The realm of Network Monitoring Tools, Software, and Vendors is Huge, to say the least. New software, tools, and utilities are being launched almost every year to compete in an ever-changing marketplace of IT monitoring, server monitoring, and system monitoring software.
We're now in the new decade and as we're looking into the year, you absolutely need a solution that fits all your criteria!
We've gone through as many tools as we could find and rounded up the best ones in an easy-to-read format and highlighted their main strengths and why we think they are in the top class of tools to use in your IT infrastructure and business.
Here is our list of the top network monitoring tools:
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor – EDITOR'S CHOICE A collection of monitoring tools and many of those are network monitors. Runs on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL The leading network monitoring system that uses SNMP to check on network device statuses. This monitoring tool includes autodiscovery that compiles an asset inventory and automatically draws up a network topology map. Runs on Windows Server. Start 30-day free trial.
- Auvik – FREE TRIAL This is a cloud-based system that is able to unify the monitoring of many networks and includes many automated services. Get a 14-day free trial.
- Datadog Network Monitoring – FREE TRIAL Provides good visibility over each of the components of your network and the connections between them – be it cloud, on-premises or hybrid environment. Troubleshoot infrastructure, apps and DNS issues effortlessly.
- ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL An SNMP-based network monitor that has great network topology layout options, all based on an autodiscovery process. Installs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Progress WhatsUp Gold – FREE TRIAL An SNMP-based network monitor that can be expanded by buying add-ons to monitor other infrastructure. Installs on Windows Server.
- Site24x7 Network Monitoring – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications. This tool monitors both physical and virtual resources.
- Atera – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based package of remote monitoring and management tools that include automated network monitoring and a network mapping utility.
- Domotz – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based package of network monitoring and management tools that also offers a multi-tenant architecture that is suitable for use by managed service providers.
- Nagios XI An extensible infrastructure monitor, based on the free Nagios Core, that has thousands of free plugins available. Runs on Linux.
- Zabbix A free monitoring system that covers networks, servers, and applications. Available for Linux, macOS, and Unix.
- Incinga 2 Developed from a fork of Nagios Core, this free infrastructure monitor will also take plugins written for Nagios. Installs on Linux.
- ConnectWise Automate A competent infrastructure monitoring system that includes many task automation tools. Installs on Windows Server.
- LogicMonitor A cloud-based infrastructure monitor that can supervise on-premises networks and cloud resources.
- Op5 Monitor Very scalable and free to use for up to 20 devices
Desirable Network Monitoring Tool Features
Some of the features we are looking for are Uptime/Downtime indicators, along with robust and thorough alerting systems (via Email/SMS), custom templates and thresholds, NetFlow and SNMP Integration, Automatic Network Topology Discovery and Mapping functionality, and much more.
The features from above were all major points of interest when evaluating software suites for this article and we'll try to keep this article as updated as possible with new feature sets and improvements as they are released, as newer versions of the tools below will likely be released throughout the years.
Related Post: Best Hardware Monitoring Software & Tools
What should you look for in network monitoring tools?
We reviewed the market for network monitoring software and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:
- An automated service that can perform network monitoring unattended
- A device discovery routine that automatically creates an asset inventory
- A network mapping service that shows live statuses of all devices
- Alerts for when problems arise
- The ability to communicate with network devices through SNMP
- A free trial or a demo for a no-cost assessment
- Value for money in a package that provides monitoring for all network devices at a reasonable price
With these selection criteria in mind, we have defined a shortlist of suitable network monitoring tools for all operating systems.
The Top Network Monitoring Tools and Software
Below you'll find an updated list of the Latest Tools & Software to ensure your network is continuously tracked and monitored at all times of the day to ensure the highest up-times possible. Most of them have free Downloads or Trials to get you started for 15 to 30 days to ensure it meets your requirements.
