Understanding Monitoring

Home security seems like a complex topic, but it’s essentially a combination of two components:

  • Home security technology, which includes alarm systems, door locks, video cameras, and other security devices.
  • Monitoring.

This article will explain what monitoring is and help you make the best choice for your home.

What is monitoring?

It’s not enough to just have a home alarm system. Someone needs to supervise it, watch for alerts, and get help when it matters most. That’s where monitoring comes in.

Security monitoring is keeping surveillance on a home alarm. If alarm sensors are triggered to indicate a burglary, smoke or carbon monoxide in the home or other types of threats, then the residents and their circle of trusted friends need to be alerted quickly, and emergency services should be sent to the home quickly.

When you get a Ring Alarm, you can self-monitor your own alarm system, or you can utilize the Ring professional monitoring* service that comes with the Ring Protect Pro plan.

The type of monitoring you choose is extremely important. It needs to fit your lifestyle and keep you and your loved ones safe.

Click here to learn more about Ring Protect plans.

Professional Monitoring*

Professional monitoring* is a service that monitors Ring Alarm for alarm signals, and can notify emergency contacts and request emergency dispatch the authorities. The Ring monitoring center is a team of trained agents in a secure location who watch all Ring Alarms 24/7/365.

How does this work? The Ring Alarm or Alarm Pro Base Station monitors the sensors in your home and sends a signal to the Ring monitoring center when a threat is detected. It also sends an alert to your phone, as well as the phones of all Shared Users. When the monitoring center receives a signal, they call to see if there is a genuine threat. If there’s an emergency, they can dispatch emergency services to your home.

What happens when Ring Alarm sounds? Learn about professional monitoring* emergency response plans.

Click here to learn more about what happens when the monitoring center calls.



Self-monitoring is when you monitor the Ring Alarm yourself. When the Alarm Base Station detects a threat, it will only send an alert to your phone and the phones of your Shared Users. (If you have email notifications turned on, it may send an email as well.) You and your Shared Users can call emergency services if there is a genuine threat, such as a fire, break-in, or another emergency at the home.

Click here to purchase a Ring Protect Plan.

Important Information about Professional Monitoring*

If you decide to sign up for professional monitoring,* there are a few important details you should know.

  • Permits: In some areas, local laws require homeowners to get a permit or registration for all home alarms with professional monitoring.* You can call your local police department, town hall, or municipal offices to find out about laws in your neighborhood.

Click here for more information about alarm permits.

  • A Valid Address: It’s very important that you use a valid address and cross-street in your Ring app. During the Alarm setup process, you will be asked to enter your address and a cross street. It is vital that this address be accurate. Only verified addresses can be enrolled in professional monitoring.* Changing the address in your Ring app is easy if you have made a mistake or move. 

Click here for more information on changing your street address. 

Note: Ring is dedicated to all aspects of your security - including information security. Ring never divulges the personal details (including addresses) of our neighbors.

    • Emergency Contacts: You will need to provide the names and phone numbers of at least two people (you can be one of them) who can answer calls from the monitoring center in an emergency, get to the home if requested by emergency services, and handle emergencies at the location of the Ring Alarm. Some areas require three contacts. In an emergency, the monitoring center will call the primary contact, and if no one answers the phone, they will call the next contacts.
    • Verbal Password: A verbal password is a word or number that the monitoring center will use to verify the identities of your emergency contacts to make sure they're speaking to someone you trust. Choose a word or number (no symbols or spaces) that you’ll remember, and share it with all of your emergency contacts and anyone who lives in your home. If the monitoring center calls, you’ll need to give them the verbal password to confirm who you are. Make sure your other emergency contacts know your verbal password. You can set up and change your verbal password anytime using the app, but the app does not store the verbal password for security reasons.
  • 7-Day Practice Mode: When you first sign up for professional monitoring,* your system will go into a 7-Day "Practice Mode" that allows you learn how to use the system without having to worry about false alarms and accidentally dispatching the police or fire department. If you set off a false alarm during the 7-Day Practice Mode, you'll receive an automated call from the monitoring center. (If it's a real emergency, you can speak to a live agent and request help.) The purpose of Practice Mode is to have you and your Shared Users practice using the system as much as possible. You should Arm and Disarm the Alarm, and tweak the settings on your sensors. When the 7-Day Practice Mode ends, your Ring Alarm will automatically be professionally monitored.* At this time, if your Alarm is triggered, you'll get a call from a live agent, and help will be dispatched.

Click here to learn more about Arming, Disarming, and Setting Modes on your Ring Alarm

Click here to learn more about false alarms.

Changing your Monitoring Type

You can exit the 7-Day Practice Mode at any time, by changing your monitoring status. Once you leave Practice Mode, you can’t re-enter it at a later time. But once you sign up for professional monitoring,* you can switch between professional monitoring* and self-monitoring as needed.

To change your monitoring status:

  • In the Ring app, open the menu.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap Monitoring.
  • Tap Monitoring Type.
  • Choose the new type of monitoring you want.
    • If you enable professional monitoring,* you will be prompted to choose a Primary and Secondary Contact and a Verbal Password.
    • If you are in Practice Mode, you will need to Exit Practice Mode and confirm that you want to exit.
    • If you are enrolled in professional monitoring* and want to change to self-monitoring, tap Self Monitoring and confirm that you want to end professional monitoring.*
    • If you are enrolled in self-monitoring and want to change to professional monitoring,* tap Professional Monitoring* and confirm that you want to enable professional monitoring.*

Click here to learn more about professionally monitoring* your business.


* A compatible Ring Protect subscription is required to enroll in the Ring Alarm professional monitoring service. Professional monitoring service is available only within the U.S. (all 50 states, but not U.S. territories) and in Canada (excluding Quebec). Ring does not own its own professional monitoring center. Smoke and carbon monoxide monitoring is not available for commercial properties. See Ring Alarm licenses at: https://www.ring.com/licenses

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