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Load Testing Objectives – LoadView
If you have a website or application that keeps your business running and generates significant revenue, you need to employ performance testing to make sure that it doesn’t break down with your growth. Performance testing for website/application determines your website’s speed, scalability, and stability when it goes under a certain amount of workload. Performance testing provides useful data to all the stakeholders involved in analyzing business-critical transactions and user-experience before launching the product and features. It is a best practice to test your website/application performance in the software development life cycle (SDLC), before deployment, and in the production environment. Load testing is one of the primary and fundamental performance testing that ensures website stability and user experience under peak traffic conditions and enhances website/application performance. This article will talk in-depth about the load testing objectives and how to do it successfully.
What is Performance Testing?
Performance testing is a process of testing key performance metrics of software to identify bottleneck and stability issues under different workload scenarios. Performance testing reports help to identify speed, scalability, and stability issues and provide meaningful insights for resolving such issues. It verifies and validates the performance metrics to meet business and end user expectations before going to market. Performance tests typically have test cases designed for the following aspects of websites/applications:
Speed. To determine the response time of website/application, business-critical transactions & third-party APIs.
Scalability. To check the maximum load sustained by the website/application without a breakdown or unexpected behavior.
Stability. To check the website/application performance under different traffic conditions and user load.
Types of Performance Testing
For designing good test cases and scenarios, let’s breakdown different performance testing types and their specific purpose.
Load testing is done to determine the website/application behavior under the expected workload and identify performance issues for resolution. It helps measure the overall performance of user flows, business-critical transactions, resource utilization, etc.
It is done to determine the breaking point of a website/application by simulating an extreme user load. It helps identify the utilization of computing resources and transactions’ health under extreme conditions.
Endurance testing is used to determine the application behavior under a particular workload for a longer period of time. It helps identify stagnation issues and bottlenecks that can occur from continuous significant system workload for hours.
Spike testing checks website/application behavior under a sudden spike of user load. It helps determine the reliability and accessibility of the website/application under special circumstances like flash sales and other critical events.
Volume testing is carried out to check website/application performance when subjected to a high volume of data. It can be done by populating the database or storage with varying volumes and determining data processing behavior under a heavy workload.
Scalability testing is done to determine the website/application’s effectiveness from a scalability point of view by simulating an increasing amount of workload. It helps in capacity planning for scaling up the website/application infrastructure and feature enhancements.
Depending upon the specific needs and requirements, you can either set up performance testing infrastructure on-premises or use cloud-based tools such as LoadView. The advantage of cloud-based tools is that you don’t have to put your time and resources into managing and running the testing infrastructure along with cost-effectiveness.
Load Testing Objectives
Load Testing is one of the most important and highly advised types of performance testing that should be incorporated into your testing strategy as early as possible. Under high traffic conditions, you need to have your website work perfectly; otherwise, it can lead to performance bottlenecks, poor user experience, and, most importantly, business loss. Let’s understand the key objectives of load testing and its benefits.
Measuring Server Response Time for End Users
Under high load conditions, the server response time can be very high, impacting user transactions and experience. By measuring end user response time with detailed reporting, you can identify and eliminate potential causes to ensure your website/application has an optimal response time.
It is important to identify different bottlenecks that can bog down your server under a high user load. Load Testing gives you the ability to effectively identify and eliminate performance bottlenecks to ensure speed, reliability, and stability of the website/application.
Establishing Optimal Hardware and Software Configuration
Different hardware and software configurations can affect website performance significantly under high loads. You can perform Load Testing for different configurations and check CPU Speed, Memory Utilization, Cache Policy, Network Resources, Software Configurations, etc. for establishing an optimal hardware and software configuration for your website/application.
Measuring System Capacity and Planning Scalability
Measuring system capacity for handling workload is crucial for different scenarios, such as special events and maintaining the best user experience. Also, planning for scalability when your organization and user base grow is an important activity. Load Testing helps you measure resource utilization for capacity and scalability planning effectively.
You can run your load tests using LoadView, which is a cloud-based fully-managed load testing tool. It simulates the most realistic user load by using real browsers and devices and generates extensive reports with key matrices that help you identify bottlenecks quickly.
Key to Success: Test Scenarios
For any performance test, its success depends on the process of defining, designing, and executing correct test scenarios. Test scenarios should capture all business-critical transactions, and user flows, to identify all bottlenecks and performance issues effectively. While you can run well-defined test cases, ad hoc test scenarios are also important to identify overlooked issues. Following are some best practices for load testing test scenarios.
Make sure you run your load test on real browsers and devices to simulate the most realistic end user load.