PRTG Network Monitor software is commonly known for its advanced infrastructure management capabilities. All devices, systems, traffic, and applications in your network can be easily displayed in a hierarchical view that summarizes performance and alerts. PRTG monitors the entire IT infrastructure using technology such as SNMP, WMI, SSH, Flows/Packet Sniffing, HTTP requests, REST APIs, Pings, SQL, and a lot more.
It is one of the best choices for organizations with low experience in network monitoring software. The user interface is really powerful and very easy to use.
A very particular feature of PRTG is its ability to monitor devices in the data center with a mobile app. A QR code that corresponds to the sensor is printed out and attached to the physical hardware. The mobile app is used to scan the code and a summary of the device is displayed on the mobile screen.
- Autodiscovery that creates and maintains a device inventory
- Live network topology maps are available in a range of formats
- Monitoring for wireless networks as well as LANs
- Multi-site monitoring capabilities
- SNMP sensors to gather device health information
- Ping to check on device availability
- Optional extra sensors to monitor servers and applications
- System-wide status overviews and drill-down paths for individual device details
- A protocol analyzer to identify high-traffic applications
- A packet sniffer to collect packet headers for analysis
- Color-coded graphs of live data in the system dashboard
- Capacity planning support
- Alerts on device problems, resource shortages, and performance issues
- Notifications generated from alerts that can be sent out by email or SMS
- Available for installation on Windows Server or as a hosted cloud service
PRTG has a very flexible pricing plan, to get an idea visit their official pricing webpage below.
- Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance data
- Fully customizable dashboard is great for both lone administrators as well as NOC teams
- Drag and drop editor makes it easy to build custom views and reports
- Supports a wide range of alert mediums such as SMS, email, and third-party integrations into platforms like Slack
- Each sensor is specifically designed to monitor each application, for example, there are prebuilt sensors whose specific purpose is to capture and monitor VoIP activity
- Supports a freeware version
- Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn
Paessler PRTG is our top choice for a network monitoring system because it is a flexible package of sensors that you can tailor to your own needs by deciding which monitors to activate. The SNMP-based network performance monitoring routines include an autodiscovery system that generates a network asset inventory and topology maps. You can also activate traffic monitoring features that can communicate with switches through NetFlow, sFlow, J-Flow, and IPFIX. QoS and NBAR features enable you to keep your time-sensitive applications working properly.
Official Site: https://www.paessler.com/download/prtg-download?download=1
OS: Windows Server
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor is easy to setup and can be ready in no time. The tool automatically discovers network devices and deploys within an hour. Its simple approach to oversee an entire network makes it one of the easiest to use and most intuitive user interfaces.
The product is highly customizable and the interface is easy to manage and change very quickly. You can customize the web-based performance dashboards, charts, and views. You can design a tailored topology for your entire network infrastructure. You can also create customized dependency-aware intelligent alerts and much more.
The software is sold by separate modules based on what you use. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor Price starts from $1,995 and is a one-time license including 1st-year maintenance.
SolarWinds NPM has an Extensive Feature list that make it One of the Best Choices for Network Monitoring Solutions
- Automatically Network Discovery and Scanning for Wired and Wifi Computers and Devices
- Support for Wide Array of OEM Vendors
- Forecast and Capacity Planning
- Quickly Pinpoint Issues with Network Performance with NetPath™ Critical Path visualization feature
- Easy to Use Performance Dashboard to Analyze Critical Data points and paths across your network
- Robust Alerting System with options for Simple/Complex Triggers
- Monitor CISCO ASA networks with their New Network Insight™ for CISCO ASA
- Monitor ACL‘s, VPN, Interface and Monitor on your Cisco ASA
- Monitor Firewall rules through Firewall Rules Browser
- Hop by Hop Analysis of Critical Network Paths and Components
- Automatically Discover Networks and Map them along with Topology Views
- Manage, Monitor and Analyze Wifi Networks within the Dashboard
- Create HeatMaps of Wifi Networks to pin-point Wifi Dead Spots
- Monitor Hardware Health of all Servers, Firewalls, Routers, Switches, Desktops, laptops and more
- Real-Time Network and Netflow Monitoring for Critical Network Components and Devices
- Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
- Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
- Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
- Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
- Tons of preconfigured templates, reports, and dashboard views
- This is a feature-rich enterprise tool designed for sysadmin, non-technical users may some features overwhelming
At its core, ManageEngine OpManager is infrastructure management, network monitoring, and application performance management “APM” (with APM plug-in) software.
