use plain language and avoid technical jargon to ensure users comprehend the situation easily.

    Managing Subscribers and Notifications

    Allow users to subscribe to incident notifications via various channels (email, SMS, etc.). Provide options for users to customize notification preferences based on the severity of incidents. Ensure a straightforward process for users to subscribe and unsubscribe.

    Handling Scheduled Maintenance Updates

    Notify users in advance about planned maintenance through the Status Page. Specify the maintenance window, expected impact, and reasons for the update. Offer guidance on what actions users need to take, if any, during the maintenance period.

    Analyzing Metrics and Performance Data

    Regularly review historical data on incidents and performance. Analyze trends, common issues, and user feedback to identify areas for improvement. Use these insights to make informed decisions and enhance service reliability.

    Providing Real-Time Incident Updates

    Maintain a continuous flow of updates during incidents, keeping users informed about progress, challenges, and resolutions. Clearly indicate when new information is available, and close the incident only after confirming complete resolution.

    Including Historical Incident Data

    Include a well-organized incident history that documents past outages, their causes, and resolutions. This transparency demonstrates accountability and helps users understand your commitment to addressing issues.

    Regularly Testing Status Page Updates

    Conduct periodic tests of your Status Page and notifications to ensure they function as intended. Simulate incident scenarios to confirm that updates are accurate, timely, and well-delivered.

    Integrating With Your Notification Channels

    Integrate your Status Page with your preferred notification channels and stay informed about any website downtime instantly. This enables you to easily receive notifications through various channels including Slack, Telegram, custom webhooks, and more. 

    By adhering to these best practices, you can create a well-structured, transparent, and responsive Status Page that effectively informs users and contributes to a positive user experience.

    What are some top Status Page examples & services providers?

    Here are some of the best Status Page tools in 2023 based on features, pricing, and popularity.

    Best Paid Status Page Providers in 2023

    1. Squadcast: Squadcast offers effortless creation of public and private Status Pages, unlimited for enterprises, along with proactive notifications and uptime graphs for reliability demonstration. It enables clear communication through Maintenance Windows and Issue History Timeline, with streamlined subscription management for Subscribers and Incident Handlers, while providing complete control over content display. 
    Squadcast Status Page

    Additionally, the decoupled association ensures customizable presentation, promoting autonomy in message delivery, and planned downtimes are showcased for enhanced trust. Issue progress comprehension is simplified, and separate issue creation streamlines workflow management, all contributing to an effective and customizable Status Page experience.

    Pricing: $16 per user for 5 Status Pages, 5000 subscribers/page along with On-Call Management, and Incident Response features. 

    For detailed pricing, visit Squadcast’s pricing page here.

    2. Better Stack: A Status Page provider that combines incident management, uptime monitoring, and Status Pages into a single product. It offers on-call calendar scheduling, unlimited phone call and SMS alerts, synthetic monitoring, embeddable system status notice, codeless integrations, AI-powered smart incident messaging, and a free Status Page for all users on a custom domain.

    Better Stack Status Page

    Pricing: The cost factor plays in Better Stack's favor as unique Status Page with custom domains can be created by all users on the free plan. Their paid plan, offering five Status Pages along with a custom domain and customizable theme, starts at $24 for a single user account.

    Best open source Status Page Tools in 2023 

    1. Cachet: A responsive Status Page that uses Bootstrap 3 and offers basic uptime monitors, a chart dashboard, an API for setting up any metrics, and two-factor authentication.
    Cachet Status Page

    Cachet offers fundamental uptime monitoring and presents metrics in an engaging visual format. It offers multilingual support for your Status Page. In terms of cost, while Cachet is open-source, starting the installation of its Status Page requires a fee of $249.

    2. Staytus : Staytus offers the ability to create neat Status Page, with customizable themes to fit your brand.One of the best parts about Staytus is its flexibility. You have the option to either manually add issues/incidents through the Web UI or directly link your services to your own monitoring systems.

    Staytus Status Page

    Which Status Page To Choose From? Open Source V/S Paid Ones!

