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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Error Tracking

What is Error Tracking?

Error tracking is the proactive process of monitoring web applications or microservices to identify problems and fix them before they become serious issues.

Usually, error tracking reports will monitor your applications for any deviation from benchmark activity levels.

Why is error tracking and monitoring important

It’s important to monitor your applications and/or microservices for errors for a couple of reasons.

  1. Error monitoring improves application health - Monitoring for errors lets you identify issues with your applications to consistently maintain high performance.

  2. Error monitoring prevents revenue losses - The faster your team reacts to errors and bugs, the faster they’re able to resolve them. This helps to prevent customer churn by maintaining a good user experience.

Difference between a bug and an error

While both can be used interchangeably, the common difference in definition between the two is:

  • A bug occurs due to shortcomings in software, systems, platforms

  • An error usually is a result of a problem with source code

What is an error log?

An error log is a document or file that lists all of the errors that occurred in your application. Logs capture the state of the application and are the most basic form of error tracking.

How to search for errors in log files

The easiest way to search for errors is to open your log files and search for any irregularities. Alternatively, you can use tools like Sumo Logic to automatically notify you of events that deviate from baseline, indicating that a potential error has occurred in your application.

Website error monitoring

Error tracking takes on many different forms from applications to websites. Website error monitoring is the practice of reviewing website logs for various server errors, broken pages, and more.

Common website errors

  • 4XX broken page errors

  • 5XX server or host errors

  • Webpages not in the sitemap file

  • Pages not indexed by search engines

  • Slow or poor loading pages

  • 3XX redirects

What is javascript error monitoring?

Javascript monitoring is a component of front-end application monitoring. It’s the practice of monitoring all of the components of your website or application that the end-user sees or with which they interact.

Javascript error monitoring: Best practices

  • Track across all browsers, but ignore older versions. A small percentage of users will be using older versions of browsers that are no longer supported by the vast majority of applications. Maintaining consistency across all browsers is challenging enough, but to also account for phased-out versions of those browsers should not fall on your list of priorities at all.

  • Prioritize errors by the volume of users affected. Errors will vary across your user base, some JS errors will only touch 0.01% of users, whereas others will affect 20% or more. Make sure to prioritize accordingly as you address the different issues.

  • Filter bot traffic. As you address bugs and errors, you’ll want to focus only on your human users, not bots.

What is an error tracking system?

An error tracking system, or error monitoring tools, are tools like Sumo Logic that automatically monitor and detect irregularities in your application or website. These tools enable DevOps teams to proactively find, triage, and fix any errors that occur in the front or back-end of applications.

How to evaluate error monitoring tools

To understand if an error tracking tool is right for your operations, it’s important to ask the following questions and look for the features outlined below.

  • Does the tool have good dashboards to understand information and quickly check on application health?

  • Can you trace the errors throughout your services?

  • Does it integrate easily within your applications and infrastructure?

  • Is it capable of discovering the root cause of issues?

Common features of error tracking tools

  • Automated service discovery

  • Observability dashboards

  • Automated alerts

  • Visual service dependency mapping

  • Automated anomaly detection

  • Root cause explorer

  • Global benchmarks

  • Service and infrastructure stack drill-down and analysis

Error tracking and root cause analysis

Root cause analysis helps DevOps and infrastructure engineers accelerate troubleshooting and root cause isolation of incidents in applications. This is done by helping your team correlate unusual spikes with Open Telemetry trace metrics, host metrics, or other metrics using the context associated with each incident.

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