The Ultimate Guide to JMeter
Load & Performance Testing Tutorial

JMeter Guide Overview

Performance testing is an extremely important aspect of the software and application development life cycle. If your web applications, sites, or APIs are going to be used by large numbers of users, you need to know how they are going to stand up to peak traffic or extended periods of sustained high traffic. A quick search for performance testing tools will uncover many free, open-source, and commercial-based options. One such popular tool is Apache JMeter. If you are new to performance testing, you might be asking yourself what is JMeter? And how does JMeter work?

JMeter is an extremely popular open-source Java-based performance testing tool for running protocol-based load tests against various web and software services, APIs (SOAP and REST), web applications, and other web services. Compared to other performance and load testing tools and solutions that you see in the market today, JMeter was one of the earliest tools introduced to the performance testing market, which is why it is still popular and widely used to this day. This guide will set out to cover all the various aspects, benefits, features, and disadvantages of JMeter. We will look at how JMeter works, how to carry out performance tests, with JMeter, alternatives to JMeter, and much more.

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JMeter – How it Works

At a basic level, JMeter works by simulating visitors to your application or service by allowing users to create and send HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests to the server. The server response data is then collected, and the statistical data is displayed visually for users in the form of charts and reports. From the data gathered and created reports, users can observe application behavior and performance bottlenecks, offering insight into where application improvements need to be made. It is important to note that JMeter is not a browser, meaning it works just at the protocol level, and does not support all the actions made by the client or user, such as rendering JavaScript.

Despite this limitation, JMeter does provide a workaround for these issues, by offering features and elements like cache manager, cookie manager, and header manager, which allows JMeter the ability to act and perform more like a real browser would. JMeter is a Java-based desktop application, so in order to begin to use JMeter, there are various prerequisites that you must meet before you can start your performance test. For example, you must have the latest version of Java installed and must meet the minimum system requirements to be able to use JMeter. Compared to SaaS-based load testing tools, this may take some additional time and resources.

Is JMeter the Best Load Testing Tool?

LoadView Goal Based Curve

JMeter has been one of the most popular open-source load testing tools for a very long time, which makes it one of the most common tools that developers and software development teams are comfortable using when it comes to carrying out performance tests. Additionally, because of its longevity in the market, there is a large amount of documentation, community support, and best practices to using JMeter. Add to the fact that it is a free, open-source software, from a budgeting standpoint, it makes it an attractive solution for teams and organizations, as there are little to no resources needed to get started.

However, as technology changed and the rise of SaaS-based software become more prevalent, so did load and stress testing solutions. While there is still a need for open-source load testing solutions like JMeter, there are many cloud-based solutions that come packaged with all the features, benefits, and support, for a cost-effective month-to-month price. For example, the shift from protocol-based tests to browser-based tests is critical for understanding performance from the user’s perspective. Today’s modern browsers provide a lot more functionality and support for web applications compared to browsers from the early 1990s. To gather all that necessary performance data from client-side, you need a tool or solution that can support load testing in real browsers.

Performance vs. Load Testing with JMeter—What’s The Difference?

When we generally think about performance testing, or when the term performance testing is used, what usually comes to mind is load testing. Even more, those terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, there is a difference. Load and stress testing are just subsets, or types, of the performance tests within the performance testing family. Load testing can be executed against various systems, websites, web apps, APIs, and more. Simulated load is applied, typically starting at lower levels, and slowly increasing load over time, in order to gauge performance under load and how the overall system responds.

Stress testing and load testing are related, but the goal of stress testing is to increase the amount of load until the system fails, or performance is degraded. Typically, load testing will have pre-defined load limits, so as not to cause the system to fail. Other types of performance tests include spike testing, endurance testing, scalability testing, and volume testing. While the execution plans and goals of these types of performance tests differs, performance testing is carried out to understand why your applications may be loading slower than expected, identifying scalability issues related to disk or CPU usage, or what specific elements or components are hindering performance.

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How to Perform Load Testing with JMeter:
Step by Step Instructions for Beginners

An open-source performance testing tool like JMeter provides organizations the ability to run performance tests for their web applications, websites, and APIs, but not have to deal with any upfront investments that come with commercial-based, or paid, performance testing tools. When picking an open-source desktop-based load testing solution like JMeter versus a paid web-based solution, such as LoadView, there are many considerations to think about. If you are just a beginner to JMeter, you may want to take some time to understand how it all works and read appropriate articles or watch videos on how to get started with JMeter. Let us look at some of the steps involved to install JMeter and how to configure a basic load test.

Dotcom-Monitor Reports

Step 1: Verify System Requirements

Just like any other desktop application, you need to make sure your system meets the necessary basic requirements to be able to run JMeter. Like we mentioned previously in this guide, JMeter is a Java-based application, so you need to ensure you have Java installed, as well as the correct version. JMeter is compatible with versions of Java 8 or higher. Additionally, for performance and security, it is recommended that you install the latest minor versions of JMeter. JMeter can run on different Windows, Mac, and Linux operation systems, so make sure to verify that your OS is compatible or that you have a compliant Java implementation.

