How to Setup Quick and Easy Home Lab Monitoring

Have you ever wondered about Home Lab Monitoring, without a massive lift to get it set up? While looking up something for work, I ran across this really cool uptime monitor by Louis Lam. Uptime Kuma might be one of the coolest network monitoring I’ve ever seen. Simple to use and configure, but nonetheless powerful, Uptime Kuma is an awesome tool for tracking what is going on in a network environment. I’m planning on using this in my Home Lab, but it has some really great features for network monitoring. One of the best parts about it, is that it is also works well with Cloudflare Tunnel which we are already familiar with. Let’s take a look at some of the cool features for this easy to configure tool.

DISCLAIMER

Please understand that the content herein is for informational purposes only. This existence and contents shall not create an obligation, liability or suggest a consultancy relationship. In further, such shall be considered as is without any express or implied warranties including, but not limited to express and implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement. There is no commitment about the content within the services that the specific functions of the services or its reliability, applicability or ability to meet your needs, whether unique or standard. Please be sure to test this process fully before deploying in ANY production capacity, and ensure you understand that you are doing so at your own risk.

Table of Contents

Intro to Uptime Kuma
Features I Really Like
Implementation
Conclusion


Intro to Uptime Kuma

Uptime Kuma is a sweet project by Louis Lam. This network device monitoring tool can monitor websites, website certificates, pings, and more. It includes a reverse proxy using Cloudflare Tunnel, and even features two factor authentication (which is awesome). With notification options for email and webhooks into most any communication tool available, Uptime Kuma is one of the coolest tools out there.

Website and Certificate Monitoring

This is the first thing that caught my and how I stumbled across this tool. Uptime Kuma can do more than just ping to make sure the network interface is still alive. For website and certificate monitoring, Uptime Kuma can perform an HTTP request, and the allows for specific response codes to be monitored for success. This allows for configuring monitoring in a meaningful way. Additionally, you can configure the monitoring to include a login, or even custom HTTP requests (Get, Post, Patch, etc…) to test an API or custom web requests. Additionally, it can monitor web certificates and notify ahead of certificate expirations.

home lab monitoring for API or web interface

The thought that was put into just this section alone makes this tool awesome. For someone like me who does this stuff as a hobby, it can be cumbersome to be configuring solutions like monitoring web certificates. The flexibility along with the ease of setup for me really excited to get this tool implemented.

home lab monitoring for web certificate expiration

TCP Port and Other Custom Monitoring Options

Another cool monitoring method Uptime Kuma uses is TCP Port monitoring. This allows you to specify a specific port to send a TCP request. The advantage of this is that it allows you to monitor things like SMB shares, SSH interfaces, SMTP relays, and more. Any known port can be used to test for a TCP connection to verify availability. If you had a server that wasn’t failing, but a specific service was, you could monitor the interface at the port for that service and get more accurate monitoring that a simple PING would give you. Simply input the port, and monitoring interval, and you are good to go.

home lab monitoring and custom monitor options

Combine this with several options for custom monitoring like Steam Game server, SQL Servers, and even Radius, and you have a solution that is powerful and capable of so many kinds of monitoring.

So Many Options for Notifications

The options for notifications are crazy given the simplicity of this tool. I count at least 30 different communication platforms that are supported for webhook or email notifications. I configured Discord as that was the easiest option for me personally, but there are so many options to make basically anything work. If you have an SMTP relay, you can send emails, but so many things work with a webhook, that it would hardly seem worth the effort unless you already had it in place.

home lab monitoring and notitication options

Features I REALLY Like about Uptime Kuma

Easy Setup Reverse Proxy

The first thing I really like about Uptime Kuma is the fact that it uses Cloudflare for the Reverse proxy access. If you haven’t already seen, this is huge for me because I already have Cloudflare configured for remote access to my services. This is incredibly convenient for me because I already had everything in place. If you didn’t already have it in place though, it would still be convenient. The way Uptime Kuma handles the Cloudflare setup, makes it so that the hardest part will be creating a free account with Cloudflare. Everything else is configured automatically when you set it up for the first time.

uptime kuma quick and easy home lab monitoring

MFA for Login

Look anytime you are going to make something public facing, if there is a login page, it should have some MFA protecting it. The fact that this includes an MFA feature built in is incredible. I will gladly appreciate any tool that is security minded, and I think everyone else should. It is not something you might expect in a project like this, but it is included nonetheless. Excellent addition by Louislam.

security settings for home lab monitoring tool

Custom Status Pages

So in my mind, this tool would be complete with just the monitoring and notifications. However, it includes the ability to create custom status pages, and that is just awesome. This feature adds some quick visibility into the uptimes for your Home Lab equipment without the hassle of implementing some of the larger monitoring tools. If you had several endpoints being monitored you could have them organized through several status pages. An organization might take a tool like this and create status pages according to who might use them. Big fan of this feature for sure.

Dark Mode!

Need I say any more? C’mon, including this was awesome!

home lab monitoring appearance settings with dark mode are awesome

Implementation

Typically this is where I would break down how I configured this and for everything installed. This time I’m going to point you to the resources I used. This is because the truth is there are so many really good guides out there, that I don’t think I would be adding to anything by going through my setup. I didn’t do anything special, so I’d rather give the credit where it’s due.

Start to Finish Walk Through

Network Chuck you need to monitor your stuff RIGHT NOW!! (free) – YouTube

This was my favorite start to finish walk through. I love Network Chuck’s videos, and this one is no different. Check it out for the easiest step-by-step setup.

Docker & Docker Compose Setup

As I have said in previous posts, I’m a Windows Admin by day, so I don’t really do anything with Linux most of the time. Learning Docker and Docker compose has been something that I have been working through in my free time as a result to try and get a handle on all these other tools out there. This is my favorite Docker & Docker Compose setup as I have typically used Ubuntu Server most of the time with my limited Docker experience. (Yes, I know it works in Windows, but somehow it feels wrong…).

How To Install and Use Docker Compose on Ubuntu 22.04 | DigitalOcean

Pay special attention to the prerequisites here, because the guide above takes place after the perquisites are in place.

Original Documentation

Of course here is the OG documentation which should be consulted when stuck.

GitHub – louislam/uptime-kuma: A fancy self-hosted monitoring tool


Conclusion

This one was short and sweet, but that was kind of the point. This tool is quick and easy to setup and use with your Home Lab for monitoring your resources in a clean and beautiful way. Set it up, and be prepared to fall in love with Uptime Kuma. I’ve already got it running in my Lab, and it has me excited see what else I can monitor with this tool.

What do you think? Is this something you might be interested in? I hope so. It is so easy to implement, that you could turn it on, check it out, and remove it again in an hour or two tops. There’s no reason not to give it a shot.

Let me know what you think if you get the chance. Hit me up on the ‘site formerly known as Twitter’ @SeeSmittyIT to let me know what you thought of this post. Or if you are avoiding the X-bird site, I’m also posted up on Mastodon @[email protected]. Thanks for reading!

Smitty

Curtis Smith works in IT with a primary focus on Mobile Device Management, M365 Apps, and Azure AD. He has certifications from CompTIA and Microsoft, and writes as a hobby.

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