Load Testing

What is Load Testing & Why is Load Testing Important?

Load Testing Overview

Load Testing is essential for any software development project to ensure that your software or website can handle the demand from your end users. Load testing is a type of performance testing to determine how your web application behaves during normal and peak load conditions or even to find the breaking point. Your teams are likely running various tests to ensure your software functions well, but have they considered testing to make sure your users have a seamless experience, and your web application is functioning properly? This is where load testing comes into play, and you can use a Load Testing Tool to ensure that your software can handle the actual demands your end users are putting on it.

If you’re new to load testing or looking to start your first load test, this page will help you get started. In this educational guide, we will break down what it is, why it’s important, how to perform a load test, and much more!

What is Load Testing?

Load testing is the practice of simulating real-world usage, or load, on any software, website, web application, API, or system to analyze and identify factors such responsiveness, degradation, and scalability.

Furthermore, load testing is about simulating real-world scenarios on your sites, applications, and systems. Load tests enable your teams to measure response times, throughput rates, and resource-utilization levels to identify your application’s breaking point, assuming it occurs below the peak load condition. By using a load testing tool to gain insight into these metrics, it can help answer some of the following questions:

      • What is the breaking point? When will I run out of resources?
      • How will the number of users affect performance?
      • How many simultaneous users can my website, application, or system handle?
      • Where are the bottlenecks?
      • How many transactions can we handle over a specific period?
      • Is its performance good enough?

Why is Load Testing Important?

Every day, more users are relying on your web applications and load testing helps to mitigate the risk of your software failing as well as ensuring that your users are not frustrated. It’s important to validate that your application can withstand realistic load scenarios with real users. Load testing allows you to identify and diagnose where your application breaks, so that you can proactively fix it. This not only helps to detect and fix performance issues before production, but fixing issues earlier usually also means saving development time which drives down costs.

Poor performing sites and applications can have a negative impact and even a few seconds of downtime can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. The average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute, according to a study by Gartner. And in March 2019, a 14-hour outage cost Facebook an estimated $90 million. The estimated cost of downtime can range anywhere from $100,000 per hour to over $540,000 per hour depending on the business. Incidents and poor application performance are the financial grim reapers and can be toxic to your customer trust and loyalty.

Avoiding any sort of downtime for you and your customers is essential to any business. With the help of load testing tools to load test, you can ensure that your website or application is ready to handle your users.

Load Testing vs. Stress Testing

Both load and stress testing fall under the category of performance testing. Load testing determines how your website or application behaves during normal and peak load conditions. It ensures that the function you’re testing can handle the load that it was designed to handle. Stress testing determines how your website or application behaves beyond normal and peak conditions by overloading your website or application until it breaks or crashes. With stress testing, you’re purposely trying to induce a failure in your system so that you can find the breaking point and see how your system responds. Load testing, however, is performed to test the user actions that you would encounter daily with normal conditions. Analyzing the results of stress testing allows you to prepare for the unexpected whereas analyzing the results of load testing allows you to optimize your website or application to ensure you have a solid digital performance.

How to Do Load Testing

To get started with creating and performing load tests, you’ll first need to identify the scope of your website application objectives and select a load testing tool that is best suited for you. In the past, load testing was carried out towards the completion of a development project, and it took an incredible amount of skill and time to know how to load test. With LoadView, you can easily start load testing without sacrificing quality and get precise results to start optimizing and improving your website or application. Let’s take a look into the steps you should follow to start load testing:  

  1. Identify Business Goals and Objectives – It’s important to gather your requirements and identify the scope of what you’re planning on testing. For instance, are you aiming to enhance your response times, throughput rates, and resource utilization levels? Perhaps you’re also interested in determining your maximum user load. Consider identifying the key functionalities that are critical for testing to gather this information.

  3. Define Your User Journeys – This step is important because you want to map out how your users will interact or navigate through your web application. When you setup and run your tests, you want to test to simulate the exact steps that your users will go through. You’ll want to you use any APM metrics to help map the step-by-step journey that your users take while using your application.
  4. Setup a Control – You’ll want to define a certain control so that when you perform your load testing, you can test against your control. When you do this, you can understand how your website or application deviates from the control and optimize it accordingly.
  5. Automate and Iterate – Set up load tests to be scheduled as your business scales to ensure your website and applications are running smoothly. It’s also important to weave your load testing efforts early into your development process as well.

