Create Your First Check

In order to start collecting data, you’ll need to make checks that pertain to the type of data you’d like. For instance, if you’re trying to monitor a website, you might use the check types of Nginx, Apache, Ping, or HTTP. If you’re trying to get system metrics from a Linux server, you could use Collectd, Statsd, the Circonus Node Agent, or SNMP.

Each check has various configuration options, such as the timeout, URL, headers, username and password, or port number. You’ll also need to tell Circonus which broker you’d like the check to be run from. Once you’ve got this set up, Circonus will start collecting data.

Adding a check is a simple process:

  1. Navigate to either the "Checks" screen or the "Metrics" screen, both located under the "Collect" section of the main menu.
  2. Click the "New Check +" button to open the first step of the check creation wizard.
  3. There are two navigation options for finding the type of check you wish to use:
    1. Search bar - The search is performed against the Check name, its description, and internal keywords. It provides interactive "search as you type" capability and will display all matching options as you type your search term. This is the quickest and easiest navigation mechanism if you are already familiar with the check types available in Circonus.
    2. Hierarchical navigation - All possible check types in Circonus are listed and divided into categories. Simply browse this list and select your check type. You can hover over a check in this list to view a description.

  4. The next step is select a broker for the check. Circonus handles this step differently for perspective checks and non-perspective checks:
    1. If Circonus considers the check to be a perspective check, it will display a map allowing you to select a set of brokers. The check will be run from the selected brokers. You must select at least one broker, but you are not limited to one. You can see a list of the brokers located at each dot on the map by hovering over a map location with your mouse. Select specific brokers by checking the checkboxes in the list on the right. To deselect a broker, uncheck the broker in the list.

    2. Circonus considers a check to be non-perspective if the results will not vary based on the broker performing the assessment. In this case, it makes sense to select only a single broker, so a drop down menu is provided instead of a map.

  5. When finished selecting a check type, click the "Configure Check >>" button. This next part of the process varies widely based on the check type selected. For the purposes of this example, we'll be using the HTTP check type to check the main website.
  6. The HTTP check requires a URL and, like most checks, will resolve any FQDN and provide a choice of using the FQDN (i.e. or the resolved IP address (i.e. In this example, we'll leave the IP address selected, and forego any advanced HTTP-specific configuration.


  7. Click the "Test Check" button. The broker that you selected will be asked to run the check in test mode. This may take a few seconds, but it will retrieve all the metrics and let you pick and choose which metrics will have collection enabled.
  8. You have the option to rename your check to something more descriptive or appropriate. Note that the host, the type, and the perspective from which it is run are metadata associated with each check, so using that information in the name would be redundant.
  9. The last task is to select the metrics for which you want to enable collection. Those that are selected will be the only ones transmitted from the broker back into the rest of Circonus and as a result will be available for alerting and visualization. Those that are not selected will simply be ignored. You can come back and change these selections later, but while they are deselected no data will be collected. The "Filter Results" box will allow quick reduction of the list for fast selection/deselection for large result sets. This can be used with "All" and "None" to quickly and painlessly work with very large lists of metrics.

  10. Once satisfied with the metric selection, click "Finish" to place the check on the broker and make its output available to the rest of the tools in Circonus.

You can also watch a short video of the process using a different example check type here: Adding a Ping Check

Next Step: Create a Graph