When it comes to network management tools, this product is well balanced when it comes to monitoring and analysis features.
The solution can manage your network, servers, network configuration, and fault & performance; It can also analyze your network traffic. To run Manage Engine OpManager, it must be installed on-premises.
A highlight of this product is that it comes with pre-configured network monitor device templates. These contain pre-defined monitoring parameters and intervals for specific device types.
The essential edition product can be purchased for $595 which allows up to 25 devices.
- Includes server monitoring as well as network monitoring
- Autodiscovery function for automatic network inventory assembly
- Constant checks on device availability
- A range of network topology map options
- Automated network mapping
- Performs an SNMP manager role, constantly polling for device health statuses
- Receives SNMP Traps and generates alerts when device problems arise
- Implements performance thresholds and identifies system problems
- Watches over resource availability
- Customizable dashboard with color-coded dials and graphs of live data
- Forwards alerts to individuals by email or SMS
- Available for Windows Server and Linux
- Can be enhanced by an application performance monitor to create a full stack supervisory system
- Free version available
- Distributed version to supervise multiple sites from one central location
- Designed to work right away, features over 200 customizable widgets to build unique dashboards and reports
- Leverages autodiscovery to find, inventory, and map new devices
- Uses intelligent alerting to reduce false positives and eliminate alert fatigue across larger networks
- Supports email, SMS, and webhook for numerous alerting channels
- Integrates well in the ManageEngine ecosystem with their other products
- Is a feature-rich tool that will require a time investment to properly learn
Start 30-day free trial – Download Link:
WhatsUp Gold from Progress Software Corporation uses the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to track the performance of networks. SNMP agents on each switch and router prepare a status report and update it constantly, waiting for a request from an SNMP manager. The only problem is that regular operating systems don’t include an SNMP manager. WhatsUp Gold provides that function.
This monitoring tool sends out regular broadcasts, asking for status reports, which are called MIBs. Each device agent responds to the request and then WhatsUp Gold compiles the results it receives. This mechanism tells the monitoring system exactly what devices are out there and which other devices each is connected to. This information is constantly refreshed, so WhatsUp Gold is able to maintain an up-to-date network inventory. The service also automatically draws up a network topology map based on the live updates to the network inventory.
A device agent will send a Trap message if it identifies a problem with the piece of equipment that it is monitoring. WhatsUp Gold interprets this into an alert. Network administrators can ignore the monitoring console and let WhatsUp Gold watch over everything. This is because they will be notified if anything goes wrong.
WhatsUp Gold installs on Windows Server. This software comes with different pricing plans to adjust to your network and wallet.
- Acts as an SNMP manager
- Automated self-setup discovers all devices connected to the network
- Provides an automatically generated network map
- Includes live performance data on network devices
- Creates charts and graph of time-series data on recent device history
- Displays a network summary, showing overall statuses at a glance
- Support capacity planning with top traffic generators and trend analysis
- Covers wireless networks as well as LANs
- Includes log management functions
- Generates alerts when device issues arise
- Monitors cloud resources and storage devices
- Can be enhanced by add-ons to monitor bandwidth, virtualizations, applications
- A configuration add-on is available
- Available in a multi-tenanted version for MSPs
- An option of distributed monitoring to supervise many sites from a central location
- Uses simple visualizations to help provide at-a-glance insights
- Supports modular pricing, allowing companies to pay only for features they intend to use
- Can monitor LANs, WANs, and cloud-based applications such as container environments
- Formatting for text alerts can use improvement
- Modular upgrades might not be a good fit if you intend on utilizing all aspects of a networking monitor
More information and a 14-day free trial link on the official website:
More Information and Official Website:
Site24x7 is a monitoring service that covers networks, servers, and applications. The network monitoring service in this package starts off by exploring the network for connected devices. IT logs its findings in a network inventory and draws up a network topology map.
