Blog Post

How To – Monitor Your Email Service with Catchpoint

In this article we'll briefly overview network protocols and a look at some helpful use cases specifically around monitoring your email service.

Today, we’re going to continue diving into Catchpoint’s wealth of synthetic tests with a brief overview of network protocols and a look at some helpful use cases specifically around monitoring your email service. I’ll be sharing a hands-on demo, illustrating how this data shows up in Catchpoint – focusing on a pair of protocol tests we’ll be running against our email service.

It goes without saying why monitoring to ensure email can be sent and received, is important to any business. Most people rely on the metrics from their SaaS providers for monitoring purposes, but you’ll still find it useful to examine email metrics independent of what is shared by your provider.

Synthetic Tests

Whether you’re just testing system health and performance or keeping the big guys honest with SLA testing, Catchpoint’s Synthetic Tests are a gold mine of information, helping your team make more informed decisions.

Catchpoint is an industry leader in Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM), of which a huge part is synthetic testing. When you execute a synthetic test from one of Catchpoint’s nodes, it’ll emulate an actual user journey that triggers a network activity related to the test type and return unaggregated data. The synthetic test data can be used to evaluate individual requests and overall end-user experience and service health. In this instance, we’ll be testing an email service using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and Internet Access Message Protocol (IMAP) tests.


SMTP and IMAP protocols are two sides of the same coin. Put simply, one is for sending mail, the other for receiving.

If you’re running a synthetic test with SMTP, you’re trying to figure out whether messages are transmitted to a receiving email server – local or a SaaS platform such as Office365. If you’re running an IMAP test, you’re trying to find out if you can receive messages from an email server (i.e., it’s emulating the role of a client application).

SMTP vs IMAP vs POP3 - Knowing The Difference
A quick glance at which protocol gets used at every given stage of the message transit path.

The Value of Catchpoint Synthetic Tests

Now, the value of Catchpoint Synthetic Tests goes beyond a simple health check. The Catchpoint synthetic test will send an email, so it’ll be able to tell whether your service is truly operational, rather than just online.

See how Catchpoint helps you evaluate trends and individual requests.

Catchpoint will also indicate trends over time via its smartboard, where we’ll be able to see results of individual synthetic test runs and overall performance trends such as % downtime, DNS, Connect and Wait times. These figure among a long list of network metrics, all of which can indicate in detail what is going wrong and why.

In this how-to video to monitor mail services you will learn:

  • How Catchpoint Synthetic Tests work.
  • Where SMTP and IMAP fall in an email service.
  • How to design SMTP and IMAP tests in Catchpoint.
  • What kind of data Catchpoint will return for you and how to interpret it.

Let’s hop in!

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