Step 2: Download JMeter Binaries or Source Code

Once you have verified that your system meets all the necessary system requirements, you can download the latest JMeter binaries or source files, depending on your specific environment or requirements. The binary files contain the compiled versions of the JMeter program, and you can run it immediately. On the other hand, source files can be installed without utilizing a package manager, allowing developers or teams to configure and compile the program themselves and have more control over the programs installed. In most cases, the binary versions of software are installed. And note that there are different file download types, including .zip, and .tgz file extensions.

Step 3: JMeter Installation Process

Once you have picked the binary or source version of JMeter, it will download to your system. You can choose to open the file, move it to a new location, or create a new folder location within your system for quicker access later. From there you can begin to extract the file. This can take a few minutes to complete the entire installation process. Depending on your operating system, you may encounter different steps during the installation process, but once JMeter has been installed, the functionality of JMeter will be the same.

Step 4: JMeter User Interface

When you start JMeter, you will open and be brought to the Test Plan window. From here, you will be able to build your test plan. This window includes access to the Menu and Main Tool Bar located near the top left-hand side of the window. You can access some of the same features from the Menu and Main Tool Bar, but the Main Tool Bar provides quicker access to some of the tools and functionalities you will be using during the load test creation and configuration process. Near the top right-hand side of the window, you will see options for time, logs (view/hide), and users during the test execution.
The main section, called the Editor section, is where you will be able to see and configure the various Test Plan elements and fields for your load test. To the left of the Editor section, you will see the tree view of the Test Plan as you go through the test creation and configuration process and can expand and close individual elements to drill down into them individually.

JMeter

Step 5: Create a Load Test Plan

JMeter users can begin creating their load test plan from scratch or also select from various test plan templates located from the File drop-down menu. Templates include SOAP WebService Test Plan, basic and advanced Web Test Plan, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Test Plan, Functional Testing Plan, and others. These test templates will include all the necessary specific elements, sections, and fields that you will use to create and build your load test plan. If you are new to performance testing or JMeter itself, you may initially prefer to utilize templates instead of building your test plan from scratch, before moving on to more advanced test plans.

To being creating a Test Plan, simple navigate to File and select New or select the New button from the Tool Bar. It is important to note that you must run JMeter in GUI mode to create the Test Plan. The CLI, or command line interface, is used to execute the load test. Next, we will talk about specifying the number of users for your load test, which is also knowns as the Thread Group.

Step 6: Create Thread Group

Within the Thread Group dialog box, you can set and adjust multiple Thread Properties, such as Number of Threads (Users), Ramp-up period (in seconds), and Loop Count (how many test iterations), as well as additional actions, like delays, test start and stop times, and actions to take after a Sampler error.

Step 7: Configure Sampler

In JMeter, Samplers are what allow JMeter to send the different types of requests. For example, these can be an HTTP request (for a website, application, or API), FTP request, SMTP request, TCP request, as well as many others. For example, if you want to run a load test against a web page or website, you will select HTTP request. From here you are displayed with entering additional details such as the Protocol (HTTP/S), Server Name or IP, Path (for specific web page), and what type of request, such as GET, POST, HEAD, PUT, etc., which can be used for API load testing.

Step 8: Configure Listeners

To be able to review the Sampler results, you must next configure what is known as Listeners in JMeter. Within the JMeter Test Plan window, you can select from many different Listeners, such as Summary Report, Aggregate Graph, View Results Tree, View Results in Table, plus many other options, to view and analyze your test results. Additionally, you can add multiple Listeners to a JMeter Test Plan. From this point, your Test Plan is complete, and you can run the test.

Step 9: Recording the Load Test Scripts

If you are just looking to run a basic HTTP, or protocol-level, load tests, in terms of test configuration, then there is really nothing more that you need to do. However, if you need to configure a test that more closely resembles user actions, you will need to use their HTTP(S) Test Script Recorder. So, within JMeter, this adds another step in the Test Plan. Within the Thread Group, you will need to add the Recording Controller. The Recording Controller allows you to navigate through a site or application, and it will record your actions via HTTP/S requests. You can also add multiple Recording Controllers per page. The Recording Controller saves time, so you do not have to manually add each request.

However, the drawback is that you are still recording the HTTP/S requests, you are not actually recording steps within a real browser, from the user’s perspective. Now, you can use the JMeter Proxy Server as well, which allows you to record scripts from a browser, but to configure this takes a while to set up. You must go into your system’s proxy settings, import the JMeter certificate, and then finally configuring the proxy settings.

Alternatively, a solution like LoadView, which uses the EveryStep Web Recorder, is a big step up from the recording options from JMeter, such as point and click scripting in real browsers with none of the time-consuming and complex set up. Simply open the recorder and begin scripting.

Step 10: Execute the Load Test

After you have configured all your load test details and settings, you can simply select the Run button in the Tool Bar and your test will begin. Remember to run the test in CLI mode to get better results.

