Load Testing vs. Performance Testing: Know Your Options

With numerous options available to you in terms of load and performance testing, it can be confusing to decide which type of test to conduct. There are tests for every conceivable goal and type of website. A bit of knowledge about your particular situation will go a long way to help inform your decision about which test to choose and when.

In this post we’ve compiled the differences between load and performance testing, so you can quickly learn the use cases for both. Although both are helpful in terms of keeping your website or application performative and functioning, getting specific about what kind of test you need will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.

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Performance Testing: What You Need to Know

Performance testing plays a unique role in the management of websites and applications. With performance testing, you can gather data about how your website or application performs under stress.

Performance testing is an umbrella term under which many different types of tests fall, each designed to analyze the performance of an application in a specific type of situation. You can test a website’s load capacity, its endurance under specific stress situations, its behavior under unusual circumstances, its ability to perform at scale, and its capacity to hold large volumes of users at a given moment.

Here are specific situations for which you might need to test your website and the test we recommend in each case.

Load Testing for Performance

Let’s say you want to understand how a website might behave if you put a certain amount of load on it. Having a general idea of how many users may visit your website over a given time period, you will inject simulated users into your website through the cloud with our LoadView platform. This test will record the time lapse in a request and its successful completion, and in turn gives you an idea of where bottlenecks might lie. Load testing enables you to see just how many users your website can handle. You can get specific with load testing and test only a single web page, such as a log-in or checkout page, where you anticipate heavy traffic and potential bottlenecks.

Stress Testing

Stress testing goes for the upper limit or capacity of your website to serve users. It does this by simply adding users to the website until it starts to malfunction. Developers benefit from this type of testing because it helps them understand the scalability of the website. High amounts of stress on your website will typically result in slower response rates. One key feature of any stress test is the ability to tell how long it will take for the website to return to functional levels after it has been given a stressful situation to deal with. Of course in case of downtime, you want your website up and running as soon as possible. This is one way stress testing will prove helpful when dealing with major events such as the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. Our experts at LoadView are available to help you prepare for these big events.

Soak Testing

As the name suggests, this type of test will “soak” your website under a specific amount of load for a longer duration than a typical stress or load test. Soak testing checks whether your website can run a proverbial marathon – can it perform well over time? Soak testing is also called endurance testing and will keep a general eye on your website’s long-term functionality. Over time, soak testing checks your systems for failures. Metrics can be compared from when the test first began to when a certain period of time has passed, giving valuable insights into your website’s performance over longer periods of time.

Spike Testing

Sudden spikes in traffic are always possible for a website. A blogpost could go viral or you could have a sudden, unplanned announcement or sale. In such cases, it’s possible that your website might get overwhelmed by the number of users who suddenly arrive. It’s helpful to perform a spike test that will reveal exactly what happens when such a surge in users does occur, and to prepare for it.

Load Testing: All You Need to Know

Load testing helps you to assess what the upper limit of your website’s capacity is in terms of load. The goal of load testing is to help you get the information you need to prepare your website to handle more load, and to maximize uptime and performance at scale. With a load testing tool like LoadView you can also check a website’s ability to perform at peak levels and how long it takes for it to respond under heavy load conditions.

To help you understand load testing better, we’ve compiled a list of goals, strategies, and specific load testing applications.

Load Testing Goals

With load testing, it becomes simple to examine transaction response time. You can also easily see the performance of each component of your website under certain volumes of load. Severe load can also adversely affect servers. Load testing will give you precise data about this that you can turn into actionable insights for development.

Load testing also helps you check for any design issues with your website’s setup. You may need to configure your website to hold more users and to check for other areas of improvement in terms of your site’s code and infrastructure. You can also keep an eye out for hardware utilization and see if any hardware you have is being used too much or not enough.

In general, load testing serves to guide you in the future development of your website or application. It also help you determine whether there are any bottlenecks or issues in existing code that you have to address.

How to Accomplish Load Testing

In-house Load Testing

In this case, an organization may leverage their development team to create their own version of a load test. This type of load testing has its complications. There may be costs associated with it that you aren’t aware of at first. Training can be a big issue. Your team may not be prepared to deliver an in-house load test. Servers and/or cloud processing can also be costly.

Open-source Load Testing

Open-source load tests are free to use and widely available but their drawback is that they likely have limited online support available and so require expertise to properly execute, in addition to unexpected costs. These may include hardware, setup, training, and maintenance.

Enterprise Load Testing

Enterprise load testing is by far the best available option for websites and applications operating at scale. Although you will have to use budget for advanced, enterprise load testing, this reduces headaches and, with our team at LoadView behind you, ensures results.

LoadView allows you to run real browser testing on cloud software from a variety of devices and locations. You’ll also benefit from industry-leading support as we have teams available to answer any questions you may have.

Load Testing vs. Performance Testing in Conclusion

If you’d like to learn more about load and performance testing and how they can benefit your business and websites, take a look at the powerful and intuitive load testing tools we make available at LoadView. Consider signing up for a free trial and one-on-one demo with a load testing expert today.