Run your test cases from different geo-locations for a real-world test scenario.
Adjust your load in real-time to see how your website/applications behave with the fluctuating workload.
Include third-party web services and APIs in your test scenario.
Run load tests for individual web pages that play an important role in user flow like checkout, online payments, etc.
With LoadView you can easily create test cases and scenarios with the EveryStep Web Recorder with simple pointing and clicking, requiring no programming experience. LoadView uses real browsers and devices from different geographic locations to generate the most realistic user load.
Conclusion: Load Testing Objectives
Load testing is vital for testing your website/application’s performance to ensure speed, stability, and scalability. Test scenarios for load testing should be defined, designed, and performed with the most realistic conditions such as real browsers, devices, and multiple geo-locations. With LoadView, creating test cases and scenarios is very easy with its point and click feature that can capture virtually any user transaction. It is a best practice to start with the Load testing as early as possible in the software development life cycle to ensure that your website/application is regularly checked for performance under heavy user load.
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Load Testing Best Practices | LoadNinja
By the time any software development project nears completion, it likely will have gone through numerous tests, particularly in an Agile testing environment where testing and development happen concurrently. But no matter how many tests you’ve run, once your application is nearly complete, there’s really only one way to know whether or not your software can handle the actual demands your army of end users will soon be placing on it. It’s called load testing, and you can use a tool like Load Testing Tool to get the job done. Load testing is the process of putting simulated demand on software, an application or website in a way that tests or demonstrates it’s behavior under various conditions.
What is Load Testing?
Load testing is about creating production simulations within an application or system that is as near as possible to being a finished product ready to deploy and subject to the masses. By utilizing specialized testing software, load testing allows dev teams to answer questions like “Is my system doing what I expect under these conditions? ” and “Is its performance good enough? ” As the Microsoft guide Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications states:
A load test enables you to measure response times, throughput rates, and resource-utilization levels, and to identify your application’s breaking point, assuming that the breaking point occurs below the peak load condition.
Here, “below the peak load condition” simply suggests, again, a testing methodology that falls within the parameters of a load test as opposed to a stress test (which, by definition, is testing a system at and beyond peak load). Load testing can identify system lag, pageload issues, and anything else that might go awry when multiple users access an application or bombard a system with sudden traffic—things that can be easily overlooked in a development and testing environment where code is often checked with individual users in mind. Mix in a hundred or a thousand people trying to access the software or issue commands more or less simultaneously, however, and problems that might not have been detected in solo use cases can suddenly come to light in all their buggy glory.
Why is Load Testing Important?
Load Testing ensures that your application can perform as expected in production. Just because your application will pass a functional test, this does not mean that it can perform the same under a load. Load testing identifies where and when your application breaks, so you can fix the issue before shipping to production.
Businesses and consumers rely heavily on digital applications for critical functions, so it’s important to validate that it can withstand realistic load scenairos. With a higher adoption of digital applications comes higher expectations of quality, and if your application fails in production, it can become costly. According to Gartner, The average cost of network downtime is around $5, 600 per minute. That is around $300, 000 per hour on average. Avoiding downtime in production is essential, and load testing helps ensure that your application is ready for production.
The ultimate purpose of load testing tools—and performance testing tools in general—are always to mitigate risk, be it risk to your software’s successful functionality, risk to your end-users’ sanity, or risk to your company’s bottom line. Naturally, all three of these are intimately intertwined, so it’s important to know how they relate to each other and where you, as a developer or tester, can intervene for the greater good. Let us dare to suggest that if you focus on mitigating the middle criterion, user sanity, the other two factors will usually fall into place, and that many load-testing issues actually boil down, in the end, more to users’ perception than to specific ideal pageload times and other technical stats.
Load Testing vs. Stress Testing
As the best known and most commonly conducted type of performance testing, load testing involves applying ordinary stress to a software application or IT system to see if it can perform as intended under normal conditions. It is related to its bigger, more brutal cousin, stress testing, but load testing ensures that a given function, program, or system can simply handle what it’s designed to handle, whereas stress testing is about overloading things until they break, applying unrealistic or unlikely load scenarios. Both practices can play important roles in determining exactly how well a given piece of frontend software, such as a website, or a backend system, such as the Apache server hosting that site, can deal with the actual loads they’re likely to encounter through regular use. Stress testing deliberately induces failures so that you can analyze the risk involved at the breaking points, and then, perhaps, choose to tweak programs to make them break more gracefully. Stress testing is useful for preparing for the unexpected and determining exactly how far a given system can be pushed, exploring the outer limits of performance capacity. But when it comes to simply making sure that a software application or physical network can endure the user requests and actions it is likely to encounter in ordinary circumstances, load testing is the right method for the task.
