Website Load Testing Explained
You’ve built what you think is a pretty good website, and you can’t wait to start catering to visitors—while your site may have performed just fine when you were the only one testing it, are you sure it’s up to the challenge of handling real operating conditions?
Load testing is essential to deploying a web presence that works, and you can’t afford to launch without it. Here’s what you should know.
What Is Load Testing?
In the realm of modern computing, the concept of a load is equivalent to the amount of demand being placed on a given system at a particular moment. For instance, network hardware such as servers, or the computers that answer requests for your website’s data, make decisions at specific rates and only accept a certain maximum number of connections. Similarly, a site’s database software backend may not be capable of processing more than a limited volume of transactions at one time.
How Does Load Testing Work?
As you can see, there are many different ways to quantify load and measure the performance of the distinct elements that make up a functional website. Load testing simulates what could happen when your site faces real-world conditions. For instance, you might use a testing tool that generates thousands of requests that your server has to answer or force your shopping cart software to process hundreds of dummy orders simultaneously.
You can take this practice even further by pushing your site beyond its limits, which is known as stress testing. By exceeding the reasonable demands that your website usually faces, you get a better picture of what could happen during disaster situations.
What Can Load Testing Reveal?
Why try to break your site with stress testing or have it perform simulated tasks? The idea behind load testing is to prevent the unexpected from catching you off guard.
Websites and the business systems that they connect to depend on a seemingly endless amount of computer code. Many sites and server operating systems run tools and libraries from hundreds of sources. It can be hard to anticipate when something might not behave the way you assumed it would.
To make life tougher, many programmers design software to fulfill specific needs in a limited range of use cases. It’s not unreasonable to assume that you might commit a fatal error while attempting something you thought was totally fine. Instead of waiting until you’ve got a thousand customers trying to make Black Friday purchases to find out that your site can’t cope, it’s better to learn how it behaves in a safe testing environment.
Load testing doesn’t just let you know what you’ve done wrong. It also reveals what you could be doing right. Since testing exposes performance data, it makes it easier to optimize the way your site works so that it meets demand.
How Can I Get Started?
Whether you’re preparing for Cyber Monday or just trying to create a new revenue source, automated load testing needs to become a part of your software development cycle. To learn more about your options, check out LoadView-Testing.com