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What is an application performance monitoring (APM) tool?

What is an application performance monitoring (APM) tool?

Application performance monitoring (often abbreviated to APM) collects and interprets an application's data to help developers monitor bugs, availability, resource usage, and performance problems.

This may sometimes be referred to as application monitoring or performance monitoring, but application performance monitoring (or APM) is the most widely-used industry term.

How does an APM tool work?

An APM tool allows you to monitor and analyze your application's behavior and performance by collecting performance and metric data. These metrics are often represented as charts, graphs, and tables on dashboards.

You can usually configure an APM system to meet specific business needs, but at its core, it tracks:


A list of problems encountered by users while using an application. Each error entry is generally supplemented by some trace data. This tracks all user steps before an error occurs and helps you understand how to replicate an error.


A metric is a quantifiable measure used to track, compare, and evaluate the performance of a specific process. Metrics include error rate, throughput, response time, uptime, and RAM and CPU usage.

With this data, you can take the appropriate actions to fix errors and performance issues.

How can an APM tool help me?

Most APM systems can be configured to notify you when an error or incident occurs, so you can proactively fine-tune your application and potentially resolve errors before they negatively impact your application and its users.

You will gain real-time insights into your application's:

  • Error rate
  • Throughput
  • Response time
  • Database queries
  • Uptime
  • Host metrics (CPU and RAM)

Over time, application performance monitoring helps you establish a baseline of your application's behavior, allowing you to quickly analyze and compare current performance against historical data. This can be particularly useful when investigating a high error rate after a release/stack change or a recurring performance issue.

Downtime can be costly, especially when it involves paying clients. Invest in your application's health with an APM tool to maintain the performance and availability of your application.

AppSignal: the developer-driven APM system

If you want to start monitoring your application, you can get started with a free trial of AppSignal today. Developers enjoy using our monitoring because of our:

  • Intuitive interface that is easy to navigate.
  • Simple and predictable pricing.
  • Developer-to-developer support.

If you have any questions about monitoring your application with AppSignal, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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