How to Start Load Testing
Getting started with load testing isn’t as hard as it has been historically. In the past, learning to load test – creating a realistic scenario, scripting a test, replaying a test, and analyzing test results – required an immense amount of skill and time. Plus, every load testing tool is different. So learning how to use each tool to get the test runs to function how you intend it to is always a challenge. With LoadNinja though, you can skip this whole process without sacrificing quality or test coverage.
Gather Requirements – what’s the most critical functionalities that you need to test? What shapes your end user experience?
Map Out Relevant User Journeys – identify how your users interact with your application. This is a great opportunity to leverage monitoring data from any APM tools you may use.
Establish a Baseline – run tests to establish a solid baseline for your application to test against. Any time performance deviates from this benchmark you’ll know a deeper dive into test data is necessary.
Automate & Integrate – prioritize load testing as a part of your CI/CD processes & integrate with the tools you already use.
These steps will provide a good foundation to begin load testing your application.
Load Testing Best Practices
Create Realistic Scenarios
Think like a user would. What is important to your user base? What functions of your application are critical for them? Do they use different devices? By creating realistic load tests, you’re able to more closely understand how your application behaves or would behave in production with real users. Real users to a certain extent are unpredictable, so keep randomness and variablilty in mind when evaulating the steps to take in your tests. Mix up the device and browser type so you can feel confident that your application is ready for deployment.
Test Early, Test Often
Whether your team is adopting an agile, devops, or shift left mentality, it’s essential to test early and test often. Frequently performance testing is siloed and starts when a development project is over. However, in the last few years increasing the amount of feedback throughout your software development lifecycle has proved immensely valuable in finding and fixing issues rapidly. Prioritize making performance testing, and load testing in particular, a part of your agile, continuous integration, and automation practices.
Set Realistic Benchmarks
Optimizing performance requires a deep understanding your application and it’s users. Identify practical & realistic tests that can reflect reality, whether that means selecting devices, browsers, number of users, etc. Plus, load tests can’t start from zero. In the real world, it’s unlikely that the systems you’re looking to update will not be running under load already. So rather than starting from zero and incrementally adding virtual users slowly until you reach the desired load, try running tests after your systems are already under load. This way you avoid the ‘false-positives’ that can come from starting your load tests from zero.
Leverage Real Life Data
To achieve realistic benchmarks and scenarios, leverage data you already have. Reusing data from your monitoring tools can help illuminate what ‘realistic’ means in your specific case. In most cases, monitoring tools are running from a proactive and reactive point of view – meaning you can use synthetic and real user data to map out scenarios that failed in production with a synthetic monitor and/or add interactions that your users are already taking with your application into your test scenarios. This can include user driven data, like browsers, devices, user paths, dropoff points, and system based data, like DOM load, time to first byte, and more.
Analyze Test Data to Unearth Underlying Problems
After running your load tests, the first obvious step is to identify any problem areas & take the next best steps to improving performance for that component. This means correlating performance bottlenecks with code to isolate the root-cause of the problem. Oftentimes this can be difficult if you’re using a traditional testing tool because it requires ‘translating’ the test results into metrics you can leverage to share with your development team (or to use yourself) to dig deeper into the core code instigating the issue. If you’re using LoadNinja, this step is no problem, since you’re load tests results are browser-based metrics, which you can inspect & debug in real time.
Selecting a Load Testing Tool
Finding a tool that can support your team is essential. We know that performance testing practices can take a bit of time in the release cycle, but often they are the indicators for success in production. With performance testing, you can understand how your application is going to perform in production before you deploy, so you can find and fix issues before going live. Testing reveals if your website performs differently under load, whether your code change has unexpected changes, and saves money in the long run by identifying issues before they become costly problems in production. When evaulating a load testing tool, be sure to keep the following factors in mind:
Ease of Use – is it easy to create complex, realistic load tests?
Accuracy – does it run in real browsers?
Scalability – can you increase or decrease usage/use cases, users, instances?
Integrations – can you integrate with the tools you use everyday?
Understanding what tool will fit best into your workflows is essential. Luckily, LoadNinja helps teams load test faster without sacrificing accuracy, so teams can continuously release quality software.
Load Testing Requirement
Record the test
LoadNinja allows you to record and instantly playback scripts in the browser, without correlation. Since LoadNinja is cloud-based & records right in the platform, you don’t have to download additional tools to record a test.
Steep learning curve with a complicated UI
Cannot create and playback dynamic test scripts without JMeter, Gatling etc.