Step 11: Review the Load Test Results

Depending on what type of Listener you chose, you can view the results as the test runs. For example, if you selected View Results in Table, you would see the results displayed as each run, or user, is executed. Also included in the results will be additional metrics, such as Time (in milliseconds), Status (shows valid responses and errors), Bytes and Bytes Sent, Latency, and Connect Time. From these results you can see where any errors occurred or where there may be slow load times.

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Performance Testing with JMeter
How It Differs from Load Testing

Earlier in this guide, we talked about what performance testing is and the different types of performance tests that exist under the umbrella of performance testing, such as load tests, stress tests, scalability tests, spike tests, etc. If we look at what JMeter offers, we will see that it is best suited for executing load tests and stress tests. However, because the load is simulated from your own device, it will be difficult to determine actual real-world test results using JMeter just based on protocol-based tests.

Even more, as more applications rely on the browser instead of the server for functionality and performance, you should also be shifting away from tools that can only carry out protocol-based load tests. On the JMeter website, it clearly states that it cannot execute or render JavaScript as a browser does, only the response timings are included. Being able to test how your application or page renders under load is a big part of the user’s experience. Not only that, but your users are not all located in the same geographic region as your company. The right performance testing tool should also provide a way of easily carrying out external distributed testing for better insight into actual performance across geographic regions.

A solution like LoadView, which is also suited for load, stress, spike, and scalability testing, provides features like real browsers, distributed testing, multiple load curve scenarios, and a point and click scripting tool, making it a great solution for performance testing your sites, web applications, APIs, and other web services.

How to Perform API Testing with JMeter
Complete Instructions

In the previous section, we discussed the step-by-step instructions on how to set up a protocol-based load test on a website or application with JMeter. In this section we will touch on testing different APIs, such as SOAP and REST APIs, with JMeter. The installation and setup process are the same as above, so we will not explain or cover that entire process again. However, we will cover some of the basics around API testing as well as considerations around performing API testing with JMeter.

REST API Testing

REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs, or RESTful APIs, are used in the development of various web services. Unlike SOAP APIs, REST is not a protocol, rather, it is an architectural style that is based on URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers) and the HTTP protocol. REST is commonly used for displaying public APIs over the Internet. When a user/client makes a REST API request, it is like searching for something on the Internet. You enter what you are looking for and you get a list of results back, or in the case of REST APIs, resources. However, with a REST request, there are various components, such as header, data (body), method, and endpoint (the route of the URL). What you get back from the request is typically in JSON or XML format, but JSON is the most used format. SOAP APIs only allow for XML format.

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Step 1: Create a Test Plan

To begin, open JMeter. You will see that there is a new Test Plan window will open. Or, if you already have JMeter open, you can select the New button from the Main Tool Bar to create a new Test Plan.

Step 2: Create the Thread Group

Like we covered in the earlier section, the Thread Group window is where you can add the number of users (Threads), set the ramp-up time, and number of test iterations (Loop Count).

Step 3: Configure Sampler

Next, we need to add the Sampler. You can choose from some pre-configured Samplers in JMeter or select from one of your own. For the purposes of this API testing scenario, we will assume that we are using a pre-configured option. To do this, right-click on the Thread Group to open the drop-down window. Select Add, then Sampler. From here you can view the list of Sampler options. For testing APIs, we will want to select HTTP Request and this will open the next window. From here, you can name your test, as well as configure the settings for your REST API test. One thing to note is that there are two sections, Basic and Advanced, within the HTTP Request window. We will focus on the Basic settings for this test. You will notice various fields, such as Protocol, Server Name or IP, Port Number, HTTP Request (GET/POST/HEAD/PUT/DELETE, etc.), parameters, and more.

So, to begin, enter the API URL in the Server Name or IP (Internet Protocol) field (just the domain name), along with the appropriate protocol, and in the Path field, add the path of the API. If this is a GET request, select GET from the HTTP Request list. If you have certain parameters, such as a specific page, you can add that portion of the URL in the Parameters field. You can also include it in the Path field as well, however, by adding it to the Parameters field, you have additional field options, such as URL Encode?, Content-Type, and Include Equals?

Lastly, in some of your requests, you will need to provide your request headers. To do this, just navigate to HTTP Request in the Test Plan window. Right-clicking will open the drop-down menu. From here select Add, then Config Element. An additional note about this drop-down menu is that this is also where you would go to add any API authentication methods. This will open the options you have available. For this example, we will choose HTTP Header Manager. This will open the HTTP Header Manager window, where you can add your API headers. Once you have finalized your settings, you can move on to the next step.

Step 4: Add Listeners

Listeners are what are used to save and view the test results. You can add as many Listeners as you want. To add Listeners, just right-click on the Thread Group and select Add, then Listener. This will open the drop-down menu, where you will see over 15 options to choose from. Commonly chosen listeners include View Results Tree and View Results in Table. Just note that for Listeners that provide a graphical representation, such as View Results Tree, it will consume more memory and CPU. Once your Listeners have been added, you can save your test plan.

