The size and complexity of today's IT networks is continually growing. So, monitoring tools are now critical for the maintenance and administration of an organization's IT network systems. Routers, switches, bridges, and hubs, among other components of an IT network system, generate network traffic and performance statistics. This information is crucial for IT network admins in charge of the network's operation. Many network issues would be impossible to discover and fix without a comprehensive system for network monitoring.

Network monitoring tools provide reliable insights into performance, security, and productivity for successful businesses. Most commercial network monitoring tools can be expensive, but even small businesses require network monitoring solutions. As a result, organizations that cannot afford commercial software often settle for free editions and the challenging part is identifying the best free network monitoring tool.

However, you should consider whether you need a commercial monitoring tool or you can accomplish what you need with open-source and free network monitoring solutions. Free network monitoring solutions have limited features, so you'll have to use multiple IT monitoring tools to address all your network's requirements, which might make maintenance and settings more difficult. Hence, it is crucial for any business to choose the best free network performance monitoring software.

In the further read, we'll discuss:

What can we expect from a best free network monitoring software?

The best free network monitoring tool is one that has a network monitor to monitor systems, devices, applications, and services regularly to ensure they are healthy and productive. In other words, the best network monitor is a tool that can gather and analyze network availability and performance.

Here are some of the advantages of free network monitoring software:

  • Better network visibility: With networks becoming more complex every day, it's increasingly difficult to track every network device and service. The best free network monitoring software gives network admins complete visibility into a complex IT environment, enabling them to easily track network data across devices and quickly resolve issues.
  • Identify network outages quickly: A network monitoring tool allows a network admin to track if a device is up and running, including a router, switch, server, or database. It provides network performance statistics in an easy-to-understand format, helping you to identify network outages.
  • Performance monitoring: Network monitoring software keeps track of key network performance metrics like bandwidth, memory, disc and CPU utilization, and service response time. It provides these metrics to network admins as reports and graphs to help them easily understand statuses.
  • Capacity planning: Network monitoring software predicts how your IT infrastructure will operate in the future based on historical data. This helps you figure out if your current system environment can scale to meet your business needs.

Drawbacks of free network monitoring tools

Although some free open-source tools are good and can even rival the features of proprietary tools, they have some disadvantages. Here are some of the drawbacks of free network monitoring software:

  • Requires significant investment of time and resources: A major challenge with open-source tools is that you must verify whether each feature or requirement is supported, and if not, you must look for help from a developer or the open-source community to develop a remedy. This often takes a significant amount of time and commitment of resources.
  • Support: Most of the free network monitoring tools do not offer any support, and those that do might be rather costly. In addition, support is often delivered at only select times, not necessarily matching your organization's requirements.
  • Road map and Bug fixes: Most free network monitoring tools don't provide a clear roadmap and frequent bug fixes, both of which are essential for your network's monitoring.
  • Scalability: It's important to consider how many devices you're monitoring currently and how your environment might grow. Considering scalability is vital not only for determining whether the free tool is good enough now, but also for your network monitoring requirements in the future.

Though cost is an important consideration when selecting a network monitoring tool for your network, you should choose a solution that best meets your current and future business needs, even if it costs some money. When it comes to something as crucial as your network, it's always best to have a single product that provides all of the necessary features, especially when considering free editions, research is inevitable to choose the best free network monitoring software.

ManageEngine OpManager: The best free network monitoring software

ManageEngine OpManager is a network monitoring program that enables network administrators to manage routers, firewalls, servers, switches, and printers from a single dashboard. It comes with numerous prebuilt graphs and reports that offer network admins details about the health of their networks, servers, and applications making it the best free network monitoring software.

OpManager's free edition offers you...

Best free network monitoring software: Network health and performance

Free network monitoring software  - ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager's network monitoring proactively monitors critical metrics like network health, CPU and memory utilization, disk utilization, and DB counts to optimize network performance in real-time.

With OpManager as the best free network monitoring software, you can:

  • Discover devices and interfaces of any device type with pre-loaded device templates available in the tool.
  • Monitor essential performance metrics and customize the dashboard to gain a quick glimpse of your network.
  • Diagnose and troubleshoot network issues even before they occur with threshold-based monitoring.

Best free network monitoring software: Server monitoring

Best free network monitoring tool - ManageEngine OpManager

OpManager's server monitoring capabilities help monitor your server continuously for availability and response time. OpManager scrutinizes critical server performance metrics like CPU utilization, memory utilization, and partition-wise disk space across your Windows, Linux, and Unix OS.

OpManager, the best free network and server monitor, helps to:

  • Monitor server availability and data loss.
  • Monitor server responsiveness.
  • Know the server: capacity, speed, and user load.
  • Diagnose and avert any issues that might affect the server.

Best free network monitoring software: Virtualization monitoring

 Free Virtualization monitoring- ManageEngine OpManager

With OpManager's virtual monitor, track the availability and performance of your VMs, and guest machines. You can also optimize resource allocation, perform capacity planning, and prevent VM sprawl. OpManager supports VMware, Hyper-V, and Xen servers.

With OpManager's best free Virtual machine monitoring, you can:

  • Monitor multiple virtual machines such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix Xen host, VMware ESX/ESXi servers, Nutanix, and associated VMs from a single pane of glass.
  • Keep track of VM migration and the relation between hosts and VMs, networks, and data stores.
  • Notify network admins instantly on performance hiccups via SMS, email, slack messages, or web alarms and avert unforeseen network downtime.

Best free network monitoring software: Intelligent automation

With OpManager's AI and ML-based predictive algorithms, you can automate certain repetitive and labor-intensive network monitoring tasks. These intelligent automation reduce the redundant workload of network admins and help them focus on critical tasks.

