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The Ultimate Guide to Load Testing Tools

Page Last Updated: November 20, 2017

Choosing the Right Tool

If you’ve been doing any research on load testing tools, you know that there are a lot of options to choose from. There are free load testing tools, paid tools, and even “freemium” options. With all of these choices, it can be hard to determine the best load testing tool for your specific situation. In order to help you understand which tools to use and why, we’ve put together what we like to call the ultimate guide to load testing tools! In this guide to load/performance testing tools, we’ll break down the pros and cons of various tools, and explain different load testing scenarios associated with each tool. By the end of this guide, you should be a load testing pro! Let’s get started!


Load Testing Tools Covered in This Guide:


Paid vs. Free Load Testing Tools—What’s Right For You?

In the load testing world, this is an age old question—“should I be spending money on a load testing tool, or should I just use a free tool?” Despite the fact that we developed LoadView and think it’s great, there really is no 100% correct answer to this question. There are situations where a free tool may get the job done just fine. And there are other situations where a free tool won’t even come close to cutting it…so let’s look at the differences.

If you’re an extremely tech-savvy person, you’re comfortable with managing servers and instantiating virtual machines, and you’re only looking for a smaller scale test, then free tools may be able to get the job done just fine. However, if you’re looking for a large scale testing scenario where you need to flood a website with a variety of users simultaneously and gather a large amount of data, you’re most likely going to want to use a paid tool.


Performance Testing Tools: How Much Data Do You Need?

It’s no secret that some load testing tools provide a lot more data than others—the question is, how much data do you need? For simple HTTP load testing, you probably don’t need a lot of data. However, if you’re testing a web application, you may need an immense amount of data to get the most out of your testing, and you may also need to utilize real browsers as well.

The bottom line is that when it comes to performance testing tools, the free tools typically never provide as much data as the paid tools, but in some cases this may be acceptable, depending upon your needs. For example, if you’re running a small hobby blog and are doing some light load testing, you most likely don’t need a large amount of data to make capacity planning decisions. However, if you’re running a large ecommerce website and gearing up for Black Friday, chances are that you need a large data set in order to ensure that your website can handle the appropriate level of load leading up to the holiday. Again, this is a decision that you need to make based on your level of


Real Browser Load Testing vs. Headless Browser Testing


There are two main types of testing that can be performed with most load testing tools: real browser testing and headless browser testing. At the time of writing, the only tool on the market that can perform real browser load testing is LoadView. Most of the other tools rely on headless phantom JavaScript browsers to accomplish their load testing.
What’s the difference? Well, if you’re just hammering your site with HTTP requests, the difference isn’t much—you’re simply generating load on a server with a flood of GET requests. However, if you’re really trying to understand how a website performs under load and see this from a user’s perspective, then real browser load testing is invaluable. Essentially, real browser testing allows you to most accurately simulate the actions of a real user, and it also allows you to see how the site behaves from a user’s perspective—something that cannot be accomplished with headless browsers.
Essentially, the question of headless vs. real browsers comes down to how much data you’re looking to capture, and the level of details that you need in order to analyze this.

 

Load Testing Tools Reviewed

In this section, we’ll take a look at the load testing tools mentioned at the beginning of this page, starting with the most robust and moving to the simplest tool.

 

1) LoadView

LoadView is a fully-managed, cloud-based load testing tool that allows to users to test a wide range of websites, web applications, and more. Obviously we’re a bit partial to this tool, but the Dotcom-Monitor platform is used by multiple Fortune 100 companies and is about as robust as it gets. This truly is the “Mac Daddy” of load testing tools, and you won’t find something that’s more capable or more robust across any of the load testing tools that are available today.

LoadView allows the option of testing web applications as well as custom scripting, which isn’t offered by any other tool in the marketplace. LoadView is also the only tool on the market that uses real browsers for testing…something that isn’t done by any other load testing tool.

Ease of use and quick setup time are two more areas where LoadView shines. While JMeter and other open source tools are free, they do require a larger learning curve to be able to setup and a higher level of technical expertise. Because LoadView is fully-managed, you don’t have to worry about instantiating servers or managing with cloud invoices—it’s all done for you. If you’re looking for the most advanced load testing platform with the most robust features, there’s no other choice than LoadView.

2) JMeter

JMeter is the Apache Foundation’s open source load testing tool that has garnered an excellent reputation over the years for being a solid tool that provides good information and high-quality results.

In addition to being free and open source, there are a lot of good load testing guides online for JMeter and Apache has very active user forums as well, so it’s not hard to find information on how to setup and configure JMeter. One problem here is that even if you have access to the information, you still need to be able to understand and process it, and this isn’t always the easiest thing to do if you’re not familiar with errors that can pop up during testing.

3) Gatling

Gatling is another open-source load testing tool that’s been around for a while and has established a good reputation when it comes to free testing tools. Gatling is a French company with a crew of quality developers who know their way around load testing.

As with most other free load testing tools, there’s definitely a learning curve with Gatling that doesn’t exist with LoadView, so if you’re looking for the quickest and easiest form of load testing, that’s something to consider.

4) Tsung

Rounding out our list of load testing tools is Tsung, another free open source tool that’s readily available to anyone who wants to load test HTTP websites. Tsung has a variety of capabilities, including being able to monitor a client’s CPU usage, memory usage, and the traffic on their network.

Among the tools on the list, Tsung is probably the most limited in the data that it provides and it also has a steeper learning curve, similar to the other free performance testing tools.

 

Putting It All Together:

What is the Best Load Testing Tool?

Obviously we believe it’s LoadView based on the ease of use, the feature set, and the support we have from Fortune 100 clients around the world. While it’s true that you can use a free load testing tool and it may be good enough to get the job done and get you some data, if you believe that your site is worth load testing, then it’s worth using the best tool available!