Step 5: Run the Test and View Results

After you have configured and saved your load test details and settings, you can select the Run button in the Tool Bar and your test will begin. You will see your Sampler results load in the window and provide the various details, data, and metrics, such as latency, response codes, connect time, etc., of your REST API test.

SOAP API Testing

REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs, or RESTful Creating a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) API test in JMeter is like the steps to create a REST API load test. However, SOAP is different from a REST API, as it is its own protocol, so there are considerations that need to be made when load testing SOAP APIs, such as security and compliance, bandwidth (SOAP APIs typically need more resources), and functionality, such as retry logic, which REST APIs do not have. Let us look at the steps involved to create a SOAP API test in JMeter.

pagespeed insights

Step 1: Test Plan

We have touched on this in the previous sections, but JMeter provides a variety of Test Plan templates. These can be accessed through the Menu or the Templates icon located in the Main Tool Bar. There is an option called Building a SOAP WebService TestPlan. Selecting this will create and open the Test Plan. You will see additional sections, such as User Defined Variables, HTTP Request Defaults, Number of Users, etc. And since this is a template, there will also be placeholder values in some of the fields where you will need to enter the appropriate data and information.

Step 2: Thread Group

Like we covered in the REST API configuration, you will need to add your number of users, or Threads, ramp-up period, and Loops, or test iterations. As a sub-group within the main Thread Group, you will be able to access the HTTP Request settings, like we covered for the REST API setup. However, the look and feel of this section is a bit different, as it will default to showing the body of the SOAP API request. Also included is the HTTP Header Manger and Response Assertations sub-sections. And like the REST API configuration, you can also add additional Config Elements, such as the HTTP Authorization Manager, for cases where you need to include your specific authorization details.

Step 3: Test Samplers

For a SOAP API load test, you will want to add the HTTP Request Sampler. From this window, you can enter the appropriate details, such as Server Name or IP, Path, HTTP Request, Port Number, as well as the Body Data of the SOAP request.

 

Step 4: Test Listeners and Run Test

Once you have configured the Test Plan, the last item on the list is to add your Listeners, which will display the results of your test. Again, you can add as many Listeners as you like and as appropriate for the SOAP API load test.

 

Step 5: Run SOAP API Load Test

Once your Test Plan configuration and settings have been set, you can finally run your SOAP API load test and review the results once it has finished.

REST & SOAP API Testing with JMeter: Summary

As you can see, setting up a REST or SOAP API load test with JMeter comes with a lot of different steps and configuration options, which equates to a lot of time spent setting up tests, rather than running them. A solution like LoadView provides you with simple options and navigation through creating a test for either your REST or SOAP APIs. The LoadView solution removes all these complicated steps and provides a user-friendly interface that walks you through each step, so there is no time-consuming configuration or time spent going back and forth fine-tuning the test. The solution can also execute tests with different load curves, to better simulate your test requirements, as well as offering more than 20 geographic locations to run your API tests from. With JMeter, the number of users, or Threads, is dependent the hardware capabilities of your device, which can affect the number of users, as well as your test results. In the next section we talk more about LoadView and other JMeter alternatives, so you can get a better idea of what different load testing solutions offer.
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JMeter Alternatives – Free and Paid

As a developer or software tester, you know that while functional testing is important, performance testing is a critical step of the software development process. Your application may work just fine, but what good does it do if your application does not load properly when hit by hundreds or thousands of users? To the user, this is going to cause frustration and subsequently, they will leave whatever it was they were planning to do. You cannot hope they will come back. If your websites, applications, or APIs are going to be accessed by many users, whether it is externally, from different geographic regions, or internally, from within your own organization, they need to be tested to ensure load times are low, response times are fast, and that content renders correctly. All these metrics and more are responsible for delivering a seamless user experience.

The right performance testing tool can make all the difference. And while there is no shortage of free, open-source, and paid performance testing tools and solutions, it really comes down to what best fits your needs, your team’s expertise, and budget. Open-source performance testing tools like JMeter, while free, cannot meet some of the performance testing demands that today’s applications require.

LoadView

LoadView is one of the best paid performance testing solutions in the market today. The solution offers plenty of features, like a point and click script recorder, access to a global network of load injector servers, and the ability to set up different load curve scenarios for more testing flexibility. Unlike JMeter, there is no additional infrastructure or considerations needed. Everything is managed for you. And, unlike JMeter, which can only provide protocol-level load tests, LoadView uses real browsers, so you can observe actual performance for your most critical sites, applications, and APIs. LoadView also offers multiple options, such as whitelisting static proxy IPs or using an on-site agent, to run tests on applications behind your firewall, giving you and your teams even more flexibility when it comes to performance testing.

