Preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a daunting task. Start with three simple questions:
- How many users hit your website last year?
- What is the expected increase in traffic this year?
- Do you have enough capacity in place to handle the load?
Be proactive. Setup and run realistic website load tests before the site hits critical mass.
No Network is Invulnerable
Large retail websites such as Target and Best Buy have struggled under heavy visitor loads during the Black Friday weekend. If the website is not working properly on the biggest shopping days of the year, companies risk losing millions of dollars in revenue. Furthermore, the loss in potential sales goes well beyond e-commerce shoppers and includes customers visiting brick and mortar stores who simply want to know if a product is available in their local store.
Technology continues to advance, but unfortunately, so do the threats against our networks. Companies rely on their websites and networks to generate revenue and support business operations. They need a tool to proactively test their environment for bottlenecks, points of failure, and weaknesses. Even if you’re safe from the usual attacks, your website could become overwhelmed by an over-abundance of visitors. Do you know what that threshold of simultaneous visitors is on your website?
Website Load Test from External Sources
LoadView can engage machines from multiple cloud networks to emulate hundreds to thousands of users accessing your online services Whether you’re testing your software as a service (SaaS), online shopping cart path to purchase, or other online services, LoadView provides the tools to test the capacity of your environment. Running simultaneous user interactions gives insight, from the user perspective, into how services respond under varying levels load.
Perform load tests at all layers of your infrastructure. Depending on your infrastructure setup, execute a test against individual servers to determine the maximum load per server. Run additional tests against the front-line load balancer to determine overall system degradation as the number of users scales up.
Scripted User Behavior
LoadView can be set up to perform simple page requests or much more detailed scripts of user behavior. By using the EveryStep Web Recorder to record a user interacting with your website, you can recreate those critical actions during a load test from thousands of simultaneous users at once. This gives a more realistic vision of actual users browsing the website, rather than sending GET requests to the server.
Combine Multiple Tools to Obtain a Comprehensive Vision
Combine the LoadView tests with other Dotcom-Monitor tools. For example, MetricsView gathers data about CPU, memory, network bandwidth, and Disk I/O performance. Viewing stress test results alongside Windows performance counters can pinpoint elements that cause undue stress on the hardware, as well as the point where the hardware is maxed out.
LoadView also captures video records of your website performance under heavy load. Recording page load speed in a real web browser allows you to watch how load and render times are affected during load testing. The waterfall chart generated along with the video capture lets you view the response time of every single element on your website when you hit peak traffic, so you can determine which elements need to be optimized. Optimization of such key elements can include shrinking image file sizes, performing code optimization, and compression with a tool such as Minify, and working with a Content Distribution Network (CDN) to distribute the elements to multiple remote servers.
External vs Internal Testing
Load testing a website from inside your own network is relatively easy. LoadView adds the value of load testing your website from multiple locations around the world to ensure that your services and websites are available to all of your customers, no matter where they are located. This is especially vital when preparing for Black Friday. It’s vital that you obtain an external perspective of your services so that you are not lulled into a false sense of security by only viewing performance from within your own network. Distributed load testing can also show you how third-party elements, such as CDN hosted content, perform from each geographic region.
Ultimately, control over an IT environment is only as good as the visibility you have into the system performance, and if you have ever experienced unexpected outages, then you know how valuable tools can be that provide proactive insight. At the very least, LoadView can provide you with baseline acceptable performance metrics when preparing for Black Friday. At the most, you can determine the peak load of your website before a complete failure occurs.