What Is Performance Testing?
Performance testing tracks, monitors, and assesses how your websites and applications respond and perform in various scenarios.
When a website or application begins to slow down or become unresponsive, it’s likely to have approached its maximum operating capacity. This top range of effectiveness can be isolated with performance testing, and results can be gathered to identify possible issues with the website or application and its infrastructure. A performance testing consultant will then be able to provide you and your developers strategies to improve performance.
Whatever the number of users your company serves online, performance testing matters. Any website or application can experience a sudden surge in traffic that can reduce performance and even cause downtime. A performance testing consultant will help you avoid this.
It’s generally recommended that you have your websites and applications performance tested before they go live. Users of online websites and applications have come to expect high performance and near immediate response times. Anything less will hurt your reputation and business.
Performance Testing Goals
The first step in the performance testing process is to determine what precisely you hope to accomplish. A performance testing consultant like those here at LoadView will help identify what your needs are. Performance testing accomplishes several objectives. It can:
- Identify if your website or application meets the desired performance criteria
- Compare two different iterations of a website or application to see which one performs better
- Locate elements that perform poorly
Types of Performance Testing
There are a number of common types of performance testing. Here’s a short list.
- Endurance testing: The primary objective of endurance testing is to ensure that your website or application can maintain a given load over an extended amount of time.
- Load testing: Load testing aims to expose and resolve potential bottlenecks in the website or application and test their effectiveness under a given load.
- Scalability testing: Scalability testing assesses whether a website or application can effectively scale up in the event that the volume of users surges.
- Spike testing: Spike testing determines how a website or application responds to a sudden uptick in traffic or the processing of data. It may be that your website or application can handle gradual increases in traffic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it can handle an explosive surge in traffic, say from a sudden media event or emergency.
- Stress testing: Stress testing might be one of the most important performance tests. The objective of stress testing is to identify the breaking point of a website or application. If you can a breaking point, you will know how far your software can be pushed before it crashes and then plan accordingly.
- Volume testing: Volume testing helps you learn how a website or application responds when varying amounts of data are plugged into it.
If these tests seem vague and confusing, you’re not alone. Our performance testing consultants at LoadView will help you understand the specific testing needed for your website or application and answer any questions you might have about the process.
The Pros & Cons of Performance Testing
Businesses are strongly advised to budget for, and commit to, regular performance testing as part of their development process and general maintenance of websites and applications. Here are some pros and cons to the performance testing process.
- Performance testing can help identify and resolve bottlenecks that might slow down website or application production.
- Performance testing can replicate real world scenarios, which will minimize guess-work. You will come away with a very good idea about where your website or application stands and how it will perform under certain circumstances.
- Performance testing will help you minimize the amount of downtime in your website or application. The cost of web application downtime can be astronomical, not counting the unquantifiable damage to your business’ reputation. The amount of potential revenue lost by passing on performance testing is too much to gamble.
- Performance testing provides a general sense of security and reliability for you and your team. You will not have to wonder if your website or application is ready for surges in traffic.
- Most of the best load testing tools available require a license, which can be expensive. When starting a business, it can be difficult to justify an expense like this. That said, at LoadView we work to make load and performance testing affordable for every business.
- Even if you use an open-source tool like JMeter, a test environment still needs to be created that closely resembles a real world scenario. This can present additional costs.
- Not just anyone can run a performance test. Performance test scripts require specific knowledge of the language supported by the tool used. LoadView is an exception to this, as we provide point and click scripting, which makes it easy for even non-technical users to create complex tests in minutes.
- Inaccurately configuring and scripting a performance test can lead to false performance feedback. This not only puts your website or application at risk when it’s exposed to real-world situations, but it can cost more money in the long-term to resolve the issues. This final point is another strong reason to speak to a performance testing consultant at LoadView.
Performance Testing Process
The performance testing process usually plays out over several steps. There may be small variations, but this is generally how it goes. You can speak to a performance testing consultant and LoadView for more about how they’d recommend you test for your particular requirements.
- Identify the test environment: The more information you can provide to those testing your website or application, the better. They’ll want to know everything about how the software was created, where it’s hosted, and the typical traffic it receives. Your development team will typically be able to provide this information.
- Assess performance acceptance criteria: A performance test will look at response time, throughput, and resource utilization. How far can your website or application stretch before performance degrades and it crashes? With proper performance testing, you’ll learn this and more.
- Prepare and design tests: In this step, we determine how to best simulate a real-world scenario, using varying test data, representative users, and metrics that reflect how the website or application might be used. A performance testing consultant will gather this information and design a tailored test specific to your goals and requirements.
- Set up the test environment: Here we gather and prepare all the tools necessary to complete the test. This will include consolidating information on the test environment, tools used, and resources required to execute each element of the test.
- Apply the designed test: Using the test designed specifically for the website or application in question, here we complete the test design.
- Run the test: Run and assess the designed test. This is where you will be able to see how the website or application performs during testing, and see results after.
- Analyze results and retest (if needed): Finally we analyze and assess the data gathered from the test. This information can be used to determine the quality of your website or application, and it can also determine whether the test was faulty. If needed, the information gathered can be used to redesign the test.
From here, you and your development team can make necessary adjustments before returning to performance testing again, and compare the results. This process will help guide your team in their work on your websites and applications, and possibly create efficiencies and cost savings in the development workflow. It will also help ensure the best user experience for your users.
Speak to a LoadView Performance Testing Consultant
Now you’ve read this brief primer to performance testing, consider setting up a free discovery call with one of our LoadView performance testing consultants. We’ll be happy to help you achieve your performance testing goals.