In some cases, in order to record HTTPs transactions, users have to import certificate into your system’s root, which can put your computer at risk for serious security vulnerabilities.
Capturing client side changes that don’t interact with server can be extremely tedious and time consuming.
Replay the test
LoadNinja allows you to record and instantly playback scripts with no programming and dynamic correlation.
Playing back test scripts involves dynamic correlation– takes several hours or days.
Configure test requirements
LoadNinja has a simple and easy-to-use interface that doesn’t require any additional downloads. Adding concurrent virtual users, configuring test duration, playback time, and more are all possible with a few clicks in our intuitive interface.
Required to set up and maintain load generators in host machine
Set up cloud based load generators costs extra money
LoadNinja generates true load with real browsers at scale.
Load generated from emulators and not real browsers– inaccurate load.
Analyze test results
LoadNinja shows you browser based results which end user experiences, broken down granularly by navigational timings.
Performance results shown requests and responses – doesn’t show end user experience.
Load testing – Wikipedia
Load testing is the process of putting demand on a system and measuring its response.
Software load testing
The term load testing is used in different ways in the professional software testing community. Load testing generally refers to the practice of modeling the expected usage of a software program by simulating multiple users accessing the program concurrently.  As such, this testing is most relevant for multi-user systems; often one built using a client/server model, such as web servers. However, other types of software systems can also be load tested. For example, a word processor or graphics editor can be forced to read an extremely large document; or a financial package can be forced to generate a report based on several years’ worth of data. The most accurate load testing simulates actual use, as opposed to testing using theoretical or analytical modeling.
Load testing lets you measure your website’s quality of service (QOS) performance based on actual customer behavior. Nearly all the load testing tools and frame-works follow the classical load testing paradigm: when customers visit your web site, a script recorder records the communication and then creates related interaction scripts. A load generator tries to replay the recorded scripts, which could possibly be modified with different test parameters before replay. In the replay procedure, both the hardware and software statistics will be monitored and collected by the conductor, these statistics include the CPU, memory, disk IO of the physical servers and the response time, throughput of the system under test (SUT), etc. And at last, all these statistics will be analyzed and a load testing report will be generated.
Load and performance testing analyzes software intended for a multi-user audience by subjecting the software to different numbers of virtual and live users while monitoring performance measurements under these different loads. Load and performance testing is usually conducted in a test environment identical to the production environment before the software system is permitted to go live.
As an example, a web site with shopping cart capability is required to support 100 concurrent users broken out into following activities:
25 virtual users (VUsers) log in, browse through items and then log off
25 VUsers log in, add items to their shopping cart, check out and then log off
25 VUsers log in, return items previously purchased and then log off
25 VUsers just log in without any subsequent activity
A test analyst can use various load testing tools to create these VUsers and their activities. Once the test has started and reached a steady state, the application is being tested at the 100 VUser load as described above. The application’s performance can then be monitored and captured.
The specifics of a load test plan or script will generally vary across organizations. For example, in the bulleted list above, the first item could represent 25 VUsers browsing unique items, random items, or a selected set of items depending upon the test plan or script developed. However, all load test plans attempt to simulate system performance across a range of anticipated peak workflows and volumes. The criteria for passing or failing a load test (pass/fail criteria) are generally different across organizations as well. There are no standards specifying acceptable load testing performance metrics.
A common misconception is that load testing software provides record and playback capabilities like regression testing tools. Load testing tools analyze the entire OSI protocol stack whereas most regression testing tools focus on GUI performance. For example, a regression testing tool will record and playback a mouse click on a button on a web browser, but a load testing tool will send out hypertext the web browser sends after the user clicks the button. In a multiple-user environment, load testing tools can send out hypertext for multiple users with each user having a unique login ID, password, etc.
The popular load testing tools available also provide insight into the causes for slow performance. There are numerous possible causes for slow system performance, including, but not limited to, the following:
Application server(s) or software
Network – latency, congestion, etc.
Load balancing between multiple servers
Load testing is especially important if the application, system or service will be subject to a service level agreement or SLA.
Load testing is performed to determine a system’s behavior under both normal and anticipated peak load conditions. It helps to identify the maximum operating capacity of an application as well as any bottlenecks and determine which element is causing degradation. When the load placed on the system is raised beyond normal usage patterns to test the system’s response at unusually high or peak loads, it is known as stress testing. The load is usually so great that error conditions are the expected result, but there is no clear boundary when an activity ceases to be a load test and becomes a stress test.
The term “load testing” is often used synonymously with concurrency testing, software performance testing, reliability testing, and volume testing for specific scenarios. All of these are types of non-functional testing that are not part of functionality testing used to validate suitability for use of any given software.