The Network Monitor uses procedures from the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to poll devices every minute for status reports. Any changes in the network infrastructure that are revealed by these responses update the inventory and topology map.
The results of the device responses are interpreted into live data in the dashboard of the monitor. The dashboard is accessed through any standard browser and its screens can be customized by the user.
The SNMP system empowers device agents to send out a warning without waiting for a request if it detects a problem with the device that it is monitoring. Site24x7 Infrastructure catches these messages, which are called Traps, and generates an alert. This alert can be forwarded to technicians by SMS, email, voice call, or instant messaging post.
The Network Monitor also has a traffic analysis function. This extracts throughput figures from switches and routers and displays data flow information in the system dashboard. This data can also be used for capacity planning.
- A hosted cloud-based service that includes CPU time and performance data storage space
- Can unify the monitoring of networks on site all over the world
- Uses SNMP to check on device health statuses
- Gives alerts on resource shortages, performance issues, and device problems
- Generates notifications to forward alerts by email or SMS
- Root cause analysis features
- Autodiscovery for a constantly updated network device inventory
- Automatic network topology mapping
- Includes internet performance monitoring for utilities such as VPNs
- Specialized monitoring routines for storage clusters
- Monitors boundary and edge services, such as load balancers
- Offers overview and detail screens showing the performance of the entire network and also individual devices
- Includes network traffic flow monitoring
- Facilities for capacity planning and bottleneck identification
- Integrates with application monitoring services to create a full stack service
- One of the most holistic monitoring tools available, supporting networks, infrastructure, and real user monitoring in a single platform
- Uses real-time data to discover devices and build charts, network maps, and inventory reports
- Is one of the most user-friendly network monitoring tools available
- User monitoring can help bridge the gap between technical issues, user behavior, and business metrics
- Supports a freeware version for testing
- Is a very detailed platform that will require time to fully learn all of its features and options
Site24x7 costs $9 per month when paid annually. It is available for a free trial.
More Information and Official Website:
Free Trial Download Link:
Atera is a package software that was built for managed service providers. It is a SaaS platform and it includes professional service automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM) systems.
The network monitoring system operates remotely through an agent that installs on Windows Server. The agent enables the service to scour the network and identify all of the network devices that run it. This is performed using SNMP, with the agent acting as the SNMP Manager.
The SNMP system enables the agent to spot Traps, which warn of device problems. These are sent to the Atera network monitoring dashboard, where they appear as alerts. Atera offers an automated topology mapping service, but this is an add-on to the main subscription packages.
- Remote automated network discovery
- Network performance monitoring with SNMP
- Alerts for notified device problems
- Also includes remote system management tools
- Scalable pricing with three plan levels
- 30-day free trial
- Network mapping costs extra
Domotz is a SaaS platform that implements network monitoring services and also offers system management and workload automation utilities.
The Domotz monitoring system is based on the Simple Network Management Protocol and other network protocols. This convention enables the service to scan a network and identify the characteristics of all connected devices, creating an IT asset inventory. The Domotz system draws up a network map from the data it stores in its inventory. Both the inventory and map get updated every time an SNMP report comes in. That SNMP response also provides information on network problems, which get interpreted into status alerts.
The data that Domotz collects is stored as well as displayed. This creates a record of historical performance that can be used for demand analysis and capacity planning. Users of the system get individual accounts, each is protected by access credentials. This enables each action that is implemented on the system to be attributed to a specific user. The accountability that this control provides creates accountability and reduces carelessness and fraud.
