How to monitor a website for design & code changes and catch security/defacement issues - AlertBits

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How to monitor a website for design & code changes and catch security/defacement issues

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AlertBits Team  •  15 May 2023

Electronic and tech parts

In the current age, websites are being updated constantly...

High-frequency updates and deployments are continuously changing the design, layout, content, and code of a site.

And if you manage a website or a web application, then you need to stay on top of all these changes to make sure the site looks and works the way it should.

And you need to do this around the clock.

Not to mention, if any security issues, bugs, or coding errors go live, you need to be aware of that.

Downtime and unavailability problems need to be monitored as well.

And alongside all of this, there are hackers who might target your site for defacement attacks.

So the question is: how can you monitor a website so that you're aware of any design, code, security, or defacement issues?

And how can you do this automatically, so that you don't lose your sanity?

In this article, I'm going to show you exactly that.

You can also monitor websites to track your competitors, SEO, rankings & reviews.

For more info on that, check out this article: How to track your competitors, SEO, rankings, and reviews.

But first, why is website tracking important?

Why monitor design and code changes?

As you already know, websites have become incredibly important in the digital age.

Visitors, customers, clients, and prospects all interact with a brand through its website.

A brand's reputation and image are closely tied to its website.

So a successful, thriving organization must make sure that its website always looks and works the way people expect.

And that any security issues, bugs, downtime, or cyber-attacks are resolved as quickly as possible so as to minimize disruption.

Any significant bugs, issues, or downtime directly results in visitors, leads, and sales lost.

So website issues carry with them a major cost, leading to wasted time, money, and resources, slower growth, and worse ROI (return-on-investment).

So as websites and web apps are updated, you'll want to keep track of the design, code, and content changes, at all times.

This will allow you to detect and subsequently fix the issues quicker, minimizing disruption and maximizing customer happiness and business growth.

Okay so, monitoring a website to make sure it looks and works properly is critical...

...but with so many frequent changes and deployments, how can you keep track of it?

Manually checking websites would be a boring, slow, and tiring process.

That's where an automatic website change monitoring & alerts tool (like AlertBits!) comes in very handy.

With automatic change tracking, you'll save a lot of time & costs.

And you can be more productive with your valuable time.

So a simple, free tool like AlertBits can make your life & job a lot easier.

And on a paid AlertBits plan, you'll likely get a huge ROI compared to the time saved.

If you're still not convinced, we have a quick ROI calculator that you can check out right here:

Okay, now that you know the benefits and importance of website change tracking, let's dive into how you can actually monitor changes...

How to monitor website design, code & content changes

Design changes

The first thing you might want to track is design and visual layout changes.

If you're using a tool like AlertBits, it's simple:

First, specify the URL of the website.

Then, to track design changes, you can use the "Visual Tracking" option.

Visual Tracking monitors changes to a website's visual appearance, e.g. what the website looks like on a user's browser.

So if the design, layout, or appearance of the website's user-facing front-end changes, you'll be notified and alerted of the changes.

You can choose to either monitor the entire webpage for changes; or specify a certain cropped area and only changes to that area will be tracked.

You can also specify a minimum amount of difference (e.g. 10%, 20%, 40%) that needs to be detected before you'll be alerted.

Code & content changes

Other times you might want to monitor changes to the HTML source code or the text content of a website.

For that purpose, AlertBits provides "Element Tracking".

With Element Tracking, you can again choose to monitor either the entire webpage; or a specific HTML element.

Whatever option you choose, you'll be notified when the HTML source code changes by a specified minimum amount (e.g. 1%, 5%, 20%).

Or, instead of source code changes, you can be alerted when the text content changes by a minimum trigger amount.

You can also track an element's visual changes, or choose more specific conditions that you want to be alerted for (such as when a number on the webpage goes above a certain amount).

Keyword changes

In other instances, you may only want to be alerted when a certain word or phrase appears on (or is removed from) a website.

For those cases, AlertBits has "Keyword Tracking".

Here you can specify which keywords you're interested in, and you'll be notified if those words are found on or removed from a website.

Lastly, there's also "API Tracking" which allows you to monitor changes to the JSON response of a back-end API.

How to monitor website security & defacement issues

A website's security issues or bugs can be easily tracked as well.

With AlertBits, you can either use Visual or Element tracking (depending on the specific scenario) to track one or multiple pages of a website for security issues, leaked sensitive information, bugs, or errors.

You can apply a similar strategy for monitoring defacement or other cyber attacks.

Most defacement attacks will be on the homepage of a website and will likely cause significant design or visual changes.

General website uptime and availability can also be tracked with Visual or Element tracking, so you'll be notified quickly if your website goes down.

Prompt and timely alerts will allow you to detect any of these issues faster and thus get them fixed as soon as possible.


So, to wrap it up, making sure your website looks and works properly is very important.

But you don't have to go through the frustration of manually checking a website every day.

You can use free tools like AlertBits to automatically monitor changes and be alerted.

You can monitor the whole webpage or a specific area/element.

And you can track design/layout, code, and content changes.

This allows you to detect security problems, bugs, defacement, downtime, and other issues.

Want to know what other valuable data you should track? Read this article: How to supercharge your business growth with website tracking.

And if you want to free up more time and make your life & job easier, sign up for a free AlertBits account here:

Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns, let me know...

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AlertBits Team

AlertBits content and editorial team.

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