Project completion is drawing near. You have put your site through a myriad of tests and you’re feeling rather confident about what you’ve achieved. Still, one important question remains: how well will your site hold up under the massive demand of the end users?
To effectively evaluate performance, you must conduct simulations to observe how your site will behave under various conditions. One of these tests is called a “load test,” which examines how well a site normally functions. The second test is called a “stress test,” in which the site gets overloaded with demands to the point of failure. One thing to note is if your site isn’t ready to process any of the expected user requests, your load test will become a stress test in a hurry.
By utilizing specialized testing software, web developers can evaluate metrics such as resource-utilization levels, response times, and throughput rates. The software identifies the website’s breaking point, so that the tests occur below the peak load conditions.
Load tests can also help developers measure system lag and page speed. Slow page loads can make users anxious, especially when they’re in the middle of a transaction. A lack of certainty as to whether the payment was processed or not does not make for an enjoyable buying experience.
Understanding the psychology of user experience is key to performance testing. Users naturally expect an embedded video to take a while to load when visiting a site, while a page of text with a few images is assumed to be almost instant. This is why ignoring the perceptual dimensions to the user experience and focusing only on speed can be a costly mistake. Load test software should simulate actual user behavior if developers want to effective optimize their website. Some common examples of load testing software are LoadView – Testing and Apache JMeter.
Some of the best practices for load testing include clearing your browser cache and cookies, avoiding tests in real environments, and not purposely attempting to crash your site. When you are load testing, you are only looking for bottlenecks that might impair performance, not break the server. Critical functionality must always be tested first, and remember to appropriately analyze your results.