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What is a Health Check Endpoint?

Health check endpoints are HTTP endpoints created for uptime monitoring. (e.g. In health check endpoints you’ll run a series of basic tests. Are my components (database, file system…) working? If everything passes the test, the endpoint returns an HTTP 200. It’s a good idea to also include a breakdown of the test results in the response. That makes debugging things easier down the road.

Health check endpoints are helpful, but they aren’t a perfect test. Your database may be responding to pings, but failing on inserts. The file system may show that you have permission, but it may be out of disk space.

Think of a health check like checking your temperature. If you have a fever, something is definitely wrong. But, if you don’t have a fever, that doesn’t mean everything is ok. Health checks are helpful, but real data checks are where it’s at.

One last thing on health checks. If you have the engineering resources, this is something you should setup. It’s pretty minimal effort compared to a real data check. And, it’s much more thorough than a smoke check.

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