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LoadView
LoadView provides easy to read performance reports and dashboards, so you can clearly understand what elements are contributing to less-than-ideal performance, as well as including a reference video for web page and web application tests, so you can compare the video with the reports, so you can see and compare firsthand what it looks like from your user’s perspective. LoadView offers month-to-month and annual plans, along with 24×7 support for all customers, no matter what plan you have like some other tools do. LoadView also uses the same platform as the solutions in Dotcom-Monitor, so you can use the scripts you created during load testing for continuous monitoring. Lastly, LoadView is constantly developing and releasing new features. Some recent updates include load testing for streaming media and support for load testing Postman Collections.

WebLOAD

WebLoad

WebLoad, from RadView, is another commercial-based, or paid, performance testing solution that you may come across when doing research on find the right load testing tool for you and your team. Depending on your specific needs, WebLoad comes in a couple of different options: a self-hosted model or a cloud-based model. Regardless of which option you choose, the software has the same look and feel.

However, the on-premises version is like JMeter, where you must host and manage it from your own hardware, but WebLoad providers additional functionality, like hosting it within your own cloud provider, if you have one. The reasons for why a company would choose to self-host could be due to security issues or policies, as well as just having more control over the deployment. The SaaS-based option is like LoadView, where the testing infrastructure is fully managed for you.

In terms of creating test scripts, WebLoad scripts uses Selenium as a proxy-based recorder to script load testing scenarios, however, which can be difficult to use if you are not familiar with Selenium. Selenium on its own has its drawbacks, but that is where WebLoad comes in to provide load testing capabilities, like large numbers of concurrent users, reporting, technical support, and more. As far as pricing and plans, pricing is not available on their site, so you must contact them for pricing. Additionally, their plans are limited to three options: Trial, Professional, and Enterprise. Their Professional plan only offers three load generators. To access unlimited locations, you must choose the Enterprise plan.

Eggplant

Eggplant, from Keysight Technologies, is an automation platform designed for all the factors of the software development process, such as functional testing and monitoring. The solution provides AI-assisted testing to help reduce testing time and provide faster deployment of software applications.

Eggplant Logo
Like JMeter, their performance testing product, Eggplant Performance, must be installed on your local system. And like any software, there are certain prerequisites that must be met to be able to install it. Even more, Eggplant Performance is made up of multiple components, like the Performance Studio, Test Controller, and Analyzer, Performance Injectors, and Web Virtual Users, all which have different hardware requirements.

Eggplant Performance requires some training, especially for inexperienced users. Their scripting tool acts as a proxy recorder to capture all the HTTP traffic between server/client. Users have additional options, such as importing scripts from Selenium or HAR (HTTP Archive) files. In terms of pricing compared to other load testing tools, there is no pricing listed, so you must contact their team for a quote, however, they do offer a free trial.

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Stress Stimulus

Stress Stimulus is load and stress testing solution that can be used to test websites, web applications, and APIs. The product must be downloaded to a local machine, but can be configured to run from the cloud, whether it is through load generators instantiated on your own machines, private cloud, or in public cloud networks like AWS (Amazon Web Services) or Azure or installed on-premises from a single machine. 

The tool provides a variety of benefits and features, such as a creating load testing scripts/scenarios from the browser with a Test Wizard, support for many protocols and web application technologies, and support for basic authentication methods. Stress Stimulus also works with Fiddler to combine performance testing and debuggging. Stress Stimulus provides multiple product editions, such as Free, Pro, Enterprise, and Service Provider, and each edition allows users access to specific features and benefits.

Gatling

Gatling is another popular open-source load testing tool. Like JMeter, it has been around for a very long time in the performance testing industry. Gatling utilizes a few different technologies at its core: Scala, Netty, and Akka, which may not be something that most developers or teams are familiar with.

gatling

Typically, frameworks like Python, JavaScript, PHP, C#, and others are some of the more common frameworks you would see. Despite this, Gatling is still popular and widely used because Scala can run on most systems. Some of the benefits of Gatling including creating load tests as code, running multiple virtual users within a single thread (Unlike JMeter), and can be integrated into CI environments. However, despite these advantages, Gatling is limited in the number of technologies and protocols it supports, does not provide a user-friendly interface (which may not be a factor if your team is more technical), and because it is an open-source solution, it has a smaller community of members which may limit your ability to get help or support when you need it.

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LoadRunner

LoadRunner, from MicroFocus, is another legacy load testing solution that many developers and teams have heard of, or have even used, as it has been around for a long time. Over time, the functionality and names have changed. There are currently three different LoadRunner packages: LoadRunner Professional, LoadRunner Enterprise, and LoadRunner Cloud (formerly StormRunner). 

Some of the features and benefits of LoadRunner include supporting over 50 web and mobile application technologies and frameworks, support for over 50 scripting technologies, and integrations with many of the CI (Continuous Integration) and collaboration tools your team already uses. LoadRunner and its family of products and solutions has always been more of an enterprise-level load testing solution, so cost for these solutions, and associated solutions, is going to be quite high compared so other cloud-based load testing tools.

Locust

Locust is an open-source load testing tool based on the Python framework. Like other open-source tools we have discussed, the upside to Locust is that provides a way to create load tests in code, however, since there is no user interface, there is no functionality for an easy-to-use script recorder, like the LoadView solution provides, and it only captures and supports HTTP protocol responses. It is not suited for understanding performance at the client level. 