    Choosing a Status Page provider involves considering factors like features, pricing, reliability, security, and support. Different providers cater to various needs and preferences, making the decision complex. Here's a brief overview of open source vs. paid options of Status Pages:

    Paid Status Pages

    Pros: Offers more features, integrations, and support with dedicated teams and professional hosting.

    Cons: Typically more expensive, less customization, and reliance on predefined templates.

    Open Source Status Pages

    Pros: Free or low-cost, offering flexibility and customization through source code modification.

    Cons: Requires technical expertise for setup, may lack features, integrations, and support compared to paid options.

    Building your own Status Page might seem tempting, but the reality is that it takes a lot of time and effort to make it work seamlessly. Maintaining and updating your own Status Page can drain your team's energy and resources, without giving you the desired outcome. You'll need a dedicated team to handle the technicalities, which could be better used elsewhere.

    Instead, think about a simpler option – using a service that provides a ready-to-go Status Page. It's a smart move that saves you the trouble of managing everything yourself and ensures that your Status Page is always reliable. This way, you can concentrate on your main tasks and let the experts handle the rest.

    Rest assured, we'll guide you toward the optimal choice considering all factors in the next section.

    Choosing Squadcast Status Pages 

    Squadcast is an end to end Incident Management platform that enables you to carry out On-Call Management, Incident Response and SRE workflows in one platform. It’s built around the best SRE practices and brings you the ability to create both internal and external Status Page.

    1. Private & Public Status Pages: With Squadcast, you can create both public and private Status Pages without any hassle or additional payments. 
    2. Unlimited Status Pages: Designed for enterprises, Squadcast offers unlimited public and private Status Pages, plus On-Call and Incident Response features.
    3. Decoupled Association: Services are untethered from specific components for customizable presentation, providing freedom in showcasing components you want to display on your Status Page. 
    4. Status Page Independence: Open incidents don’t dictate content on Status Page, allowing autonomy in message presentation. You can manually update what you want to show your external stakeholders. 
    5. Demonstrate Reliability: Uptime Graphs display both present and past uptime data to existing and potential customers along with stakeholders. 
    6. Promotes Proactive Communication: Customers are informed in advance of scheduled downtimes through Maintenance Windows. Additionally, the Issue History Timeline provides comprehensive insights into the progression of incidents. 
    7. Free Stakeholder Notifications: With private Status Pages you can keep your stakeholders notified while resolving incidents.
    8. Streamline Subscription Management: Whether you're a Subscriber or an Incident Handler, Subscriptions offer essential alerts and management. Subscribers receive event notifications, while incident handlers oversee the subscriber list. Administrators control channels, components, and maintenance updates for subscribers.
    Squadcast Status Page - Subscription Settings

    For more on Status Page's latest update check: Unveiling Squadcast’s Enhanced Status Pages 

    How Much Do Status Pages Cost?

    Squadcast Status Pages are offered in Premium and Enterprise plans. These plans enable public/private Status Pages, notifying subscribers/ internal stakeholders of incidents or maintenance. 

    • Premium allows 5 pages, 5000 subscribers/page; Priced at $16 per user
    • Enterprise offers unlimited pages, 10,000 subscribers/page; Priced at $21 per user

    Additionally, Incident Response and On-Call Management features are included with both these plans. 

    If you want to know more about Squadcast Status Pages, you can read about them here. Also for a 1:1 demo, you’re welcome to book it here. Or check Squadcast pricing & plan options.

    Conclusion

    Not all Status Page providers are created equal, and you need to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you opt for a public page to build user trust or a private one for seamless internal coordination, the choice depends on your specific needs. 

    Balancing factors like customization, integration, and simplicity will guide you towards the right solution. Remember, a transparent and informative Status Page not only enhances user experience but also showcases your commitment to reliability and responsiveness.

    Squadcast is a Reliability Workflow platform that integrates On-Call alerting and Incident Management along with SRE workflows in one offering. Designed for a zero-friction setup, ease of use and clean UI, it helps developers, SREs and On-Call teams proactively respond to outages and create a culture of learning and continuous improvement.

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    August 17, 2023
    August 17, 2023
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