Webmaster Hub

A look at ‘Tiny Domain Monitor’ for monitoring domain expiration dates

Keeping track of the dozens of domain names I own is a challenging task – especially since they’re spread across multiple domain registrars. Imagine losing a valuable domain name because the expiry notification got caught in your spam folder? I’ve experienced it. It sucks.

I contemplating building a domain management interface in Python (I’m awful at Python, so it would have been a good practice project), but decided to quickly Google around for an existing solution. I stumbled across Tiny Domain Monitor, a PHP script designed to monitor domains and provide notifications when they’re about to expire.

Initial thoughts

The Tiny Domain Monitor website gave me a terrible first impression. It genuinely looks like a scam website, filled with icons and banners for Google AdSense, Amazon Associates and various operating systems. The site even contains the sentence: “Hurry! Limited Time Offer. Order now and Start Earning Today. Nonetheless; I was still interested in the product and attempted to find some information about the person/company behind it. I checked the about page, the contact page, the WHOIS record for the site. Nothing. I think the main reason I spent on the program was to see if I would actually receive it. It baffles me that someone would set up a business website that badly.

Domain Monitor Website

Installation and setup

I installed Tiny Domain Monitor on its own subdomain. The setup guide instructed me to create a new MySQL database and enter the connection details into the settings.php file. I added a new database user with limited permissions and a unique password, as I still didn’t entirely trust the developer. (PayPal tells me the developer’s name is Igor Funa, for what it’s worth.)

The database table needs to be manually created, using the SQL code contained in the provided .sql file. Once that’s done, you can login to the interface and begin adding domains to monitor. The actual monitoring requires the creation of a CRON job, which will periodically run the update mechanism and send alerts of any changes.

Features

You can add and remove domains from the list. It supports bulk imports and export as a .csv file – nothing overly groundbreaking. The script shows several details about each domain; such as the expiration date, creation date and lock status. You can order the list based on any of these parameters.

Domain Monitor Header

The script can provide notifications of any changes a domain experiences through email or RSS. The RSS feature is incredibly handy if you intend to monitor a large number of domains, but don’t want your email inbox completely flooded.

Final Thoughts

Tiny Domain Monitor is a surprisingly effective tool for anyone who needs to monitor a large cache of domain names. I’m still not convinced that the functionality provided is worthy of a price tag, but it’s certainly cheaper than using a commercial hosted solution or writing your own management script.

Configuration is more difficult than it should be, but it’s mostly a non-issue. Anyone with any real use for Tiny Domain Monitor is likely familiar enough with PHP/MySQL/CRON to get it working without much fuss.

I’m happy with my purchase.


Leave a Reply