Easily combines data from all aspects of your infrastructure to provide synthetic and real performance monitoring. Entirely customizable. Able to deep dive into almost any aspect of your data, no matter how far removed from the main alert or problem area.
You'll have to buy into the entire New Relic application performance and network monitoring ecosystem to take advantage of all the data points from the server to the application to the end-user.
- Bottom Line
New Relic Browser provides a rich ecosystem of performance and monitoring data for your web sites and applications. It's a bit much for smaller businesses, but for medium to large organizations or anyone with a business-critical web presence, it's a boon.
While many website monitoring services combine what amounts to application performance management (APM) features with network monitoring capabilities, there's another kind of website monitoring tool. These are called "synthetic" monitoring tools and they work to give you a hypothetical overview of how your website and web-based apps will be performing when users access them. You'll be able to identify and diagnose latency issues, resolve slow webpage elements, monitor hypothetical user experiences (UXes), and record steps of a hypothetical user's journey to determine if and where bottlenecks will occur. New Relic Browser, which begins at $199 per month, is very much in the former camp.
//Compare Similar Products
Similar to our other Editors' Choice tool AppDynamics, New Relic's tools can do almost anything you'll ever need a performance monitor to do. That's why we've also given it an Editors' Choice award for midsize and large enterprises. However, unlike SmartBear AlertSite Pro (to which we've given an Editors' Choice award specifically for small business use), New Relic Browser isn't designed to simply chart synthetic paths through your website architecture to alert you to issues before they reach your customers or front-end employees. It's meant to do that, yes, but also much, much more.
How Pricing Works
As I previously mentioned, New Relic Browser starts at $199 per month for an unlimited number of users but only up to 500,000 page views per month. If you want to combine the power of New Relic Browser with New Relic Synthetics and New Relic APM, you're looking at an additional payment of at least $145 per month. And, if you really want to go the whole hog on New Relic, you'll have to add $1,499 per month for mobile app monitoring. Luckily, New Relic Plugins and New Relic Insights are free with your Browser plan. New Relic also offers annual payment plans that include steep discounts for upfront payments.
Compared to Riverbed SteelCentral AppInternals, which ties in all of the same back-end data for about $2,000 per year, New Relic Browser can be a bit expensive. (Keep in mind: Riverbed's SteelCentral AppInternals tool doesn't include the mobile app monitoring functionality that you'll find in New Relic's $1,797 monthly package).
For a more apples-to-bananas comparison, SmartBear AlertSite Pro, which is also solely a synthetic monitoring tool, only charges $199 per month based on a package deployment for up to 15 users, three endpoints, text-based notifications, and a dedicated customer service representative. But SmartBear AlertSite Pro is a whole different service that really doesn't sit on the same plane as tools such as New Relic Browser and AppDynamics.
Always On, The App Store, Dig Deeper
New Relic Browser is always collecting your data. Unlike other systems that take snapshots of your network's performance every 30 seconds or only begin collecting data when an issue occurs, New Relic is a running log of your website, app, and server's performance. The tool's Error Rate chart shows you what percentage of your users are frustrated and when. If you click into the chart, you'll be able to see the steps that are slowest and the different types of errors occurring—all without having to instrument any customized charts or data collection.
You'll be able to filter the data within the Error Rate chart and click through to see every exception that resulted in a customer problem, and see exactly where on the page it occurred. This is especially critical for businesses with customers experiencing issues close to the shopping cart or registration pages. By digging into the chart, you can see the exact line of code and parameters where the exception occurred. Moving forward, you can set up an email alert that brings you directly to this page so that you can immediately make tweaks and adjustments, without having to trace the entire journey from your home dashboard.
I won't waste your time describing dashboard colors or the location of buttons or tabs. New Relic looks, feels, and performs like software that's ahead of its time. This is true across any tool you'll find within its entire ecosystem, and within any chart, widget, or dashboard that you click into on your data discovery journey.
You can drag, drop, or delete any of the stages of a data map if you don't care about specific stages. Data can be organized in a list rather than in a tree or chart format. You can filter within the environment for better organization based on speed and capacities. You can also tag and label terms to group different parts of the website or app, for one cohesive view of multiple stages.
Your main dashboard gives you an overview of web transactions, memory usage, heat maps, page response times, Application Performance Index (APDEX) scores, and much more. What's especially cool is that you'll immediately see a corollary between the APDEX score and the average response time to determine if your website experience is satisfactory. You can sort by most time-consuming transactions to determine where backlogs occur. Within this widget, the system tells you how often these time-consuming tasks occurred so you can determine if this is an ongoing issue or a one-off.
Because of the way New Relic compiles your data, it doesn't just aggregate numbers to provide you with a most likely scenario or an assumption of network health. If New Relic tells you that you have 3.41 million page views on a browser, you can go into each specific page view to see who the visitor was, from where he or she came, the page load time, and the specific URL for all 3.41 million pages.
For an immediate view of where transactions are failing, you can click onto any of your charts and hover over a specific data point to get a brief overview of where the problem is happening. For more in-depth data with the problem step itself, you can click into the data point and see every action within that specific step, as well as how long each action occurred.
Another important element that the New Relic ecosystem provides you with is the ability to compare the app server versus the browser response time. A comprehensive view of both your apps and servers lets you determine if Google Chrome is the reason your page won't load, or if your Amazon Web Server is holding up the process.
If, for some reason, this data isn't enough for you to get your website functioning properly, New Relic's PlugIns page is an app store that has more than 120 public apps you can use to customize ways to tie into your data for enhanced overviews. These apps are free and available to all New Relic customers.
A Major Issue, A Stellar Tool
New Relic Browser isn't ideal for the novice website monitor. If all you want to understand is how your pages are loading and from where your traffic is coming, you'll want to go with SmartBear AlertSite Pro. New Relic's monitoring suite is a monster set of tool for monster tasks, but that's also what's great about it. New Relic offers a seemingly limitless treasure trove of data that you can use to manage uptime, improve website performance, and streamline your app processes, from the app to the browser to the server. You can dig deeper into your data to access the problem code and make changes directly within the system.
If you've tied New Relic Browser into your entire New Relic ecosystem, you can control your entire website, network, and app architecture within one nifty and exhaustive dashboard. If your team is capable of monitoring, processing, and taking action on mountains of information, New Relic's ecosystem is ideal for your organization.
Juan Martinez is PCMag's Senior Editor, Business. His work and commentary has been featured on ESPN.com, NBCNews.com, FoxBusiness.com, Entrepreneur, Reuters TV, Esquire.com, Publishers Weekly, ClickZ, ZDNet, TechRepublic, TechRadar, Content Marketing Institute, CRM Magazine and Direct Marketing News. He has a master's degree in creative writing from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree from Bard College. Prior to PCMag, Juan was the Senior Editor of TechRadar Pro, and a Technology Editor at CBS Interactive. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow Juan on Twitter at @jrobertmartinez…. More »
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