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How to receive notifications when a website updates PDF files
How to receive notifications when a website updates PDF files
Learn how to get alerted when a website replaces a PDF file on its site using ChangeTower's Multi-Condition Monitor Tool
Maya avatar
Written by Maya
Updated over a week ago

There are many, many reasons why an organization or business would want to know when another business or regulatory body replaces a PDF file on its site. It's quite common for website owners/masters to publish their terms and conditions, regulations, and pricing/offer details via a PDF URL. While ChangeTower Enterprise clients can use the PDF Monitor to get a detailed report of what changes have been made on a PDF file, what happens when instead of publishing changes to the same PDF file, the webmaster instead uploads a new PDF file (different file name) to replace the old one? In this instance, the original PDF that was being monitored for changes has not technically changed but it has in practice. 

This article is going to show how ChangeTower customers can use the Multi-Condition monitor type to solve this tricky scenario.   

Step 1: Use ChangeTower's Custom Multi-Criteria Monitor-Type to track changes to a PDF file path

Click on New Monitor > Single URL > Custom Multi-Criteria and then paste in the the URL for the website (and NOT the .pdf file path)  

Select Custom Multi-Criteria monitor during monitor creation

Step 2: Set the conditions for your Custom Monitor so you're alerted when the PDF file path changes

1) "Page doesn't include"
2) "This exact HTML" 

You will then paste the HTML snippet into the criteria as described below

Setting up monitoring criteria

Step 3: Get your criteria for the PDF Monitor from the webpage where it's hosted.

This is the most important step! Open the webpage where the PDF file is being hosted and 'inspect' the element containing the link to the PDF file  (right click -> inspect). 

IMPORTANT: copy the entire HTML element (everything between the tags < > and </>)

Copy the source code from the page

Step 4: Paste the entire HTML Element with the .PDF URL path into the Monitor's criteria

Paste the source code into ChangeTower

Step 5: Test that you're PDF Monitor is working properly. 

Test that you've properly set it up by editing the Monitor and changing the criteria from "Page Doesn't Include" to "Page Includes" so that you can manually run the Monitor to see if you're alerted. If you receive a notification, that means the crawler identified your criteria as being on your page and you will be notified when the webmaster updates the PDF file (and that exact HTML element is no longer on the page). 

Once you've confirmed you've set it up correctly, be sure to edit it again and switch it back to "Page doesn't include"!

Note: If and when the PDF is updated and you are alerted, you will have to update the change criteria with the new HTML element (oftentimes just update the PDF URL path). 

If you do not do this, you will not be notified of future changes to the new PDF file.

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