Networking

How to monitor your servers and desktops from Android with this free app

Network Tools II is a must-have for any network admin, says Jack Wallen. Learn how to use the free Android app for monitoring your servers and desktops.

Image: iStock/panumas nikomkai

Every once in awhile you come across an application that is so impressive, you cannot believe it isn't already wide-spread. This was the case when I stumbled upon Network Tools II. This free app (which does include in-app purchases to extend the feature set) can monitor your servers and desktops to do the following and more:

  • make sure they're up;
  • make sure specific services (such as HTTP, FTP, generic TCP, SMTP, etc.) are running; and
  • run traceroutes on hosts.

It's a tool every network administrator will want to have on their Android device. All of this in one, easy-to-use package.

Installing Network Tools II

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for networking tools II.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by Vladimir Kuts.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Read the permissions listing (if applicable).
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

Once installed, you'll find the launcher for the app on your home screen, or in your App Drawer, or in both spots. Tap the launcher and then swipe through the welcome screens to land on the main window. At the end of the welcome screens you'll find a checkbox to enable the addition of simple demo data. This will add two host entries (one for google.com and the other for android.com); these aren't necessary, but they do at least illustrate how a host is set up.

SEE: Power checklist: Managing and troubleshooting servers (Tech Pro Research)

Setting up a host

Out of the box, the free version of the app only allows you to set up three hosts; if you need more hosts, you'll need to upgrade to the premium version, which costs $4.99. To upgrade, go to Settings | About Application and tap the UPGRADE TO PREMIUM button.

Setting up a host is the first thing you'll want to do. I'll demonstrate using Network Tools II by setting up a web server as a host to have the http service checked. To do this, tap the menu button in the top right of the main window (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Network Tools II running on a Verizon-branded LG G3.

From the sidebar, tap HOST MANAGER and then tap the + button in the upper right corner. In the resulting window (Figure B), fill out the HOST URL or IP ADDRESS and give the host a name.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

Creating a new host that will monitor HTTP.

Since we're going to monitor HTTP, tap the TASKS tab and make sure HTTP is selected from the VERIFY WITH SERVICES drop-down (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Setting up the HTTP check for our new host.

Go through all the options and configure the HTTP check exactly how you want it. For the AT THE TIME drop-down, select either Default, Weekdays, or Weekends (more on that in a moment). On the SWITCHES tab, you can enable/disable scheduled verification, writing history, silent mode, and notifications.

Once you have the host configured to your liking, tap the check mark (which is the save button), and the host is ready to go.

Tweak your time

If you open the sidebar and tap TIME INTERVALS, you can edit the Default, Weekdays, and Weekends entries or create your own entry. From this window (Figure D), tap the entry to be edited and configure it to better fit your needs.

Figure D

Figure D
Image: Jack Wallen

Configuring time intervals to better meet your needs.

Note: The lowest interval you can check is 1 hour. Fortunately, the developer allows you to manually check a host.

Checking hosts

Now let's run our check. From the Sidebar, tap Hosts. At the top of the window, tap the square with the arrow pointing to the upper right corner. From the drop-down, tap Verify All Hosts. This will run the tests for all your hosts. You can then tap one of your hosts to check the results.

My HTTP server initially reported it was down (Figure E). Once I restarted the service, I ran the check again, and HTTP was reported as being up.

Figure E

Figure E
Image: Jack Wallen

Results of the HTTP test on my web server.

A must-have app

There's more you can do with this tool, but what I've illustrated is one of the most important features. Network Tools II should be considered a must-have for any network administrator. It's an outstanding tool that can give you peace of mind or alert you to a downed server.

See also

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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