decorative image for blog on php monitoring
July 13, 2023

Why Good PHP Monitoring Matters

PHP Development

Application performance management (APM) allows developers to monitor the performance of their apps and quickly respond to any problems as soon as they arise. This offers more control to developers and ensures that end users have an optimal experience when using an app.

While most companies have some level of application monitoring in place, not all organizations have applied it well. In this blog, we give an overview of the benefits of a good PHP application monitoring strategy, the tools that can be used, and how to get started building out and maintaining an effective PHP monitoring strategy.

Back to top

The Importance of PHP Monitoring

PHP application performance monitoring is important for several reasons (these are just a few of them):

Enhancing User Experience

APM helps to ensure that applications are performing well and meeting user expectations. Slow or poorly performing applications can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among users, which can ultimately impact business revenue and reputation

Improving Application Reliability

APM helps to identify and address issues that may be impacting the reliability of applications. By detecting and resolving issues proactively, APM can help to prevent downtime and ensure that applications are available when they are needed.

Optimizing Resource Utilization

APM provides insights into the resource utilization of applications, which can help organizations to optimize their infrastructure and reduce costs.

Supporting DevOps Practices

APM can be integrated into DevOps workflows to help teams identify and resolve issues quickly. By providing visibility into the performance of applications, APM can help to ensure that changes are made with confidence and that applications are deployed successfully.

Meeting SLAs

APM can help organizations to meet service level agreements (SLAs) by ensuring that applications are performing well and meeting performance targets. 

Back to top

Why PHP Applications Need Monitoring

Every organization should have a well-implemented PHP APM solution for their mission critical PHP apps. This allows DevOps teams (and the organization as a whole) to resolve issues and PHP performance bottlenecks efficiently and reduce Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR).  

This has a substantial impact on the bottom line of the business, as organizations do not have to deal with the unnecessary work involved in maintaining an extensive software analysis group.

In general, monitoring allows insight into application health, by providing notifications when certain conditions occur, such as high CPU usage, high memory usage, slow requests, and more.  

You may either passively get details on events/issues by using the visualizations tools provided by a vendor, or you may setup the delivery of notifications to you actively on the channels of choice (SMS, email, Slack, ticket systems, etc.).

Issue Detection and Debugging

Related to the concept of MTTR, the ability to detect and debug an issue, as close as possible to the initial development phase of the SDLC, is one of the most important features of an APM system.

I order to fulfill the objectives, an enterprise level APM system must provide the capacity to drill down into call stack traces to diagnose performance bottlenecks, auto-discover business transactions, dynamic baselining and code-level diagnostics.  

These functionalities will ensure a rapid issue identification and resolution to maintain an ideal user experience for any mission-critical PHP application, running on-premises or in the cloud.

Performance Optimization

In today’s digital world, faster troubleshooting isn’t enough.  

A great user experience is paramount for the success of a Web application, therefore a valuable APM system must guarantee a large set of data points, as intelligently aggregated as possible, related to areas of the execution that are not performing optimally.

Those areas include:  

  • Scope Analysis of Degradations - Which users are impacted by applications performance issues, for which transactions, when and how often?  
  • Fault Isolation - Identify the infrastructure layer responsible for the application performance degradation across network, endpoint, secured gateway, load balancers, front- and back-end servers) to direct the case to the right team for in-depth root cause analysis and performance management.
  • Root cause analysis - Pinpoint the change, defect or parameter which is creating the slow processing or errors.

Read our article on how to improve PHP performance >>

Security and Vulnerabilities Detection

As your PHP apps succeed and grow, your services scale in number and complexity. This makes it difficult to maintain a rapid pace of innovation while keeping your applications secure.  

It’s particularly challenging to respond to attacks, as DevOps and security teams need to collaborate to understand each attack’s root cause and remediate the vulnerabilities that enabled it.

It becomes paramount to be able to identify risks from known vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and services, assuring that the only attack surface is limited to the proprietary logic developed in-house under the full control of DevOps and security teams.