Locust

However, if you have a knowledgeable team that is comfortable with Python, and your fine running smaller-scale load tests, it is a non-issue. Additionally, with Locust, unlike cloud-based load testing platforms, you must use your local machine to run distributed tests, and if it cannot support the number of concurrent users, you must utilize additional machines, so again, there are additional considerations to consider.

blazemeter

BlazeMeter

BlazeMeter is a paid, SaaS-based functional and performance testing tool, that builds on the open-source features of JMeter, expanding its capabilities, such as scaling up load tests, access to external load injectors, comprehensive and easy to read reports and dashboards, and support for other open-source platforms, like Gatling, Selenium, Locust, Cucumber, and more. 

Users get the advantages of using a free, open-source tool with some of the advantages of load testing from the cloud. However, some of the features that are included in all the LoadView plans, such as an easy-to-use point and click script recorder, testing behind the firewall, and 24/7 support are only accessible within the higher-tiered BlazeMeter plans.

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Gatling vs. JMeter vs. LoadView

As we have discussed in this guide, the tool you decide on for your performance tests, whether it is an open-source or paid load testing tool, should support the applications, technologies, and protocols you are testing, is user-friendly, and can provide the necessary reports and data, so you and your teams can properly understand where performance issues are occurring.

We have already talked about some of the more popular JMeter alternatives, but now let us compare Gatling, JMeter and LoadView, and which one we consider to be the best suited for load and stress testing web applications, sites, and APIs.

Choosing the Right Performance Testing Tool: Gatling vs. JMeter vs. LoadView

When it comes to choosing the right performance testing tool, there are always certain advantages and disadvantages that each tool offers. Gatling and JMeter are both popular open-source tools that offer the ability for more customization and modification by development teams. However, that means that there may be more of a learning curve if you and your team are just starting out with these tools. The flexibility of scripting often comes with additional configurations that can end up becoming more time-consuming than intended. On the other hand, LoadView is a fully managed cloud-based performance testing solution that can run browser-based tests and supports scripting from real browsers, a feature that JMeter and Gatling do not offer. Additionally, since both Gatling and JMeter are installed on a local device, running large-scale tests is difficult due to system constraints.

Advantages of a Browser-based Load Testing Tool

A browser-based load testing tool like LoadView offers many of the features and benefits that open-source tools cannot provide. For example, when load testing web applications, LoadView uses the EveryStep Web Recorder which allows users to create scripts (desktop and mobile browsers) simply by navigating through the application or page like you intend your users to do. There is no coding or manual scripting involved like JMeter and Gatling require, however, if you need to customize the script in any way, you can do so. Setup and test configuration is also simple and straightforward.

Streaming Media Load Injector Payload

The LoadView solution takes you through each step of the process, so you and your teams can focus on test execution. Lastly, LoadView users have access to over 20 load injector servers around the world, so testing from locations where your users are located will give you more realistic performance data versus capturing HTTP responses from your local machine. View reports, dashboards, and waterfall charts to understand how your application, website, or API responded to the load test.

BlazeMeter vs JMeter vs. LoadView

Like we have touched on in the previous sections in this guide, BlazeMeter is the cloud-based load testing version of JMeter, providing a way for developers to take their load test to the next level, and removing the limitations of JMeter, such as reporting, scripting/protocol support, and testing complex web applications. BlazeMeter and LoadView are both cloud-based load testing platforms that allow developers and teams to scale up their load tests and run them from multiple geo-locations. However, compared to a solution like LoadView, BlazeMeter is a complex and expensive solution, providing more than just load testing capabilities, and now provides functional testing and API testing and monitoring as part of their packages and plans, which some teams may find unnecessary.

While open-source load testing tools like JMeter still have a place in performance testing, web applications and technologies are becoming more complex, which is why a solution like LoadView is ideal. LoadView supports all the popular protocols, frameworks, and browsers, different load curve options for more realistic testing, and is a cost-effective solution compared to other cloud-based solutions in the market.

Flexible. Scalable. Powerful.

All from one convenient load testing solution.

The Ultimate JMeter FAQ

Performance testing is a critical piece of the application development process. Open-source tools, like JMeter, provide a free and easy way for developers and teams to carry out protocol-based load testing. Not only that, but performance testing also ensures that the time and effort that was put into developing web applications pays off when put in front of your users. Slow loading applications, sites, and APIs will detract from their experience. JMeter is a load testing tool that has been around for a very long time and has an extensive set of features, capabilities, and configuration considerations.

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about JMeter.

Table of Contents

 

What is the JMeter ramp up period?

When configuring your load test within JMeter, one of the fields users must consider is the ramp-up period. The ramp-up period is the length of time it takes to reach the number of users, or threads, you set in your test. For example, if you set your number of threads at five and your ramp-up period is 50 seconds, there will be a 10 second delay between each thread. Setting a ramp-up period ensures that all the threads do not execute at the same time and avoids too high of a workload at the beginning of the test.

