If you ever need to keep tabs on small changes to a website, Visual Ping can help. Visual Ping is a website and browser extension that tracks websites for just about any text, visual, and formatting change you specify. In a way, it’s like using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, only in real time.
We’ve mentioned Visual Ping before as a means for tracking stock and price changes on in-demand items like PC components and gaming consoles, but there are plenty of other applications for the service, as well.
For instance, when COVID vaccines first rolled out, many used Visual Ping to monitor appointment availability. Similarly, you can use Visual Ping to track when items open for pre-order, or when tickets to a live event become available. And it can monitor for small changes to important online documents like a company’s terms of service or a political candidate’s website. You could even use it to monitor changes in server status for online video games like Final Fantasy XIV.
And if Twitter ever follows through on the tweet-edit feature it recently teased, you could theoretically use Visual Ping to keep track of individual tweets to see if they’re ever edited.
Visual Ping is available in two formats: The free Visual Ping browser extension, and the VisualPin.io webpage. Both versions offer virtually the same functionality, but work slightly differently.
Visual Ping browser extension
The free browser extension will also track any open website for changes, scanning as frequently as every 5 seconds and notifying you of any changes as long as your computer is on and your browser is open.
The only downside is the real-time scanning uses up your machine’s resources, which can make other websites and programs run slowly. Luckily, the extension also performs up to two server-side checks per day regardless of whether you’re using the browser, and any alerts are sent to your email, which is helpful when you’re away from the computer.
You can install the Chrome extension here (it also works on other Chromium-based browsers like Edge).
The VisualPing.io website, on the other hand, is entirely server-based and performs checks for updates regardless of whether you’re online. Anyone can follow up to five URLs at one time for free, and the server will check each page up to once a day for any changes.
However, you have to pay for higher frequency scans or for tracking more than five websites. Plans start at $14/mo (or $120/year) to track 25 websites with hourly checks. There are also pay-per-use options that do not require a subscription.
Luckily, both Visual Ping products are free to try and easy to use.
We suggest using the free browser extension when you’re closely monitoring time-sensitive alerts like stock changes when you’d be at the computer already, and the VisualPing.io website when you’re tracking updates you don’t need to respond to immediately.
Whichever of the two you use, we also suggest turning push notifications on in your browser and your phone’s email app if you’re paying extra close attention to any updates.
Visual Ping could definitely help keep tabs on specific pages once in a while, but there are other ways to track your favorite websites, as well, such as using an RSS feed or news aggregator app to collect the latest articles and content updates from all the websites, YouTube channels, and podcasts you follow into a single feed, or creating a single universal streaming watchlist with Plex.