An APM system can help teams to :

  • Identify services/libraries exposed to security risks
  • Understand those vulnerabilities
  • See which elements have been exposed to attacks
  • Mitigate active threats

Availability and Uptime

Another topic that has great business relevance is app availability, especially for critical PHP apps.

Availability and Uptime must be analyzed ahead of time through the following lenses:  

  • Figure out your SLAs
  • Determine the cost to your business when SLAs are violated in terms of lost revenue, brand antipathy, and even the loss of customer lifetime revenue
  • Make a case for the ‘Line of Business’ decision makers

A state-of-the-art APM must be able to feed valuable and unequivocal data towards the analysis mentioned above, facilitating data-driven decisions for business leaders.

Back to top

Popular PHP Monitoring Tools and Technologies

The most popular APM solutions, working at the engine level, in the PHP space are the following:


Free or Paid? 


New Relic 


Extension + Agent  

Cloud Based UI 



Extension + Agent 

Local UI 



Extension + Agent 

Cloud Based UI 



Local UI 


Free OSS 

Generic monitoring and alerting toolkit 

Local Grafana UI 

The above-mentioned solutions have various degrees of complexity in terms of installation and use, with ZendHQ being the easiest of the lot, while Prometheus is the most complex to be fully actionable.  

There are more tools for PHP execution monitoring out there, with PHP sometimes being one of the supported technologies within a plethora of others.

See ZendHQ in Action

ZendHQ makes PHP monitoring, debugging, and orchestration a breeze. See details, or schedule a personalized demo for your team today via the links below.

Explore ZendHQSchedule a Demo

Back to top

Picking the Right PHP Monitoring Tool for Your Needs

Once you understand your needs, and the tools at your disposal, the next step is picking a monitoring solution for your PHP applications. 

It is important to emphasize some processes related characteristics an APM solution must unequivocally satisfy: 

  1. Easy to install in all its components 
  1. Easy to integrate in DevOps pipelines, bringing added value to such processes 
  1. Enhancing the development experience as well (improving quality of first commit) 
  1. High degree of configurability in order to tailor the various APM features exactly to the needs of an application 
  1. Easy visualization of actionable data 

From our experience, once a solution satisfies these characteristics, the criteria to apply for a definitive decision involve the following parameters: 

  • Pricing 
  • Requirement is to monitor just PHP execution or also other technologies are part of the stack to be monitored  
  • The solution fits in with our existing processes and already existing observability tools 
  • The way PHP apps are deployed and consumed by the end users are not challenged by the introduction of an APM solution
Back to top

How to Integrate Monitoring In Your PHP Application

For existing PHP applications, especially when the requirement is limited to production environments, the best way to achieve full execution observability is to install a solution that just require an extension (and maybe an agent), so that after that every request is completely monitored (may require a bit of configuration work to tailor events generation the notifications).

It is advisable to have also the entire SDLC (development, pipelines, staging, etc...) covered by the observability solution, with a system able to give added value to such phases with inherent data and an agile feedback loop.

When starting a project from scratch, following the 12 factors application paradigm, including full observability in all its layers (PHP execution, admin processes, concurrency, etc...), should be part of the planning from the beginning. 

In such situations, a more comprehensive approach can be envisioned (even adding some infrastructural complexity). This allows teams to achieve a completely monitored SDLC where integration features (webhooks, code events, traces, etc.) have an incredible importance in shaping the perfect design, capable of making every critical piece of proprietary logic entirely observable with the best actionable data effectively fitting the internal decision-making processes.

Back to top

Final Thoughts 

In summary, a good PHP monitoring strategy can pay dividends for many organizations. By making it easier to continuously improve user experience, optimize performance, and improve security, a well-applied PHP monitoring strategy can make the SDLC (and decision-making process) more efficient and ultimately more effective.

That said, it's important to get it right. Choosing the right tool and deploying it to its full benefit is critical to achieving the benefits described above.

Exploring Your PHP Monitoring Options? 

Try ZendHQ for Free Today

ZendHQ is now free to try as part of a ZendPHP trial. Get details on ZendHQ and the ZendPHP trial via the links below.

Explore ZendHQ See ZendPHP Trial Details

Additional Resources 

Back to top