 

What is a JMeter JSON extractor, and how does it work?

The JMeter JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) Extractor, or as it is called with JMeter, the JSON Post-Processor, does exactly as the name implies. It allows users to extract data, or text content, from JSON responses and compare those to the request, or pass those values on to another request. We talked earlier in this guide about JMeter Samplers, which are what perform the actual work of your JMeter test. If you are using the JSON Extractor, this must be created as a child element under the Sampler you have indicated.

 

Can I used JMeter in a command line format?

The load test plan in JMeter is created in GUI (Graphical User Interface) mode. Once the test has been created, the test itself can be run in CLI (Command Line Interface) mode, which had been previously called Non-GUI mode. Executing the test in CLI mode consumes less memory, therefore more threads can be used on a load generator.

 

What is the maximum throughput for JMeter?

The amount of throughput that JMeter can utilize depends on the hardware of your local machine. You can determine the throughput by trial and error, and increase the number of users, or threads, and when you start getting error messages about hitting your memory capacity. There are some workarounds to increase the number of users, such as running in CLI mode, increasing heap space, or memory, using LAN (Local Area Networks) connection instead of Wi-Fi, or run scripts across additional machines.

 

Is JMeter the best free load testing tool?

While JMeter is one of the most popular free open-source load testing tools, there are many other free load testing tools available. It comes down to the applications or technologies you need support for, the capabilities of your team, and what type of test results and reports you need. There are many tools that use different scripting frameworks and extensibility features, so finding the one that best meets your needs is important. The paid load testing solutions are typically more complete and remove a lot of the hassle of having to manually create and configure load tests.

 

What are the best paid alternatives to JMeter?

Today, development teams and performance testers have many free and paid alternatives to JMeter. We discussed some of these in the sections above, such as LoadView, WebLoad, BlazeMeter, and LoadRunner. Some of the advantages paid tools have over open-source tools is that they reduce the amount of time to have to configure and script load tests, typically support more technologies and frameworks, provide access to more load generators so you do not have to manage the network, and dedicated support.

 

How do I Install JMeter?

Installing JMeter is straightforward and simple, however, because it needs to be installed on a local machine, the machine you install JMeter on must meet specific system requirements. Additionally, because JMeter is a Java application, you must have a compliant, or up to date version of Java installed. JMeter provides a couple of different of binary and source files for users to choose from.

 

How do I load test using JMeter?

There are several steps involved to load test using JMeter and these steps can differ, depending on what it is your testing. We discussed, in detail, the process of setting up load tests with JMeter in the previous sections of this guide, but for simplicity, these are the steps involved for load testing with JMeter:

  • Configure your load test plan.
  • Add and Configure your Thread Group.
    • Recording Controller
    • Number of Threads (Users)
    • Ramp-Up Period
    • Loop Count (Iterations)
  • Test Script Recorder (if recording user interactions)
    • Network settings
    • Install Certificate
    • Browser settings
  • Add and Configure Sampler
    • HTTP, FTP, SMTP, or TCP Requests, etc.
    • Server Name or IP
    • URL path
  • Add and Configure Listener
    • Summary Report, Aggregate Graph, View Results Tree, View Results in Table, etc.
  • Run Test
    • Collect and view test results.

What’s a good example of JMeter BeanShell assertion?

Within JMeter, users can use built-in BeanShell components. BeanShell is an open-source Java-based interpreter. BeanShell provides users with multiple benefits, like application and scripting extensibility, debugging, and working with Java objects and APIs dynamically. There are many assertions that JMeter supports depending on your test scenario. The BeanShell Assertion in JMeter allows users to check specific assertion using a BeanShell script. An example of this would be to check if a server is returning a specific response or string or a value in a JSON field. There are also pre-defined variables that can be implemented into the script, such as FailureMessage, SamplerData, SampleResult, etc. It is noted within JMeter that users should move to JSR223 Test Elements and switching from BeanShell to Groovy functions.

 

Is there such as thing as a JMeter online certification?

There is no official JMeter online certification through the JMeter site itself, however, there are JMeter online certifications though other companies, such as BlazeMeter, Udemy, VSkills, Edureka, and others. There are also some great tutorials from regular JMeter users on YouTube that can be accessed to help walk you through specific steps or troubleshoot any issues you may be experiencing.

 

Can JMeter parse a JSON response?

During the Test Plan creation and setup in JMeter, users have the option to choose from several Post Processors. One of these includes the JSON Extractor. This feature allows users to pull the specific data you need using the JSON-PATH syntax and is configured after Sampler (as a child element). There are several attributes in the JSON-PATH Post-Processor window, like Name, Variable names, JSON Path expressions, Match Numbers, Compute concatenation var, etc.

 

Can you use JMeter with Jenkins and Maven?

