Load Testing – A General Overview

What is load testing?

Load testing is a type of non-functional testing which is performed in order to determine the suitability of specific software. In load testing, the behavior of a software is tested under certain or specific load. Load testing is also carried out in order to determine the system’s functioning under normal and extreme conditions.

Another terminology used in this field is stress testing. Stress testing is slightly different from load testing and is normally carried out to check the system’s response under extremely high or peak loads. When an extreme load is placed on the system, the error conditions are considered as expected result.

Load testing is also known as software performance testing, concurrency testing, volume testing and reliability testing.

Examples of load testing:

  • Downloading a number of large files from the internet.
  • Assigning many printouts to the printer in unison.
  • Reading and writing of the data continuously on the hard disk.
  • Simultaneously running a lot of applications on the computer or server.

Uses of load testing:

  1. Identification of maximum operating capacity of an application.
  1. Determination of present infrastructure that is whether it is sufficient or not or run the application.
  1. Determination of system’s or application’s behavior under peak stress.
  1. Identification of how many concurrent users a system can support and whether it has the tendency to allow more users.

Why load testing?

Most of the times many popular sites suffer extremely badly when they witness a lot of traffic volumes.

Even though many e-commerce sites invest a lot in campaigns for advertisements but they do not invest in load testing in order to achieve optimal system performance when the campaigns bring massive traffic volumes.

Importance of load testing:

  • Gives confidence in system’s reliability and performance.
  • Spots bottlenecks in the system beforehand under heavy user load.
  • Gives protection against poor performance.
  • Helps in monitoring of a production environment.
  • Helps in accommodating complementary strategies.

Tools used for load testing:

Load testing and goals:

Load testing plays an important part in determining the following problems before the application is moved to market:

  • Determining the response time for every transaction.
  • Determining the performance of system components under different loads.
  • Determining the performance of the database under various loads.
  • Identification of network delay between server and its client.
  • Identification of issues related to software designing.
  • Identification of issues related to server configuration.
  • Identification of hardware limitation issues.

Load testing helps in determining whether the system or application needs to be modified before it is moved to the market. Prior to load testing, it’s also important to try and find the fastest web hosting for your website. This will help ensure that you have the most accurate test results available.

Advantages of load testing:

  • Scalability of the system is improved.
  • Risk related to the system down time is minimized.
  • Costs of failure are reduced.
  • Identification of bottlenecks before production.

In general, load testing is used in identification of maximum operating capacity of applications.

Testing Website Speed the Right Way

A slow-loading website can lead to several difficulties down the road. An ecommerce site may not perform well to the rigors of customers who anticipate a smooth ordering process. Do you own a blog that receives a considerable number of visitors? A slow loading page can lower the visitor count down and possibly lock entire pages down under high demand. Struggling with slow speeds can come from a variety of sources. There are also a few useful tricks to keep a site smooth and fast.

Diagnosing response times from visitors

How a visitor accesses a site can affect site loading speed. On the sever end, this is related to uploading versus downloading time. The initial loading page is often the face of the site. There are a few ways to measure this and remedy problems with initial loading times:

• Ping test

A ping test will confirm a connection to another server or computer that holds the information to the website. A ping test is very simple to use and will determine the wait and receive times between the server in milliseconds. Sometimes, a ping test is also referred to as a website speed analysis. These tests can be done in browsers and are often free on websites like Pingdom.com and Webpagetest.org.

• User accessibility testing

The site will need to be checked for cross-browser performance on every type of common web browser. This can be compared on a ping test for each browser to determine if the site needs optimization for specific browsers.

• Measuring code quality

Measuring code quality is a final and intricate step to determine if the code is optimized. For example, outdated flash code could be replaced with HTML5 script for faster performance.

Measuring and improving load rates

Visitors will often navigate through several pages. Many of these pages will contain code or functions that enable content from other main pages simultaneously in the site. As a result, it can affect the response time for both the entire site and the individual page.

Here are the proper ways to reduce those overall load times:

• Consistent resource locations

Keeping files in a consistent location will reduce the lag time between loading.

• Reduce redirects

Redirects add an extra request on a site by moving the visitor from one page to another. For example, a food blog may contain a redirect to another page within a niche site. Reduce these redirects by enabling the content as an embed within the page. Redirects can be a problem with web applications as well. Amazon has some AWS application monitoring tools that you can use to track this. They aren’t super easy to set up, but it’s possible.

