Ping A Page, Reddirect if Not Available

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Hi, I'm cross posting to comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html and
comp.languages.php.  Our IT staff who usually do this sort of thing are
rather busy and I am desperately looking at an impending deadline.

My organization's web page is on a server which has php.  A work request
web server is on a separate server which I take down frequently for
maintenance, upgrades and tweaking.  What I'm trying to do is create a
page, which will be the link to the work request service, that will
first ping the work request server.  If the work request service is
active, it will go to it.  If it is down, it will redirect to another page.

Is there anywhere on the web which might have sample code for this sort
of thing?  All of the suggestions I have be other knowledgeable
colleagues as well as google searches I have done so far either point to
  VB scripting/ASP
( , for
example) or deal with PHP issues that don't seem to address my needs. My
coding knowledge of PHP is non-existent and my html skills are
rudimentary and I don't know anything about how to ping a server.  As I
mentioned at the beginning, I'm kind of on my own due to a deadline.

Thanks very much in advance for any leads on this.
Tim /
/#) "Burp-beep, burp-beep, burp-beep?" - Quaker Jake
/^^ "Whatcha doin?" - Ditto  "TIM-MAY!!" - Me

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