JMeter can be used with CI/CD and management tools, like Jenkins and Maven. Jenkins, like JMeter is also an open-source Java-based tool, allowing users to automate their tests. Maven is used to build and managing Java-based projects. For using JMeter with Jenkins, you must have an active Jenkins account (as well as installing the Git plugin) and have Jenkins installed on the same machine that you have JMeter installed on. Your JMeter scripts should be saved in Git so that they can be accessed via Jenkins. Once you have tied your accounts together, you can go through the process of configuring and creating your test via Jenkins. With Maven, JMeter provides a plugin that can be accessed through GitHub, allowing users to run tests through your Maven project as opposed to running them as scripts.

 

What is a JMeter Post-Processor?

Within the JMeter load test setup, there are Pre-Processors and Post-Processors. Pre-Processors execute some action prior to a Sampler request, such as getting data from web page. On the other hand, a Post-Processor runs after a Sampler element and is typically used to extract, or parse, data from the HTTP response.

 

What is a JMeter prev variable?

The prev variable is one of several variables used in Apache Groovy scripts before the script is executed. Other examples include log (Logger), ctx (JMeterContext object), vars (JMeterVariables object), props (JMeterProperties), threadName, and sampler, to name a few. The prev variable can be used in JSR223 Post-Processor actions, such as getting certain information, such as connect time, latency, bytes, URL information, etc., for an HTTP request Thread Group.

 

Does JMeter require a proxy certificate?

When utilizing the JMeter HTTP(S) Test Script Recorder, users must go through various configuration steps to be able to use that feature. One of those steps involves initiating the JMeter proxy server to script actions from the browser. For that to happen, JMeter users must install a JMeter CA (Certificate Authority) certificate. HTTP/S connections utilize certificates to authenticate connections between servers and clients/browsers. Installing JMeter CA certificate allows JMeter to act as the server so it can pull the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) responses from the browser.

 

How do you keep JMeter sessions from expiring?

Within each of the different JMeter Samplers, there are specific configuration options, including setting various timeout parameters, like Connection timeout, Read timeout, Response timeout, Query timeouts, etc. If the Sampler does not support timeouts, then it should be set long enough so that it does not timeout during a load test.

 

How do you keep JMeter sessions from expiring?

JMeter screenshots of example tests, dialog boxes, steps, and all the JMeter testing elements can be found throughout the JMeter website, JMeter Wiki, and JMeter FAQ section, as well as third-party IT learning and resource hubs, like GitHub, GitLab, Guru99, and Bitbucket. JMeter has an extensive knowledge base of content and community-backed support.

 

What’s the best alternative to JMeter?

An open-source load testing tool like JMeter requires extensive knowledge of JMeter and programming knowledge, as well as an experienced team to set up and execute tests. JMeter was one of the early pioneers of load testing, but websites, applications, and APIs have become more complex, and new load testing tools, solutions, and technologies are required. We have discussed a lot of the alternatives, open-source and paid, to JMeter in this guide, such as Gatling, LoadView, WebLoad, LoadRunner, Locust, and BlazeMeter. While a free, open-source, option may seem appealing at first, it comes with a lot of additional manual configuration and work. A web-based solution like LoadView allows testers and teams to focus on load testing, with real browsers, and saves them from the burdens of having to manage load injectors and additional hardware. LoadView supports the latest protocols and technologies, supports third-party tools like Postman, and provides a network of cloud load injector servers from around the world.

 

Is it worth paying for a load testing tool?

There are many great open-source load testing tools, and we discussed a few of them in this guide. It is hard to pass up a free tool, open-source solutions may not offer all the features, out of the box, that you require. A lot of the paid load testing tools support multiple protocols, third-party integrations, offer scripting tools, and multiple pricing plans, and access to support whenever you need. Additionally, like we have seen with JMeter, it is an extremely complex tool that requires a lot of knowledge to use. There are many steps involved in setting up the test plan and various configurations that you must consider. If you have not used JMeter before, it may take a few tests to get it just right. Paid load testing tools typically walk you through the process, step by step, so by the end of completing your test plan, it is ready to go. You will not have to waste additional time creating more tests or going back and reconfiguring the test. If you can find a tool that supports the technologies you need to test, great feature-set, and all within your budget, it is worth paying for a load testing tool.

LoadView load testing load curves

Our load testing solution, LoadView, provides users with best-of-breed cloud-based load testing in a cost-effective package. Unlike JMeter, which is not a real browser only utilizes protocol-based tests, which, like we discussed in this guide, is not enough for today’s websites and applications. A lot of the performance execution is now pushed to browsers, so it is critical to have a solution that can script, execute, and simulate real user actions within the browser. JMeter cannot execute JavaScript, and therefore AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) requests, so that is a big disadvantage for a lot of performance testers. LoadView, along with the EveryStep Web Recorder, supports dynamic web application technologies like JavaScript, AJAX, Java, HTML5, PHP, and more. Creating load testing scripts are as easy as navigating through your applications like a normal user. Furthermore, the LoadView platform provides users with a worldwide network of cloud-based load generators, not load generated from your local machine like JMeter offers, which provides more realistic conditions, and therefore, better test and reporting results.

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