The automating capabilities of OpManager, the best free network monitoring software include:

  • Adaptive thresholds: You can automate the process of determining threshold values for any performance metric, and eliminate the need to analyze historical data trends with Adaptive thresholds.
  • Workflows: With more than 70 Workflow actions, you can automate routine but time-consuming tasks by defining the conditions, and selecting the devices and commands.
  • Discovery Rule Engine: With OpManager's advanced device discovery, you can speed up network discovery by associating device templates, and custom monitors, and automatically classifying devices.
  • Layer2 mapping: With advanced network mapping, OpManager automatically creates network maps of devices connected to the seed router, from which you can choose the device you wish to monitor.
  • Capacity Planning: With 'Storage Capacity Forecast by Utilization' reports, you can be aware of the exact dates on when the storage utilization would reach 80, 90, and 100%. This helps you make informed decisions on capacity planning.

Best free network monitoring software: Alerts and Alarms

 Free alerting system- ManageEngine OpManager

If the threshold value of critical performance metric breaches, you can configure it to receive network monitoring alerts through various channels such as SMS, email, slack messages, and web alarms. This helps in faster issue remediation and reduced MTTR.

With OpManager's advanced alerting system, you can:

  • Be aware of what's happening on your network, even on the go, with threshold-based notification profiles.
  • Escalate critical alarms to alternate persons, so that no alarms are missed or ignored.
  • Configure OpManager to run an external program or execute scripts automatically when an alarm is triggered.

Best free network monitoring software: NOC View Dashboards

Monitor your entire network in a single screen with NOC View with OpManager's best free network monitoring tool. This dashboard displays all your network data at a single point and helps you identify discrepancies in advance.

Why OpManager free edition is the best free network monitoring software

The OpManager free edition is the best free network monitor tool built specifically for small businesses. OpManager gives you the experience of the best free network monitor through free real-time monitoring of your network, servers, routers, and switches, providing you with more control over your IT infrastructure. Its customizable widgets enable you to create unique dashboards and reports right away.

With OpManager's free edition, you can:

  • Monitor up to three network devices and unlimited interfaces for free forever.
  • Login to the tool as a super user and exercise access control to another user.
  • Experience all the functionalities and features available in the paid version for free excluding add-ons and integrations.

Love our free edition? You can request our support team to increase the number of permitted devices to 25 and get a hands-on experience with the tool for two to three months before purchasing OpManager.

Stay on top of your network with OpManager.

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Customer reviews

OpManager - 10 Steps Ahead Of The Competition, One Step Away From Being Unequalled.
- Network Services Manager, Government Organization
Review Role: Infrastructure and OperationsCompany Size: Gov't/PS/ED 5,000 - 50,000 Employees
"I have a long-standing relationship with ManageEngine. OpManager has always missed one or two features that would make it truly the best tool on the market, but over it is the most comprehensive and easy to use the product on the market."
Easy Implementation, Excellent Support & Lower Cost Tool
- Team Lead, IT Service Industry
Review Role: Infrastructure and OperationsCompany Size: 500M - 1B USD
"We have been using OpManager since 2011 and our overall experience has been excellent. The tool plays a vital role in providing the value to our organisation and to the customers we are supporting. The support is excellent and staff takes full responsibilities in resolving the issues. Innovation is never stopping and clearly visible with newer versions"
Easy Implementation With A Feature Rich Catalogue, Support Has Some Room For Improvement
- NOC Manager in IT Service Industry
Review Role: Program and Portfolio ManagementCompany Size: 500M - 1B USD
"The vendor has been supporting during the implementation & POC phases providing trial licenses. Feature requests and feedback is usually acted upon swiftly. There was sufficient vendor support during the implementation phase. After deployment, the support is more than adequate, where the vendor could make some improvements."
Great Monitoring Tool
- CIO in Finance Industry
Review Role: CIOCompany Size: 1B - 3B USD
"Manage Engine provides a suite of tools that have made improvements to the availability of our internal applications. From monitoring, management and alerting, we have been able to peak performance within our data center."
Simple Implementation, Easy To Use. Very Intuitive.
- Principal Engineer in IT Services
Review Role: Enterprise Architecture and Technology InnovationCompany Size: 250M - 500M USD
"Manage Engine support was helpful and responsive to all our queries"

Case Studies - OpManager


Hinduja Global Solutions saves $3 million a year using OpManager

Industry: IT

Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) is an Indian business process management (BPM) organization headquartered in Bangalore and part of the Hinduja Group. HGS combines technology-powered automation, analytics, and digital services focusing on back office proces

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USA-Based Healthcare Organization Monitor's Network Devices Using OpManager and Network Configuration Manager

Industry: Healthcare

One of the largest radiology groups in the nation, with a team of more than 200 board-certified radiologists, provides more than 50 hospital and specialty clinic partners with on-site radiology coverage and interpretations.

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Netherlands-based real estate data company avoids system downtime using OpManager and Firewall Analyzer

Industry: Real Estate

Vabi is a Netherlands-based company that provides "real estate data in order, for everyone." Since 1972, the company has focused on making software that calculates the performance of buildings. It has since then widened its scope from making calculations

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Global news and media company

Industry: Telecommunication and Media

Bonita uses OpManager to monitor their network infrastructure and clear bottlenecks

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Industry: Businesses and Services

Bonita uses OpManager to monitor their network infrastructure and clear bottlenecks

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Thorp Reed & Armstrong

Industry : Government

Randy S. Hollaway from Thorp Reed & Armstrong relies on OpManager for prompt alerts and reports

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