- SNMP-based network performance monitoring
- Autodiscovery, an asset inventory, and automated network mapping
- Switch port mapping and activity tracking
- Capacity planning services
- Bottleneck identification
- No endpoint agent for macOS
There are two plans for Domotz: Pro and Enterprise. The Pro plan is priced month-to-month at $21 per site per month with no commitment or prepayment and no lock-in period. This price is universal and allows unlimited endpoints and users on each monitored network. The tool also offers 500 integrations to third-party systems free of charge. A higher plan, called Enterprise offers higher capacity and top-grade support for a custom price. You can test the system on a 14-day free trial.
10. Nagios XI
Nagios XI is aimed at a wide audience, from freelancers, SMBs (Small-to-Medium-Business), to large corporations. This makes Nagios’s XI pricing model one of the most flexible. They have a free version, open-source, one-time license and subscription. It is one of the few tools that allows an extreme flexibility (because of its adaptability to plug-ins) on what’s being monitored and alerted for a low cost.
Nagios XI focuses on monitoring. The key IT components that Nagios XI monitors are Network, Infrastructure, and Database. Although the software is easy to install, it will initially take some time to adjust to your requirements. This is because Nagios XI does not auto-discover devices. You have to configure each device that needs to be monitored with a configuration file.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Simple, yet informative interface
- Flexible alerting options support SMS and email
- Robust API backend makes it a great option for developers who want to integrate their own custom applications
- Open-source version lacks quality support found in paid products
- Installation can be technical and complex
Standard paid edition starts from $1,995 for 100 nodes. Nagios XI is supported only by Linux (or UNIX variants) OS.
Zabbix is an open source monitoring tool. It is popular for its easy-to-use and pleasing Web GUI that is fully configurable. Zabbix focuses on monitoring and trending functionality. This software is frequently used for monitoring servers and network hardware. One of the highlights of Zabbix is that it can predict trends in your traffic. Zabbix can forecast future behavior based on historical data.
Since it is open source, it has an active user community spread around the world and good documentation. Zabbix gives the freedom to use the open-source solution without vendor lock-ins (including all components).
Zabbix is powerful for SMB networks below 1,000 nodes. Over that, the software can get slower and its performance decreased. Another disadvantage is that it doesn’t include real-time tests and reports.
- Open-source transparent tool
- Uses both SNMP and ICMP for a broader monitoring range
- Can detect new devices and configuration changes immediately
- Offers useful templates for quick insights
- Robust notification system supports SMS, email, custom script, and webhook
- The interface isn’t as intuitive as solutions such as DataDog or Site24x7
- Would like to see better-alerting features, specifically related to reducing false positives
It is another open source infrastructure and service monitoring tool. Icinga was developed in 2009 by the same team of developers that brought you Nagios.
It is a very easy to use and flexible tool for SMB and enterprise networks. The software focuses strongly on monitoring infrastructure and services. The tool also includes great threshold analysis and report/alert functionalities.
Icinga is popular at providing superior altars and reports of the general health of your IT infrastructure. All alert dependencies can be displayed in the dashboard and sent via email, SMS or mobile message applications.
Since Icinga is open source it is completely free. With its strong community forum, you can get all the support you need.
- Transparent open-source tool
- Can be configured via GUI or DSL, making it a good choice for admins who enjoy CLI tools
- Supports built-in visual reporting
- Modules allow for different functionality, keeping the base installation sleek and lightweight
- Can run on Linux as well as Windows operating systems
- Reliant upon the open-source community for support and updates
- Designed for more technical users, other options have better out-of-box features
Related Post: Best Open Source Network Monitoring Software
13. ConnectWise Automate
Formerly known as Labtech, ConnectWise Automate is a new cloud-based manager and monitoring solution that can keep track of your IT infrastructure devices from a single location.
