free tools to test self-hosted internet services

2020-06-26

Whenever I evaluate a candidate for a new server provider, migrate to one, or explore new services1, I use a series of freely available online tools for many test.

I have noticed that I tend to forget some of these tools or their website. So, I collected them once and for all on this page, for future reference.

Server reachability and global availability.

Propagation of the DNS SOA record for ineed.coffee.

DNS specific utilities

DNSinspect scores for ineed.coffee.

Security specific utilities

HTTP security headers reports for ineed.coffee

Performance specific utilities

GTmetrix Pagespeed and YSLOW scores for a ineed.coffee page with many pictures.

Something critical when you start going down the rabbit hole of server testing.

Never compromise usability of a service for a 10/10 score.

To reach a 100% YSLOW score at GTmetrix, for example, I might have to use some caching policies that would make my website not display properly for some visitors, sometimes. Yet, the page fully loads under two seconds. I do not need a 100% score.

Some complaints from tools might not be what you are looking for. DNSinspect, for example, does not give me a full score. I chose to have my master/primary nameserver, NS1, not to respond to queries from the public, while having all secondary/slave nameservers, NS2 to NS3, respond to public queries. This is a standard practice, but DNSinspect will complain that NS1 does not respond.

Use metrics as coarse indicators of good and bad practice, and stop whenever you can see that everything works just fine.


  1. As an example, right now I am exploring self-hosting of my nameservers. 


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