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.