AWS, Cloud Computing

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A Guide for Website Monitoring with Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics

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In the fast-paced world of web applications, ensuring your website performs optimally is crucial for delivering a seamless user experience. Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics, with its powerful capabilities, allows you to monitor your website proactively, detect issues, and take immediate action. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to create an Amazon CloudWatch Synthetic Canary, set up monitoring for a testing URL, configure Amazon SNS notifications, and showcase the entire process with screenshots.


Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics is an innovative service by Amazon Web Services designed to revolutionize how organizations monitor and maintain the health of their applications.

It is a powerful tool that empowers you to keep your web applications running smoothly, providing a better user experience. Embrace automated monitoring and stay ahead in website performance and reliability.

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Benefits of Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics

Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics Canary offers several advantages:

  • Proactive Monitoring: Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics Canary proactively monitors your website, alerting you to issues before users notice.
  • Scriptable Tests: You can script tests tailored to your website’s specific functionality and user interactions.
  • Customizable Alerts: Set custom alerting thresholds to receive notifications when your site’s performance deviates from normal.
  • Visual Evidence: Capture and store screenshots to quickly visualize test results and diagnose issues.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with other AWS services like Amazon SNS for alerting.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Creating an Amazon CloudWatch Synthetic Canary

Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics enables you to create automated, scriptable tests, known as canaries, that mimic user interactions with your web applications. Follow these steps to create your first Canary:

  • Sign in to your AWS Management Console using your credentials.
  • Once logged in, locate the Amazon CloudWatch service and select it.
  • In the Amazon CloudWatch dashboard, you’ll find “Synthetics” in the left navigation pane. Click on “Synthetics.”
  • Within the “Synthetics” section, select “Canaries” to manage and configure your canaries.
  • To initiate creating a new Canary, click the “Create Canary” button to start.
  • Configure Canary: Follow the wizard to configure your canary. You’ll need to specify a name, runtime version, and role for your canary.
  • Review and Create: Review your canary’s configuration and click “Create Canary” to finish the setup.

Step 2: Monitoring a Testing URL

Now that you have your Canary, it’s time to monitor a testing URL. This URL represents the webpage or application you want to monitor. Your canary will periodically check this URL and report its status.

  • Configure Test URL: Edit your canary and configure the URL you want to monitor. This could be your homepage, a login page, or any critical part of your website.


  • Set Schedule: Define how often you want your canary to run tests. You can choose intervals that suit your monitoring needs.
  • Set Thresholds: Configure alerting thresholds based on response time or error rates. This allows Amazon CloudWatch to notify you when your website’s performance deviates from the expected.

Step 3: Setting Up Amazon SNS Notifications

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) enables you to receive real-time notifications based on the status of your canary tests. Here’s how to set up Amazon SNS notifications:

  • Create an Amazon SNS Topic: In the AWS Management Console, navigate to Amazon SNS and create a new topic.
  • Subscribe to the Topic: Add your preferred email addresses, phone numbers, or other endpoints to the Amazon SNS topic as subscribers.
  • Configure Canary Alarm: Go back to your Amazon CloudWatch Canary configuration and set up an alarm. Define the conditions under which the alarm should trigger, such as when the canary detects an error or the response time exceeds a certain threshold.
  • Associate the Alarm with Amazon SNS: Link the Amazon CloudWatch alarm to your Amazon SNS topic, ensuring that notifications are sent when the alarm state changes.



Step 4: Demonstrating Failure and Amazon CloudWatch Alarm

To demonstrate the effectiveness of your setup, intentionally create a scenario where your website fails. This could be done by modifying your website to return errors or shutting down essential services.

  • Trigger a Failure: Modify your website to trigger a failure condition that matches the criteria defined in your canary’s alarm configuration.
  • Monitor the Canary: Observe how your canary detects the failure and triggers the Amazon CloudWatch alarm.


  • Receive Notifications: Check your notifications to see that Amazon SNS has alerted you to the issue, including any attached screenshots for visual reference.



In this guide, we’ve walked you through creating an Amazon CloudWatch Synthetic Canary, monitoring a testing URL, configuring Amazon SNS notifications, and capturing screenshots. By following these steps, you can proactively ensure your website’s optimal performance and detect issues.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon CloudWatch Synthetic Canary and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. Can Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics be used for mobile applications and APIs?

ANS: – Yes, Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics can be used for websites and monitoring mobile applications and APIs. It supports API endpoint tests, enabling businesses to monitor the availability and performance of their APIs in addition to web and mobile applications.

2. Is there a cost associated with using Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics?

ANS: – Yes, Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics is a paid service. Costs are associated with the number of canaries you create, the frequency of tests, and the data retention period. Detailed pricing information can be found on the AWS website – Amazon CloudWatch Pricing – Amazon Web Services (AWS)

WRITTEN BY Rohit Lovanshi

Rohit Lovanshi works as a Research Associate (Infra, Migration, and Security Team) at CloudThat. He is AWS Developer Associate certified. He has a positive attitude and works effectively in a team. He loves learning about new technology and trying out different approaches to problem-solving.



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