Website development frameworks are evolving faster than ever, and the website application stack is evolving into a more complex architecture. Testing your website for performance to discover dependency bottlenecks and resilience is a necessity with modern architecture. Load testing your website is one of the critical areas to focus on when going live with the entire system or a particular website feature.  Load testing has been around for a long time. While most developers go for traditional standard load testing methods, like protocol-based website testing, modern websites demand modern load testing approaches.


Protocol-based Website Load Testing

Protocol-based website load testing simulates virtual user load by generating a huge number of specific protocol requests. Then, the performance is measured on the basis of request-response behavior.  HTTP servers are used for generating user load for the website and performance parameters such as response time, response delay, computation time, network delay, etc., are measured under peak conditions.  The following are some protocols that would fall under protocol-based load testing for website performance:



HTTP/S protocol load testing is used to emulate end users using your website on a browser. It is used to determine the expected performance for the user. It is important to note here that no real browser instance is used here.


Asynchronous JavaScript And XML (AJAX)

AJAX protocol load testing is used to test dynamic content request load performance.


Internet Messaging Application Protocol (IMAP)

IMAP load testing is used to determine email reading capacity from the server by the client.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP load testing is used for determining file transfer loads between client and server.



The DNS protocol load testing is used to determine the hostname resolution loads with its IP address.


Advantages of Protocol-based Load Testing

  • Easy to set up and get started with quickly.
  • A high number of virtual user loads can be generated with minimum resources.
  • Many free tools are available for performing protocol-based testing.
  • Test scenarios can be performed without actually developing the website user interface.


Disadvantages of Protocol-based Load Testing

  • Doesn’t simulate real-browser instances that users will actually use.
  • Isolated view of different types of protocols. In a real-world scenario, all protocols work together for the website functionality.
  • Not able to capture user behavior and transaction flows of a website in the browser.
  • Third-party web services/APIs are not taken into consideration which can significantly affect the performance.
  • Not able to test the website for device dependencies.
  • Not suitable for websites and applications that use modern frameworks for client-side computing in the browser.


Why Protocol-based Load Testing is Not Enough for Modern Websites

Protocol-based load testing is one of the basic and traditional ways of testing your website performance. It gives quick insights about the functionality of your website under load conditions. However, it is most likely that your website is built on modern frameworks that rely heavily on browsers for computing and rendering respective components.  If you do only protocol-based load testing for your websites and applications, you will miss out on the most important aspects of user experience and flows. Let’s breakdown a few more points about modern websites and web applications.

  • Modern websites leverage browser engines for faster user experience.
  • JavaScript and CSS computing is done in the browser, and then a final computing request is sent to the server. This request does not capture all the actions performed on the client-side by leveraging the browser.
  • It measures the network and server’s performance and doesn’t really execute or render HTML/CSS/JavaScript.
  • Browsers also use a cache mechanism to serve repetitive static assets and don’t relay them to the server.
  • Single Page Applications (SPAs) transactions cannot be tested with only protocol-based load testing. Pre-computing and post-computing for request-response are heavily dependent on the browser used.
  • Dynamic content on the website also relies heavily on the browser, device type, and user location. Protocol-based load testing does not take this into account.


Browser-based Load Testing for Modern Websites

Browser-based load testing takes advantage of creating real-browser instances for generating load for testing. These real-browser instances provide the most realistic conditions as your end users would be using real browsers for accessing your website.  Real-browser instances render HTML/CSS code, and execute JavaScript code in the browser for all your tests, simulating real-world scenarios for accessing the website. It enables you to measure actual website performance from the end user perspective. For example, rather than just validating authentication protocol, Browser-based load testing gives you the ability to assess the login flow and measure page performance.


Advantages of Browser-based Load testing

  • Comprehensive load testing for all types of websites using modern frameworks.
  • Detailed user-experience performance analysis in CI/CD pipeline.
  • Accurate load test results with most-realistic end user conditions.
  • Assessment of third-party web services/API behavior on client-side.
  • Identifying scope front-end optimization by leveraging browser capabilities for enhanced user experience.
  • Capability to test any type of user behavior, flow, or transaction.


LoadView for Protocol-based and Browser-based Load Testing

LoadView is a cloud-based load testing tool that allows you to test websites, web applications, web services, APIs, etc. Its intuitive and simple interface gives you the capability to design load tests cases fairly quickly without any coding experience. You can run load test cases for almost any scenario using its load curves features and options. Below are just some of the advantages for protocol-based and browser-based testing using LoadView:

  • Create simple and complex user scripts with the EveryStep Web Recorder with a few clicks.
  • Run protocol-based load tests along with dynamic API load testing.
  • 40+ Real desktop/mobile browsers and devices are used for generating the load to achieve real-world scenarios.
  • Adjust your loads dynamically for fine tuning your test cases.
  • The website load is tested from geo-locations around the world for identifying location-based bottlenecks.
  • Scalable load testing based on your requirements without having to worry about testing infrastructure.
  • Load tests virtually any kind of interactive content such as mouse clicks, keyboard actions, dynamic elements, form submissions, menu selections, and more, including streaming platforms.


Learn more about what LoadView has to offer.


Conclusion: Protocol-based Website Load Testing

Protocol-based load testing is useful for quickly testing your website for request-response scenarios and network and server performance. However, if you are focused more on user experience or you have a website with modern frameworks, using a real browser-based load testing platform gives you the capability to see how your website will behave for end users. Browser-based load testing requires little to no coding experience, and test scenarios are very simple to create. Using a cloud-based load testing platform like LoadView, you can get started with load testing your website in no time and have the capability to test your website on real-browsers, devices, and from multiple geo-locations.

Get started with LoadView today. Sign up for the free trial now!