If you are a developer in the market for a trusty error and performance monitoring tool, Airbrake could be the perfect fit. To help you learn more about Airbrake and decide if it is suitable for your development needs, we will dissect the software in terms of its features, pros and cons, and pricing.
What Is Airbrake?
Airbrake is a highly-regarded, cloud-based error and application performance monitoring tool (APM) geared toward developers looking to track and diagnose issues with their web applications. If an application detects an error or exception, Airbrake will send an alert to the developer detailing the issue’s location, type, and stack trace. In doing so, developers have a helping hand in identifying and resolving issues, which allows for better application performance and satisfied users.
Who Is Airbrake For?
A quick trip to Airbrake’s website makes it rather obvious who the software is for. The tool was “created by developers for developers,” and it can be beneficial to anyone in the business of creating or maintaining web applications. Whether you are a freelance developer or part of a small startup or large organization, Airbrake’s features can help boost your web applications’ performance and quality.
Developers working with complex web applications with tons of moving parts tend to run into several errors and exceptions. With Airbrake, developers can quickly pinpoint, diagnose, and fix such errors, resulting in a better overall user experience and less downtime.
While Airbrake was made under the philosophy of “by programmers for programmers”, the software can also come in handy for stakeholders, such as project managers, system administrators, and quality assurance teams in charge of ensuring that web applications perform as they should.
What makes Airbrake so popular for error and application performance monitoring? The fact that it offers so many features for developers, such as:
- Support for most programming languages and frameworks
- Real-time error alerts
- Application performance monitoring
- Third-party integrations
Since Airbrake was made by developers, you can imagine that its user interface is pretty intuitive and user-friendly for those with some technical knowledge. The more popular the framework you are using, the easier the setup, and you can install Airbrake and get going within a matter of minutes. And, besides being easy to install and configure, Airbrake is lightweight and easy to maintain.
Programming Language and Framework Support
Airbrake offers real-time error alerts, groups errors, and tells devs what line of code is problematic so they can fix issues without having to waste time guessing or tracking down errors. Its hotspots and insights features flag risky files and errors for an extra layer of monitoring. What can such features result in? According to some developers, Airbrake’s error monitoring and identification/isolation of issues have helped them slash their error response times in half.
Although some may say that error monitoring is Airbrake’s bread and butter, many developers use the tool for application performance monitoring. In doing so, they can gain insight and understand how their code is performing to see if it is providing the intended user experience. Examples of performance metrics measured by Airbrake include response times, total requests and request rates, user satisfaction, and error rates. User satisfaction is supplied through an Apdex score, and developers can use that to see who is satisfied/tolerating/frustrated with the application.
Airbrake integrates with some of developers’ top-used tools for added functionality. Some examples of Airbrake’s third-party integrations include Bitbucket, GitHub, GitLab, Jira, Slack, Trello, and Webhooks.
Benefits Of Airbrake
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Airbrake is that the tool helps developers spot errors in real-time that could slip through the cracks. By quickly specifying which line of code is causing issues, developers can attack problems head-on and get them fixed fast before customers discover them. Other benefits of Airbrake include:
- Customizable notifications and alerts
- Developers can incorporate popular developer tools, increasing code efficiency
- Get real-time performance analytics to help customer retention, bug tracking, and response times
Beyond that significant benefit, Airbrake is also highly configurable regarding notifications and more, and it has plenty of integrations to extend its already impressive functionality. Most report that Airbrake is easy to use and install, especially when using more popular frameworks like Python. And if you need to keep an eye on performance, Airbrake excels there, too, with metrics on user satisfaction, response times, HTTP requests, and more.
Disadvantages Of Airbrake
While Airbrake is easy to use overall and simple to set up with more popular web frameworks, some complain that it could be a bit more challenging to get started with lesser-known frameworks. Its dashboard could also be intimidating should a non-technical user, such as a project manager, get tasked with using the software.
Other disadvantages of Airbrake include:
- Limited integrations
- Debugging reports could use more details
- Lesser known frameworks can be difficult to configure
Airbrake could also use more integrations, although those will probably expand in the future. And, in terms of error reporting, some added details on issues would be a welcome addition to make the debugging process even easier. Lastly, Airbrake’s pricing plans are somewhat limited. You have the basic free option, but from there, the tool jumps significantly in price to $19 and $38 for its two premium offerings. Some more pricing tiers (along with increased error limits) may be able to attract developers working on a limited budget.
Airbrake Pricing: How Much Does Airbrake Cost?
Airbrake operates under usage-based pricing, and the company claims that such a setup allows it to be the “most cost-effective error and application performance monitoring tool” on the market. Airbrake has the following pricing tiers:
- Dev: Free for one user, one team, and two projects.
- Basic: $19 per month for up to 10 users, three teams, and 20 projects
- Pro: $38 per month for unlimited users, teams, and projects
Airbrake’s Dev plan is its free forever offering. It lets you get started with error and application performance monitoring at no cost, and you do not have to keep a credit card on file. The Dev plan works for one user, one team, and two projects. With it, you get basic features such as an account dashboard, deploy tracking, unlimited integrations, and advanced search filters. Should you automatically convert to a free forever Dev account after the trial period, you will get 7,500 monthly errors, 50,000 performance events, and a week of data retention.
The cheapest paid plan from Airbrake is the Basic offering, which costs $19 per month. It works for up to 10 users, three teams, and 20 projects. Lastly is the Pro plan from Airbrake, which costs $38 per month and gives developers unlimited users, teams, and projects, plus audit logs and spike forgiveness.
If Airbrake’s prices seem a bit high, know that you can get a 10 percent monthly discount if you opt for annual billing.
Although Airbrake is trusted by over 1,600 organizations for error and performance monitoring, you may want to shop around before picking such a tool for your development needs. Here are some of the top Airbrake alternatives worth considering, which includes:
BugSnag promises to deliver healthier apps with improved performance, resulting in happier users. The full-stack monitoring solution is particularly helpful for Agile teams, and it works with over 50 platforms.
Sentry is a developer-first app monitoring platform with over four million users and 90,000 organizations under its belt. It offers visibility across all platforms, allowing developers to ensure no bugs slip through the cracks.
Raygun offers “x-ray vision into your code” so you can see if your web and mobile apps are up to snuff in terms of performance and user experience. Made for customer-centric teams, developers can use Raygun to discover, replicate, and fix issues faster.
Rollbar is an error monitoring platform with a generous free plan that helps developers pinpoint, predict and fix problems in real-time before their users notice.