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Comparison of PRTG vs MRTG & their Differences for Traffic Graphing and Monitoring

pmcomp

Marc Wilson UPDATED: October 12, 2022

The endless debate of which software package is better than the other will never cease to amaze us, but we'd like to bring “PRTG vs MRTG” comparison and debate to halt – as we did here against Nagios.

Each software package has their pro's and con's and at the end of the day, using one or the other will help you get a better understanding of whats going on in your infrastructure and network environment.

Pretty graphs and trends are just the tip of the iceberg when looking at differences of these two software packages as we'll dive deeper into how they each perform crucial network management and monitoring tasks and map those results in a way that is easy to digest and compare to past trends.

For many of us admins and network engineers, seeing pretty graphs helps us visualize what is happening in our networks and triggers us to either troubleshoot certain elements within our infrastructure or plan for future growth by looking at past trends.

Like they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, so lets get into how each system breaks down the graphical representation of our servers, bandwidth usage and much more.

MRTG Screenshot:

As you can see from above, MRTG shows you general graphs of each individual network port you have specified to collect data from.

Pros:

  • Uses a combination of packet sniffing, WMI, and SNMP to report network performance as well as discover new devices
  • Autodiscovery reflects the latest inventory changes almost instantaneously
  • 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 integration
  • Supports a freeware version

Cons:

  • Is a very comprehensive platform with many features and moving parts that require time to learn

PRTG Screenshot:

PRTG on the other hand, gives you a screen to choose any interface from any device you would like to view bandwidth or traffic from quickly and easily.

Pros:

  • Lightweight tools
  • Easy to use – simple installation
  • Includes support for Netflow analysis
  • Offers flexible reporting options

Cons:

  • Interface could use an overhaul
  • Lacks many monitoring features required by larger networks

Some major considerations to take in mind when comparing the two is how comfortable you are with manual edits of configuration files and manually installing, removing and updating files within a Linux based system, considering the fact that MRTG does require Linux if you opt for that version, although it does have a Windows compatible installer as well.

Whichever OS you choose, there will be considerable manual editing of files to configure MRTG properly in order for it to interface with your networked devices.

The upside to all the manual configurations and installation headaches is the Price: FREE.

Although there isn't as much support and community as there used to be, their mailing list and Gitter channel still seem to be alive.

As for PRTG, if your looking for a more streamlined process of installation and Automatic network discovery, this is your ticket.

Migrating away from MRTG has proven to several firms that there is a Cost-of-Ownership cut of 80%, according to several case studies. This could very well be the biggest reason to switch over to a paid solution due to its Enterprise commercial support, Pre-built templates for Hardware, Servers, Switches, Routers and more and the relative easy setup and configuration We've compiled a list of MRTG alternatives for those who are looking for other solutions.

(PRTG is Free up to 100 Sensors and their pricing model is actually very Competitive thereafter – You can Download it Here FREE!)

Here's a Breakdown of the differences between PRTG vs MRTG:

 

PRTG

MRTG

SNMP Monitoring Yes Yes
Monitor Any SNMP Device Yes
(Comes with Pre-Built templates and OID Libraries)
Yes
Network Packet Analyzing &
Sniffing
Yes No
Netflow Analysis and Monitoring Yes No
Network Latency Detection &
Monitoring
Yes No
(Add-on/Plugin Needed)
Bandwidth Classification (By IP, Source, Protocol, etc) Yes No
Custom Scripts/Systems
Monitoring
No
(Add-on/Plugin Needed,
IPCheck Server Monitor)
Yes
Windows Compatibility &
Configuration Wizards
Yes Windows Install 
is very Complex and Add-On  Software needed
OS Support Windows Linux, Netware, Windows
GUI Configuration Yes No
GUI Interface for
Management
Fully Customizable Interface HTML Pages of Graphs
Reporting Tools Yes No
(Additional Software Req.)
Notifications and Alerts Yes
No
(Additional Software Req.)
Support and Maintenance Yes
(Contracts, 1-on-1 Support,
Email Support and Active Forum)
Mailing List & Gitter Chat
Cost Free up to 100 Sensors
(Unlimited Time)
More Pricing for Additional
Sensor Found on their PRICE LIST
Free
Download PRTG Free! MRTG
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