Question: How do I do website change detection and notification?

cfastie is asking a question about alerts
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by cfastie | March 19, 2018 12:00 | #15972

I live in a town where malathion and permethrin are sprayed in a fog along roads to kill mosquitoes in the summer. They are required to notify the public when they spray, but they do this only by posting on a web page. In order to alert the community that spraying will happen, I would like to monitor this page or maybe one linked there. How can I get an email every time this page is changed? Spraying happens after dark, and the decision to spray might happen late in the day. So I might want to check the page every ten minutes in the afternoon and evening.


Post recovered! Apologies for the trouble!

@warren thanks :) added a bit of info about which is free and a lot more modern than the other solutions suggested (the Discord and Telegram integration is fantastic)

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EDGI has been monitoring federal agency websites for changes or removal of environmental content. There is a little more about that project here, including contact information for the team (you may recognize some names there). @gretchengehrke , do you have any insight/advice for how someone might set up their own monitoring project? In addition, there is something called VisualPing (which I have not used) and good old Google Alerts (try crafting a search for the appearance of specific word or phrase on the page you're monitoring)... it might not be perfect but is worth experimenting with.

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Hi Chris, I believe this software was just soft-launched: it is supposed to monitor sites and notify you of changes. you can do 75 pages for free. I think its mostly for quality assurance of your own websites but from what I could could tell you don't need to own the page to monitor it for changes. I could be wrong though!

Thanks Nick, I just tested fluxguard and it works great. The test was on my own site (they are not spraying for mosquitoes now) but there is no indication that it won't work on any site. I got an email a few minutes after I edited the site. This is exactly what I need and the site seems very smart. I can't wait to alert my neighbors via Twitter!

Whoops, I spoke too soon. The free offer at fluxguard is for "75 pages," but that means checking a page 75 times. So if I check the page every 15 minutes I have to start paying after 19 hours. So I am back on the market for a free service.

Ah, bugger! I'm sorry that didn't work out! This one can check 5 pages every 6 hours. I wonder if you could set it up so it checks the same page every hour by offsetting the check times of a single page across the five free checks. If you and your neighbors wanted to spend a little bit of money during the summer months, I think it could text multiple people at the $9/month range and monitor every 15 mins.

Thanks Nick, The $9/month plan could work. It allows 20k checks per month, or one every 3 minutes which is more than we need. Multiple notification numbers is a plus. The free plan allows only 1000 checks per month, but your idea of offsetting the check times is a great hack. We could check the page once per day, but do it every 30 minutes from 3 PM to 7 PM with eight different "pages" or even eight different accounts.

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Hi @cfastie, I'm not sure when EDGI's software website monitoring software will be available for public use (our developers are working really hard on it!!), but eventually you'll be able to use that. Another monitoring software is Versionista, and it looks like you can monitor up to 5 urls daily for free ( -- scroll down to the third box). Good luck!!!

Thanks Gretchen, I checked out versionista and they will check a site only three times a day. Nick suggested fluxguard which can check every 15 minutes which is more appropriate for my needs. I tried it and got an email when I edited the watched page. So I should be all set.

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It's been 4 years since this post was made and a lot has changed, I would recommend using , it's available as opensource, supports email, Discord, Telegram, and 70+ other notification systems. You can even interact with the browser, login, search etc etc before the change-detection runs, hope it helps and sorry for the bump!

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