ConnectWise Automate discovers all devices in your network so they can be monitored proactively. The network visibility is improved because the tool interprets problems and initiates an automatic pre-defined action to mitigate the issue.
A cool feature of this software is the “Patch Management”, as it allows you to protect all your systems with simultaneous patching from a centralized manager. Use Windows Patch management or third-party software.
By extending the ConnectWise suite, the software can also allow a premier remote control. You can resolve issues quickly by allowing remote support, remote access and even remote meetings.
ConnectWise Automate is aimed at SMBs. The price of the software is based on quotes. You can get a price on their official site tailored accordingly to the size of your network.
- Great for MSPs, or large multi-site networks
- Integrates well into the ConnectWise ecosystem with tools such as ConnectWise Control
- Can be used as an all-in-one tool for RMM, inventory management, and PSA
- Automation features are not user-friendly and can require the aid of a ConnectWise professional
- Dashboard features are lacking and difficult to customize
- Steep learning curve when compared to competing tools
14. Logic Monitor
LogicMonitor is an automated SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) IT performance monitoring tool. With LogicMonitor you can get full visibility of the performance and health of your network.
This software will automatically discover IT infrastructure devices and monitor them proactively. Besides from extraordinary monitoring capabilities, the software also improves the performance and health of your network. LogicMonitor can help identify incoming issues by providing predictive alters and trend analysis.
Logic Monitor is popular because it comes with a highly customizable dashboard, alerts, and reports. The software supports over 1000 different technologies, including hybrid cloud monitoring and networking devices, in order to provide granular performance metrics.
- Monitors application performance via the cloud
- Can monitor assets in hybrid cloud environments
- The dashboard can be customized and saved, great for different NOC teams or individual users
- The trial is only 14 days, would like to see a longer testing period
To get a price you can request a quote from LogicMonitor’s official pricing site.
15. OP5 Monitor
OP5 Monitor is OP5’s Enterprise level monitoring solution. With OP5 Monitor you can monitor applications, networks, servers and storage, regardless of location, whether that’s on-premise, hybrid or in a private/public cloud.
OP5 Monitor is also Nagios compatible, meaning that it’s easy to migrate from Nagios and re-use existing agents and plugins.
Key features include:
- Unified Dashboard – Fully customizable and interactive dashboards
- Scalability- Unparalleled Scalability across Distributed Environments
- Automation – Endless Possibilities To Automate
- API- Developer Friendly Interface
- SNMP Traps – Read, process and generate alerts from SNMP traps
- Reporting – Custom, SLA- reports and network availability reports.
OP5 Monitor is free for up to 20 devices, and has a pricing plan based on your specific requirements.
Network Monitoring FAQ
How do I choose network monitoring tools?
Look for a network performance monitor that uses SNMP to gather device statuses. Also, use a bandwidth analyzer that can communicate with the brand of switches that you have on your network.
How do I monitor everything on my network?
It is impossible to manually watch the statuses of every device on your network around the clock so you have to get an automated network monitoring tool. Get a system that uses performance thresholds and raises alerts if these are crossed. Systems that forward alerts to you by email or SMS let you assume everything is OK with network performance unless you are notified otherwise. These monitoring features will take care of the network and allow you to safely pay attention to other tasks.
How can network monitoring software help me to optimize my network infrastructure?
Network monitoring software will help you to optimize network infrastructure because it records activity around the clock, identifying overloaded devices without the need for you to sit and watch live events. Records of device performance let you plan better usage of your network and either remap devices or implement traffic shaping measures so that you can get the best value out of your existing infrastructure without having to buy extra equipment.
What are the best programming languages for network monitoring?
A busy stems administrator doesn’t have time to write programs for network monitoring. So, the best tools for network monitoring are systems that include a utility for ad-hoc queries rather than full, standalone programs. If you want to run off quick system queries, try PowerShell on Windows or Bash on Linux.