Here’s a step-by-step guide that will show you how to create a ‘set it and forget it’ system to monitor a web page for changes and then receive notifications when changes are detected.
This tutorial will work for anyone using Google’s Chrome web browser, regardless of operating system (Windows, macOS, Linux etc)
- To get started, head over to the Visualping Extension page on the Chrome Web Store and click the “Add to Chrome” button to install it. Click the new “blue globe” icon in your menu bar (see screenshot below) to open the main ‘setup’ window.
- There are two ways you can monitor a page – have the Visualping service do it for you, or have your browser do it. There are advantages and drawbacks to each option. If the Visualping service does it, you can only have the page checked 62 times a month (ie. twice a day). The upside is that you don’t have to have Chrome open for the ‘checks’ to happen (or your computer turned on for that matter), and the notification will be sent via email. The other option is to have your browser itself run the ‘check’, allowing you to monitor the page for changes as often as every minute. The drawback for this method is that you have to have Chrome open in order for the check to happen.
This guide will explain how to set up a monitoring system both ways – via the Visualping service and via your own browser.
- To create a ‘Visualping service’ monitoring check – the one that will happen up to 62 times a month and doesn’t require Chrome to be open – open the web page you want to monitor for changes and then click the Visualping “blue globe” icon. Make sure the Server tab is selected (the default one). For the time being, select Day from the SET CHECK INTERVAL section – this can easily be changed later.
- Now you need to decide just how small of a change you want the system to look for. If you set it to the most sensitive option, Tiny Change, you’ll run the risk of triggering ‘false positives’. For example, if the web page displays the current date, you won’t want to be notified just because the page displays a different date every day. I’ve found that Medium Change won’t trigger many false-positives, but will pick up on actual changes to the content of the page.
- Now enter your email address in the space provided. This is the address that the notification will be sent to once Visualping discovers a change to the web page. Click the Start Monitoring button.
- Close out of the ‘pop up’ window and check your email.
- You’ll need to confirm your address (just once). Click OK in the email they send you.
- That’s it – you’re done! Now just wait :) When the page that you’re monitoring changes, you’ll get an email similar to the screenshot below.
- Now let’s set up a ‘browser based’ check. This is the one you can configure to check a page as often as every minute for a change, but requires that you keep Chrome open. Once again, open a page that you’d like to monitor for changes and click the Visualping ‘blue globe’ icon. This time, select the Browser tab.
- In the SET TIME INTERVAL section, decide how often you’d like to check the page for changes.
- One way to help make sure that the tool reports changes properly is to pick the specific part of the page to monitor. This can be particularly helpful if you’re monitoring a page that has something for sale – you can look for the parts that will change from ‘Not in Stock’ to ‘Available’ or ‘On Sale Soon’ to ‘Now on Sale’. To do this, click the Pick Element button.
- Hover your cursor around the page and you’ll see a ‘checkered red box’ appear around sections of the page. When the ‘red box’ is surrounding the part of the page you want to monitor for changes, click that section.
- Finally, click the Start Monitoring button.
- Now when the section that you specified changes, you’ll get a pop-up notification, and the ‘blue globe’ will indicate there’s been an update. You can click that notification or the icon to view the recently updated page. That’s it!