AppDynamics Browser Monitoring provides two products that can help you improve your user's experience: Browser Real User Monitoring (Browser RUM) and Browser Synthetic Monitoring. Browser RUM allows you to see how your web application is performing, using real user data to analyze application performance and user experience. Browser Synthetic Monitoring allows you to analyze application availability and performance, using scheduled testing to analyze website availability.

This page provides an overview of Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring, the differences between the two products, and how to use them together to monitor your browser applications. 

Overview of the Controller UI for Browser Monitoring

Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring share two dashboards: Browser App Dashboard and Resource Performance Dashboard. Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring also have separate UI sections: Real Users and Synthetic.

Browser App Dashboard

The Browser App Dashboard provides a high-level understanding of how your application's overall performance. When you first navigate to a browser application, you are defaulted to the Browser App Dashboard > Overview tab. The Overview tab contains widgets for both Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring data. 

Resource Performance Dashboard

The Resource Performance Dashboard provides a high-level understanding of how your resources affect the performance of your browser application. You can use this dashboard to pinpoint resource-related performance issues affecting the user experience. You can toggle between Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring data.

Real Users

Browser RUM has three tabs for more detailed real-user data analysis:


 Browser Synthetic Monitoring has three tabs for more detailed synthetic user data analysis:

Differences between Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring

Although Browser Synthetic Monitoring and Browser RUM report similar metrics, you should be wary of comparing them because of these differences:

  • hardware
  • network connections
  • different browsers
  • browser caching is not present in synthetic sessions

If you see a sudden change in any of those metrics, however, you should compare the results of Browser Synthetic Monitoring and Browser RUM to see if there is an existing problem.

Performance Versus Workflows

Browser RUM excels at capturing the full breadth of performance that your real users experience. Browser Synthetic Monitoring gives you confidence that your key workflows are always working and performing.

Synthetic Metrics and Screenshots

Browser Synthetic Monitoring can collect certain data that Browser RUM cannot. For example, Browser Synthetic Monitoring provides screenshots, which help you see what is going on. You can also use the Visually Complete metric and other related metrics to understand how users experience page load time.

How to use Browser RUM and Browser Synthetic Monitoring Together

Identify Issues

Although Browser RUM can detect certain kinds of problems (like JavaScript exceptions), it cannot comprehensively test for functional correctness. For example, you may want to verify that your online store has reasonable prices a list of items. If your site is down entirely, then the JavaScript Agent will never be loaded, so errors or verifications will not be reported. Fortunately, Browser Synthetic Monitoring will keep running, discover the error, alert you, and provide detailed information about the problem. 

Control Environmental Factors

Hardware, browsers, operating systems, and networks complicate performance analysis in Browser RUM. Browser Synthetic Monitoring uses consistent hardware, software, and network configurations, so if you see deviations in performance, you can be fairly certain a problem exists.