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Load Testing Is Crucial For Optimum Performance of your Website

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Posted on March 5th, 2020 by Erna Clayton in Tools, Guest Posts

Load Testing

For a comparatively better user experience and more quality online traffic, all that’s required is a fast and lightweight website.

The contribution of a lightweight and superfast website, towards comparatively better user experience and engaging online traffic, cannot be ignored. One of the most important aspects that has always kept the user hooked, engaged, has converted, ensuring optimal performance and reliability of the website is - load testing. Load testing services for a website helps in SEO rankings and better indexing which otherwise would make it move at a snail’s pace. Although there are a lot of other factors such as artificial intelligence, cloud testing, and server location, which thoroughly improves the performance of a website in this article, we will dedicatedly talk about load testing and how it helps in optimizing the site’s performance.

Common challenges

Online retailers often face the challenge of competing with their on-ground counterparts, i.e. the retail stores. Previously it was tough to match the interactivity and engagement level with retail stores, but thanks to the highly advanced technology of machine learning, which, when clubbed with augmented reality, performs at par. At the same time, these executions also require ongoing load testing to offer an unmatched shopping experience.

Balancing your website’s performance with rich content, fonts, design, UI, and user experience could be a struggle. Moreover, backend processes such as payment processing, speed, page load time, inventory checking, etc. could also add up to performance challenges. Apart from adding complexity, these things also add functionality to your website, which at times, becomes difficult to control. Optimized load testing services understand the impact of all these elements and thus manage the overall impact of the website.

Load testing or performance is often being confused as a single task, which is absolutely not. In fact, it is a complex process where a series of tests are executed during the development cycle. These tests help in mitigating the issues.

Ensuring the reliability of a website

Considering software performance testing services as one of the best methods to deliver the best user experience from a website, the new age testers have excelled themselves in all the details involved in the performance testing process. The results are only going to be better if this progressiveness continues and evolves with the technology evolution in this digital space.

To begin with, the testing team initiates the load testing session from the planning stage. It then proceeds to the developmental stage to ensure that your website performs seamlessly and fulfills the desired requirements. A detailed performance testing session consists of:

Volume testing

Volume testing is also known as flood testing and is done on vast volumes of data. The high volumes can be of large database files, input files, and data records. It finds out the exact amount of data that can be handled by your website. The results evaluate the productivity of the app or website under a controlled environment of continuously increasing volumes of data.

Scalability testing

This is a non-functional testing method that measures the capability of the application with reference to its capacity of scaling up or scaling down in case of flux in processing power and architecture. A challenge that is often faced by the engineers is, evaluating the capacity of the system, which is resolved by right-sizing and following the best scalability testing practices. This testing also helps in ensuring maximum output and mitigating app breakdown during peak hours.

Performance testing

Engineers effectively leverage modern-day testing techniques to generate a virtual traffic load on the system in order to measure its performance. The primary objective of this test is to reduce the time taken by the application to process a command, under a significant load increase.

Stress Testing

Stress testing checks the resilience of the platform, device, and network under extreme conditions such as overcapacity of users on a website during a sale, and how it can mitigate random system failures and crashes.

Soak Testing

AKA 'endurance testing" is basically used to rectify memory leaks. The goal is to check the system’s behavior under sustained load. Soak testing ensures that the response time of the website improves under a sustained load condition.

Spike Testing

Spike testing determines the behavior of the application under sudden fluxes such as an increase in the number of users, an increase of requests, etc. Apart from checking the website’s performance under burst conditions, it also verifies whether the website is able to recover back during the spike activity.

How load testing exactly helps in improving performance?

With a significant increase in the number of users accessing your website, the capacity of the utilized servers must also be increased to handle the increasing request counts. Once the main server hits the threshold level, it stops taking additional requests. This means that your website would no longer be able to handle the incoming traffic and will show severe performance issues. Load testing here helps in rectifying major performance issues such as slow load times, unidentified errors, and crashes.

Load testing helps in identifying the server's actual capacity and helps in improving performance during the first influx of real online traffic. You can make necessary changes and adjustments based on the load testing results. By using load testing effectively for your website, your users get the performance as per their expectations while you can enjoy increased traffic and higher engagements.

Choosing the appropriate performance testing tool

In order to check the reliability of a website, it is equally important for the developer to choose the most appropriate website load testing tool. The market is already full of open-source and premium tools. Hence it becomes crucial to choose a tool that satiates your requirements.

Opting for an incorrect tool might end up in crippling up your product under real-world load conditions. The performance testing team must pin-point their exact business requirements in order to reduce their testing limitations.

Choosing a premium tool

Blazemeter — This is a premium and self-sustaining, load testing SaaS which offers a cross-enterprise automation framework during the entire development life cycle of your website. The Blazemeter UI is leveraged for script creation required for setting up the test execution process. It collectively helps the QA team, developers, DevOps, and ops team to execute on request testing for applications for websites as well as mobile. Blazemeter also offers hybrid solutions to use, even with cloud services.

The tool is fully compatible with other popularly available tools in the market, such as Selenium & JMeter, and can be easily integrated with APM, CI & CD.

LoadRunner (LR) — LR provides a premium method of load testing of your website. It effectively emulates thousands of users to test the capacity of the website on all platforms and environments. LR specializes in applying consistent and end-to-end load in a controlled way, which makes it easy to monitor. It detects the potential scalability issues which can affect your users in real-world scenarios.

WebSitePulse — one of WebSitePulse's services is the Server & Network Monitoring, which checks your servers and network devices from multiple locations world-wide and alerts you when they are not accessible. It's a perfect service to help you minimize your network assets' downtime.

Choosing an open-source tool

Apache JMeter — One of the most popular performance testing tools widely used across the globe due to its quality and cost-effectiveness. JMeter also gives the facility of downloading the entire source code, which can later be worked upon and shared by developers to help fellow testers across. Being an open-source framework it helps to develop and distribute its own set of customized plugins. Apart from ease of scripting language and wide learning opportunities, JMeter also gives several other features to its users, such as:

  • Testing different apps under different test conditions
  • Fully-featured test IDE
  • HTML reporting
  • Executes load test in a distributed manner
  • Java-based tool
  • Command-line mode for performance and load testing
  • Ability to extract data
  • Replaying test results and
  • Offline analysis

Gatling — offers seamless integration with real-time monitoring tools, which helps in complex execution monitoring. This technique gives an approximate test result idea to the testers even before the completion of the testing process.

Being an open-source performance testing tool, Gatling too gives a huge scope of opportunity to develop and share customized plugins and frameworks. It is a highly advanced load generation tool that deals with several logics between requests. Gatling also keeps a track record of the users, including their own set of data and unique browsing path. It implements virtual users in the form of messages against other load generation tools, which does this in the form of threads. Some of Gatling’s advantages are:

  • Improved developer collaboration
  • Tracks historical changes
  • Allows writing of performance tests as source code
  • Tests storage under version control systems
  • Enhances developers’ collaboration
  • Keeps clear historical changes
  • Mitigates loss of work

Footnote

These tools and testing techniques should not only be restricted to the developmental phase but also carried out during other phases too. With the rise of Artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud testing, and big data testing, the companies need to rethink their current performance testing strategies in order to obtain a lightning-fast and reliable performance under all conditions.

Erna Clayton

Erna Clayton is a technical blogger best known for writing in the field of science & technology, software testing to be specific. She loves photography and is a die-hard food lover. She loves to learn about the latest trends in technology and often writes for QA.

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