When your software development project is nearing completion, there’s one test that’s essential to understanding its readiness for deployment: load testing. This type of performance testing allows you to determine how your web application will behave during normal and peak load conditions, as well as its breaking point (should it occur below the peak load condition). At its core, load testing is used to confirm that your web application meets your intended performance goals or objectives, which are frequently identified in a service level agreement (SLA).
Because more users than ever before are relying on web applications to access products or services, load testing is critical in validating that your application can function properly during realistic load scenarios. Not only does load testing mitigate the risk of your software failing, but it also mitigates the risk of your users becoming frustrated with application downtime and abandoning it altogether—which could affect your company’s bottom line. According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime for businesses is $5,600 per minute, which is well over $300,000 per hour.
If you’re unfamiliar with load testing or getting ready to perform your first one, this guide is here to help. Below, we will break down just how load testing works, as well as how you can successfully perform a load test and different load testing tools to consider.
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Through specialized testing software, load testing places a simulated “load” or demand on your web application to ensure it remains stable during operation. During a load test, testing software will measure the capacity of your web application via transaction response times. If your app features extended response times or becomes unstable at a certain level of simulated traffic, your software will have likely reached its peak operating capacity—which means a solution to this software bottleneck needs to be addressed and implemented.
With load testing, development teams can easily measure and analyze things like:
Load testing helps developers identify issues like system lag, slow page load times, or crashes when different levels of traffic are accessing the application during production rather than post-launch. A load testing example would be a tax preparation company evaluating their web application load performance prior to peak income tax filing season and the traffic spikes it causes.
Performing a load test starts with identifying your web application objectives, as well as selecting a load testing tool that best suits your needs. Below, we will break down the steps you should follow to successfully incorporate load testing into your performance testing initiatives:
Once you have your load testing tool selected, you can begin the actual testing process. A few of the most important load testing best practices to consider include:
Load testing and stress testing are part of the software performance testing process—however, each one focuses on different areas of web application performance. While load testing is used to determine how your app will behave during normal and peak load conditions, stress testing is used to determine how your app behaves beyond normal or peak load conditions, as well as how it responds when it returns to a normal state.
If you’re in need of a load testing tool that easily integrates into your performance testing strategy, LoadRunner solutions from OpenText are here to help.
For co-located testing teams use OpenText™ LoadRunner Professional, it simplifies load testing and can help identify anomalies faster: For large-scale load testing, we offer LoadRunner Enterprise—which allows globally distributed development teams to collaborate on load performance testing from a centralized dashboard. In addition, we also provide LoadRunner Cloud—a highly scalable cloud-based load testing platform that eliminates the need to deploy and manage physical infrastructure—and LoadRunner Developer, which allows developers and development testers to embrace shift-left performance testing.
Learn how these performance engineering solutions from OpenText can benefit your performance testing process today.