  7. Select Load Testing Tool – Don’t forget to choose a load testing tool that is easy to use, scalable, and provides precise reporting. If you’re looking for a load testing tool, LoadView provides an intuitive solution that offers load testing for plenty of scenarios, uses real browsers to simulate your real users, 40+ geo locations to simulate user access globally, and state of the art reporting to diagnose your incidents.

These steps will help you get started with load testing.

Load Testing Best Practices

  • Understand and Recreate Your User Experience – Customer satisfaction is critical for the success of your business. Create load tests with realistic tests scenarios that your users would perform. This includes testing across multiple browsers and mobile devices. The more that you can ensure your website or application performs well, the more likely your users will revisit or reuse your website or application.

  • Determine Your Metrics There is no standard checklist of metrics, as it will depend on the application, mix of technologies used, and environment. However, some common criteria include user-perceived response time, response time specific to geographic regions, resource utilization (CPU, memory, disk, bandwidth), error count, maximum user capacity, and other business performance metrics.

  • Design Your Load Test with Existing Data – When designing your load test, you’ll want to engage other internal departments such as your IT or Marketing teams to collect historical testing data. This can be helpful to get data such as the number of concurrent users, peak sessions in a given hour, or even page views. Using this data will help you understand how you’ll want to set up your load test to ensure your load test is accurate and resembles your website and application user usage.

  • Test Early and Regularly – Make load testing a part of the agile development process. In the past, performance testing was typically done at the end of a development project. However, in today’s age, it’s important to start the feedback loop early in the software development lifecycle to find and fix issues quickly. Start prioritizing your performance testing efforts (load testing specifically) for your agile and CI/CD process.

How to Choose a Load Testing Tool

Once you’re ready to start load testing, you may ask yourself, “How do I select a load testing tool?” Choosing a load testing doesn’t have to be complicated and finding a tool that can support your team’s needs is essential. At minimum, you should choose a tool that helps determine if your website or application stands up in real-world conditions. There’s plenty of tools out in the market but when you’re evaluating a load testing tool, you should ask yourself the following questions and criteria:

    1. Usability – Does the tool require complex setup and is it easy to use?
    2. Accurate – Does it support real browsers across different browsers and devices?
    3. Scalability – Can it simulate global users and increase or decrease the number of concurrent users or sessions?
    4. Integrations – Can you integrate with tools you’re using day-to-day?
    5. Support – Does the tool offer a dedicated support channel?

If you’re searching for a load testing tool that ticks all the boxes, LoadView’s solution ensures your load testing strategy remains straightforward and hassle-free. LoadView is an on-demand, cloud-based load testing platform that simplifies the load testing process and helps your teams diagnose and resolve incidents faster.

FeaturesLoadViewOther Testing Tools
Recording and replaying testsLoadView has the EveryStep Web Recorder allowing you to record every step of a web transaction and replay them using a real browser.

You can record multi-step scripts to cover critical and complex actions by your users right in the platform without having strong technical knowledge.

The recorder also allows manual editing of the scripts for specific load testing requirements.
Requires technical knowledge to create test scripts and run them. This can lead to a steep learning curve when creating your load tests.

Some tools don’t have the functionality to create and replay test scripts.
Setup and run load testsLoadView lets you choose from multiple load test curve types to adjust the number of concurrent users to match real-world scenarios using real browsers.

LoadView provides two extra methods of performance testing and allows you to perform load tests on your applications behind a firewall.
Cloud-based load testing that is only available to test public domains.

Some load tests may be limited in how you can adjust the testing requirements or the load generated uses emulators rather than real browsers.
Geo-Distributed NetworkLoadView allows you to initiate load injector servers from 40+ zones around the world including United States, Canada, South America, Europe, and APAC.Limited number of zones globally or specific locations are locked behind different payment plans.
Detailed performance reportsLoadView provides insight into vital performance metrics, and you can view your test execution in real-time to analyze and diagnose issues in real-time. You can even watch the playback of a real end user experience when breaking down the results.Some performance results are not accessible until the load test is complete and real-time data isn’t always available right away.
SupportLoadView offers 24×7 support and offers an in-depth educational knowledge base that is updated frequently.Doesn’t offer a strong support option or in-depth documentation.
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