Web Application Testing Tools:
Load & Stress Testing
Our enterprise-class load testing solution offers flexible cloud-based testing for the most complex web applications.
The Importance of Web Application Performance Testing
The performance of your web applications can affect your bottom line more than you think. With so many options for customers today, you may only get one opportunity to make that first good impression. A recent survey by Google analyzed 11 million mobile ads’ landing pages across 213 countries. The results revealed that if page load times take more than five seconds, the probability a user bouncing increases 90 percent. They also found that as the number of elements on a page, such as images, titles, and text, increases from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95 percent. If your application or site does not meet your customers’ expectations, they will immediately try to find a faster, more efficient alternative, likely never to return. It is as simple as that.
Load testing and stress testing (with tools like Selenium, or other load testing tools) are often confused as the same thing, but there are subtle differences between these two testing methods and their objectives. They both fall under the category of “non-functional testing”, meaning they are used to test how a web application or system operates versus testing functional requirements of the application. Where they differ is that a load test measures the performance of a system under an expected load, which could be defined as users or transactions. A stress test, on the other hand, involves overloading a system beyond normal operational load to find the breaking point.
The objective of load testing is to understand if your hardware and infrastructure can handle the expected user load. CPU and memory utilization, I/O reads, and network throughput are some of the key indicators that are monitored during the test. The results are used by infrastructure or architecture teams to establish baseline performance metrics and assist with capacity planning.
The object of stress tests is to identify the issues that only occur when the system is overloaded and whether the system can recover smoothly. For example, in the (hopefully, unlikely) event of a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, executing a planned and controlled stress test will give you an indication of how your system will respond and exposes any points of failure.
Load and stress testing your critical or customer-facing applications is essential to the success of your organization. The objective of each test is not to find bugs, but rather to identify and address bottlenecks before your application gets released into production. It is a proactive approach to performance testing that should be undertaken early and often in the development process, but unfortunately, due to issues such as limited personnel or lack of proper load testing tools, it typically gets ignored. Proper web application performance testing is essential to maintaining a consistent and positive user experience (UX), enhancing brand loyalty, reducing risk, and increasing revenue.
Best Load Testing Tools for Web Applications
Organizations need to understand that ignoring web application performance testing in pre-production could potentially put their business at risk once that application is in the hands of the users. Synchronization, memory leaks, and corruption are some of the issues that can result from simultaneous users accessing and modifying the same data, causing severe system defects –or even cause the application to lockup or crash. These types of issues are also the most difficult to reproduce, since they are typically caused by users, not internal development or testing teams.
A performance testing solution, such as LoadView should be an integral part of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) best practices, helping to detect issues earlier in the process and preventing minor application issues from becoming major ones after they are pushed into the production environment. If bugs and other performance issues go undiscovered and make their way into production, they will be on display for all your visitors. These performance bottlenecks and bugs will likely lead to longer website and application load/response times, creating a situation where your visitors will begin experiencing delays with your site or application. In the digital world, patience is something that a lot of us lack. If we can’t get what we are looking for within a few seconds, we go somewhere else. The same goes for your visitors. Any barriers that they experience while trying to complete their transaction or process will lead to abandonment.
In addition to load testing your sites and applications, the next step is to set up ongoing monitoring to ensure your applications are running optimally and within your performance standards. Get alerted if errors or performance issues occur, giving you 24/7 peace of mind that your applications are running optimally. For example, you can browse the application monitoring tools list and you will find that the LoadView solution is just one piece of Dotcom-Monitor, our performance monitoring and testing platform. The great part about our platform is that we offer multiple solutions that fit your needs and budget.
The LoadView platform is one of the only real browser-based performance testing tools that can truly automate load and stress tests for websites and applications. In addition, the solution gives users the ability to choose from a global network of load injector agents to generate synthetic user loads, allowing performance engineers to quickly and easily:
- Emulate real user actions.
- Distribute traffic similar to real-world usage.
- Measure response times under heavy load conditions.
- Identify server capacity limits and performance bottlenecks.
- Test compatibility on over 40 desktop/mobile browsers and devices.
- Test web API connection points.
As we mentioned earlier, the LoadView utilizes a global network of cloud servers, so unlike traditional load testing tools and solutions, it is unnecessary to go through the time and expense of having to set up an internal load generator. Additionally, some open-source performance testing tools only support protocol-based load tests, leaving out on the critical data points that you get with a solution like LoadView that utilizes real browsers.
Load Testing and The EveryStep Web Recorder
The LoadView platform is great for creating scalable load and stress test scenarios, generating HTTP/S requests or concurrent users. However, if you want to stress test real-user actions, such as browsing, searching, or adding products to a shopping cart, you will need to utilize the EveryStep Web Recorder.
The EveryStep Web Recorder makes recording test scripts effortless and straightforward. With support for over 40 desktop and mobile devices – everything from Chrome and Internet Explorer to iPhone, Google Nexus, and Samsung Galaxy – you can move and click through your site, mimicking real user behavior, and the EveryStep Web Recorder logs your every move.
The recordings can then be uploaded into the load/stress Test platform and replayed by a virtually unlimited number of concurrent/simultaneous users.
Load Testing Tools for Web Apps: Java, PHP, .NET & More
Today’s performance testing tools can easily perform GET/POST requests, but they lack the functionality to open, render, and run interactive media. With the growth of complex rich Internet applications (RIA) such as Angular, Ext JS, Flash, Silverlight, Java, HTML5, PHP, .NET Framework, AJAX, and Ruby, traditional performance testing approaches that exclusively analyze server performance, and not client-side performance, are no longer adequate.
To solve these challenges, a new approach is needed; one which can realistically measure performance all the way through to the client, in addition to providing scalability and flexibility that traditional hardware-based performance solutions do not provide. RIA technologies often include complex functionality and back-end business logic, making it difficult to test using a single-user approach, which is why it is vital to use a tool like LoadView.
The load/stress test platform allows you to record actual interaction with RIA content in a real browser. With simple point and click scripting, you can walk through an RIA web application. Such powerful scripting allows you to verify that website is serving up the proper content and users are interacting effectively with your web pages. The scripts that you recorded with the EveryStep Web Recorder can be used to create load testing scenarios that simulate traffic from around the world.
For example, if you know what percentage of your users come from North and South America, and the rest come from Europe, you can easily configure zones to match what your current or expected user traffic looks like.
Anyone involved in creating, managing, and supporting web applications, regardless of the framework or scripting language used, should understand the importance of load testing. Knowing exactly how much your site or application can tolerate is critical when preparing for real-world user traffic, planning future updates, and improving the overall user experience.
Combining the EveryStep Web Recorder with the LoadView platform will help you automate the many tests involved in web application development and provide a comprehensive view of how your site or application performs under all load scenarios.
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