• Reduce latency by reducing clutter

Latency time in a network is the time combined for each request to the server. Compressing image sizes and website code will reduce the latency.

Things to Monitor on a Microsoft Exchange Server

With a Microsoft Exchange Server, you can enjoy large and reliable mailboxes with more data. At the same time, you can use multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and desktops. Finally, with the server set up wisely, you can protect sensitive data and avoid any serious issues. While true, you will want to monitor your Microsoft Exchange Server by following these four tips.

Server security: It’s important to monitor server security when you’re running an exchange server. Any type of malware or compromised code that’s allowed to execute on the server can be problematic for the overall security of the server. In order to help prevent this, you should be careful about the type of software that you download and install. Sites like StandAloneInstaller.com can help with this to ensure that that any .EXE file you run is clean and free from malicious code.

Monitor number of active sync requests per second: When you monitor the active syncs, you can verify that mobile devices remain in sync with the server. Not only that, when you look at current connections and monitor active sync requests, you can plan your downtime. For example, when you want to make changes to the server, you will help your cause greatly if you know when most people are offline.

Average response time: If your users experience long wait times when requesting information, they will grow frustrated. For this reason, you will want to monitor the average response time. If it’s getting out of hand, you will want to either reboot the server or monitor it further. If the response time stays too long, you will want to dig deeper and figure out the root of the problem.

Message sent and delivered per second: To take a proactive approach, you will want to know how busy the exchange server is. To know this, take a peek at the messages delivered and sent per second metric. Then, when planning upgrades, you will have an easier time if you know this extremely important metric. Furthermore, with the right monitoring, you can ensure that your server is not being used to send out spam emails.

Available virtual memory: When you use a server, you will want to monitor your available virtual memory. With adequate amounts of memory, you can avoid bottlenecks that will bring your server to a crawl. If you encounter issues and your virtual memory is low, you will want to fix the issue and get to the bottom of the problem as you will otherwise experience serious problems in the future.

With these four important things to monitor, you can ensure your server is running well and won’t crash unexpectedly.

Learning About Service Level Agreements

A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract made between a web host service provider and its clients. At the most basic level, an SLA explains the services that the service provider will provide to the client. An SLA should also describe the consequences of any events that may disrupt this service (e.g. server downtime, network outages, a software or hardware malfunction) and how these events will be resolved by the service provider. The SLA should also list any associated reimbursements, fees, or warranties. Additionally, an SLA should explain data recovery procedures, describe client expectations, explain how to terminate the hosting service, and discuss metrics (e.g. server availability, response time, bandwidth, latency) that the service provider will use to assess the efficiency of their services.

An SLA is not necessarily the same as a Term of Use agreement; rather, the relationship between the two is up to the discretion of the service provider. Some businesses combine the two while others instead treat their SLA as a supplemental document. Furthermore, a service provider may offer their clients different SLAs based on their needs. A client who operates a twenty-computer business network would abide by a different SLA than an individual user would. The service provider also decides whether or not their company’s SLA is legally binding.

Understanding an SLA can ensure that a company or an individual is actually receiving the services that have been paid for. An SLA should be written from the customer’s perspective, in a way that clearly states what the service provider is offering to its clients without excessive use of technical jargon. A thorough SLA will describe how common problems will be resolved, including how quickly the provider’s information technology department can typically respond to a server issue and how much downtime the client can roughly expect. If you plan on trying to enforce your SLA, you may want to spend some time looking at an SLA management tool that you can use to

The SLA should also clearly describe any reimbursement clauses. Many modern web hosts offer a 100% network uptime guarantee, and will accredit a client’s account in the event of any unexpected downtime. Some companies offer similar reimbursement plans for any hardware that they lease to their clients. However, these processes may not be automated – for example, some companies require the client to manually report downtime prior to reimbursement – so be aware of the conditions offered by a service provider.

Another thing to consider about SLAs is what they pertain to. For example, if the SLA pertains to the uptime on a web application, you may want to be sure that an application performance monitoring tools you’re using are fully monitored to ensure that you uptime calculations are correct. You can do this with a variety of free and paid tools online, just make sure it’s something that you take the time to do.