Concurrent User Testing

What are Concurrent Users?

Concurrent users in load testing refer to the virtual or simulated users that actively interact with a website or software application over a specific timeframe, regardless of the activities they perform or requests they make. In load testing, your concurrent users are not engaging simultaneously, and their actions or tasks can differ. For instance, a test scenario might involve multiple virtual users executing various objectives or transaction steps independently, showcasing the system’s performance under diverse conditions.


What is Concurrent User Testing?

Concurrent user testing is a type of performance testing that involves evaluating how well a website or software application can handle a specific number of concurrent users engaging with it.

Concurrent user testing is extremely important when you want to test a website for multiple users. It aims to identify the response time of a website when a specific number of users make concurrent requests. It gauges how quickly the server can respond to these concurrent requests and is instrumental in pinpointing bottlenecks in website performance. By simulating multiple users or processes interacting simultaneously with the software, concurrency testing not only identifies issues such as locking, deadlocking, and bugs in single-threaded code but also ensures the application’s stability, responsiveness, and the prevention of crashes or incorrect results under varying loads.

Concurrent user testing can sometimes be mistaken for simultaneous user testing. Concurrent users represent the overall number of individuals using or accessing your website or application at any given moment. In contrast, simultaneous users are visitors conducting specific transactions simultaneously at a specific point in time. Consider this scenario: you might have 100 distinct visitors on a particular page—how does the performance differ when 40 users log into your portal simultaneously? This would be a case of simultaneous user testing since they are performing the same action at the same time. View our concurrent vs simultaneous user testing article to learn more.

Benefits of Concurrent User Testing

Concurrent user testing involves observing and analyzing the interactions of multiple users with a system or product simultaneously. This approach offers several distinct benefits:

  • Increased Efficiency: By testing multiple users at once, concurrent user testing maximizes the use of time and resources which enables faster collection of data and insights compared to sequential testing methods. 
  • Diverse Feedback: With a variety of users interacting with your system concurrently, you can observe a broader range of behaviors, preferences, and issues. This diversity helps in identifying common usability problems and understanding different user perspectives more effectively. 
  • Mimic Real-World Usage: Concurrent testing can better simulate real-world conditions where multiple users interact with your system simultaneously. This is particularly valuable for applications that rely on social interaction, collaboration, or multi-user functionalities. 
  • Quicker Iterations: The efficiency of concurrent user testing allows for quicker identification of issues, facilitating rapid iterations and improvements to the system. Development teams can respond promptly to user feedback and implement necessary changes without significant delays. 
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Conducting multiple tests simultaneously reduces the overall cost of user testing by minimizing the time and resources required for scheduling, setup, and execution. This makes it a more economical choice for organizations with large-scale testing efforts. 

How to Perform Concurrent User Testing

Performing concurrent user testing doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s a multi-step process but requires you to load test concurrent users to ensure your website or application runs smoothly. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to perform concurrent user testing:

1. Identify your Tests and Tests Scenarios

Before you start, you’ll want to determine the scenario that you want to test. You’ll want to consider areas of your website or application that need to be tested. This is typically where users of your website or application will interact with most. For example, if you have an eCommerce site, you may want to test out the checkout process of your website or application.

There are several factors you should consider when defining your test. You may need to look at the number of expected concurrent users, the types of interactions the users will perform, or the data that the concurrent user may access or modify. All these factors should reflect the real actions of your users. You’ll also want to define a baseline or success criteria for your test that meets your website or application’s performance needs.

Some other factors to consider when designing your tests:

Peak Traffic: The number of users connected to your website or application at its maximum capacity.

Resource Utilization: Monitoring CPU, bandwidth, memory, and server resources to assess system performance.

Load Time: Influenced by concurrent users, it measures the duration for a website or individual page to load.

Soak Testing: Evaluating website/application performance over an extended period with a consistent number of concurrent users.

Third-party APIs: Testing load handling capacity of any third-party integrations in conjunction with the main application.

Maximum Number of Database Connections: Evaluating the impact of concurrent users on database connections, which may increase but not always.

Max HTTP Requests: Determining the server’s capacity to handle several types of HTTP requests, setting a limit on processing capability.

2. Choose Your Concurrent User Testing Tool

There are many tools out there to help test your website for multiple users but selecting the appropriate testing tool is important to ensure you get successful tests and results. There are some open-source testing tools that you can use such as JMeter, Gatling, or K6 but to get the best testing results, we recommend using LoadView’s solution.

With LoadView, you do not have to create your own load injectors or virtual machine images and upload gigabytes of files to the cloud. Once you have your load test plan ready, simply select from multiple load curves – Load Step, Goal-based, and Dynamic Adjustable – and choose the number of concurrent users you want to visit the site each minute and you are ready to run your test.

LoadView gathers the metrics from every single individual virtual user session so you can see average page performance at a high level, and then drill down into the details of the performance of each element on the page at any given point in time.

3. Create or Record Test Scripts

You’ll want to write your test script that defines your concurrent user actions with your website or application. The script that you write should replicate the actions of your real users. For example, you might write a test script that replicates your users making HTTP requests, filling out forms, logging into their account, or going through a checkout process. When creating your test script, you’ll want to specify the number of concurrent users, ramp-up time, and test duration.

Tools like LoadView provide a powerful scripting tool that allows you to test the most complex user scenarios. LoadView’s recorder allows you to record every step of a web transaction and replay your scripts in real browsers. Once your actions are recorded, LoadView will create the script for you to use for your test.

4. Execute and Run Tests

After your testing scenario is clearly defined and your script is created, you can finally execute and run your tests with your specified parameters.

5. Analyze Test Results

While your test is running, monitor the performance of your website or application closely to ensure that things are running seamlessly. You’ll want to look at the response times, CUP and memory usage, data performances, and any errors that may occur. Whenever your test is finished and the results are complete, you’ll want to review it to identify performance bottlenecks or other issues that might’ve arisen. From this, you can determine if your website or application meets your performance needs by comparing the test results with your success criteria and baseline metrics that you’ve set when defining your test.

6. Integrate with Your Existing Process

After addressing any issues that may have been identified, you’ll want to iterate your testing by running your concurrent user tests frequently and side-by-side as a part of your CI/CD pipeline to ensure that you catch potential bottlenecks and bugs early.

Concurrent User Testing with LoadView

With LoadView, there are a variety of ways you can conduct a concurrent user test. For example, you can begin load testing with as few as 10 concurrent users and run these users for five minutes to establish your baseline performance metrics. After establishing a baseline, you can increase the number of concurrent users by 10 users a minute until you reach 100 concurrent users. You may choose to follow that up with a test run for another five minutes for every 100 additional concurrent users to be sure that the results level out.

Numerous website load testing platforms generate traffic to your site internally, but this doesn’t faithfully replicate genuine customer traffic originating from the internet. A genuine load test enables you to factor in various elements like Content Distribution Networks (CDNs), load balancers, multi-node server farms, and other traffic optimization tools.

LoadView lets you select where your traffic originates from using top-tier cloud providers and includes over 40 Azure Cloud Services and Amazon Web Services (AWS) locations to choose from. This lets you test the same regions where most of your traffic comes into your site or application. Taking another step further, you can allocate different percentages of traffic to originate from each geographic location as you see fit. This allows you to ensure that your website page or application load speed is consistently fast even under the demand of a high number of concurrent users.

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