User experience under load test
In the example above, while the device under test (DUT) is under production load – 100 VUsers, run the target application. The performance of the target application here would be the User Experience Under Load. It describes how fast or slow the DUT responds, and how satisfied or how the user actually perceives performance.
Browser-level vs. protocol-level users
Historically, all load testing was performed with automated API tests that simulated traffic through concurrent interactions at the protocol layer (often called protocol level users or PLUs). With the advance of containers and cloud infrastructure, the option is now present to test with real browsers (often called browser level users or BLUs).  Each approach has its merits for different types of applications, but generally browser-level users will be more akin to the real traffic that a website will experience and provide a more realistic load profile and response time measurement.  BLUs are certainly a more expensive way of running tests and cannot work with all types of applications, specifically those that are not accessible through a web browser like a desktop client or API-based application. 
Load testing tools
An Apache Jakarta open source project
Apache License 2. 0
Java desktop application for load testing and performance measurement.
Free plan available
Website, web app, mobile, database and other scenarios
Scalable load up to 200, 000 concurrent simulated browser users from across eight geographical locations. Can also be used for integration and functional testing.
Websites, mobile and REST APIs
It allows to simulate up to 50, 000 simultaneous virtual users from different worldwide locations.
Free usage tier, paid usage tiers
Browser based load testing, APIs and protocol driven applications
Scalable load up to millions of concurrent users from all geographic regions available on AWS and Azure, plus on-premise deployments. Pricing is based on Virtual User Hours consumed each month. 
Java web applications
Portable HTML reports.
Web applications and API
Primarily used for executing large numbers of tests (or a large number of virtual users) concurrently. Can be used for unit and integration testing as well.
Load Test (included with SOAtest)
Performance testing tool that verifies functionality and performance under load. Supports SOAtest tests, JUnits, lightweight socket-based components. Detects concurrency issues.
Cross-platform load testing tool, targeted mainly at web services. Integrates with soapUI.
Login VSI, Inc.
Virtual windows desktops workloads
Web and mobile
Load can be generated from local agents or from the cloud.
Open System Testing Architecture
GNU General Public License 2. 0
Utilizes a distributed software architecture based on CORBA. OpenSTA binaries available for Windows.
Rational Performance Tester
Eclipse based large scale performance testing tool primarily used for executing large volume performance tests to measure system response time for server based applications.
Open source GPLv3 or later
Supports basic authentication, cookies, HTTP, HTTPS and FTP protocols.
Application performance tool with cloud and local virtual agents. Supports most protocols and applications. Licensed.
Assess how website would perform if visited by a large number of users at the same time.
Visual Studio Enterprise edition
Visual Studio Enterprise edition includes a load test tool which enables a developer to execute a variety of tests (web, unit etc… ) with a combination of configurations to simulate real user load.  Microsoft announced[when? ] that its web performance and load test functionality was deprecated after Visual Studio 2019.
Cloud based or Local
Web and Mobile applications and API
Load testing tool for web and mobile applications including Web Dashboard for performance test analysis. Used for large-scale loads which can be generated also from the cloud. Licensed.
Physical load testing
Symbol used in geotechnical drawings
Many types of machinery, engines,  structures,  and motors are load tested. The load may be at a designated safe working load (SWL), full load, or at an aggravated level of load. The governing contract, technical specification or test method contains the details of conducting the test. The purpose of a mechanical load test is to verify that all the component parts of a structure including materials, base-fixings are fit for task and loading it is designed for.
Several types of load testing are employed
Static testing is when a designated constant load is applied for a specified time.
Dynamic testing is when a variable or moving load is applied.
Cyclical testing consists of repeated loading and unloading for specified cycles, durations and conditions.
The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulation 1992 UK state that load testing is undertaken before the equipment is put into service for the first time. Performance testing applies a safe working load (SWL), or other specified load, for a designated time in a governing test method, specification, or contract. Under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 UK load testing after the initial test is required if a major component is replaced, if the item is moved from one location to another or as dictated by the competent person.
Car charging system
A load test can be used to evaluate the health of a car’s battery. The tester consists of a large resistor that has a resistance similar to a car’s starter motor and a meter to read the battery’s output voltage both in the unloaded and loaded state. When the tester is used, the battery’s open circuit voltage is checked first. If the open circuit voltage is below spec (12. 6 volts for a fully charged battery), the battery is charged first. After reading the battery’s open circuit voltage, the load is applied. When applied, it draws approximately the same current the car’s starter motor would draw during cranking. Based on the specified cold cranking amperes of the battery, if the voltage under load falls below a certain point, the battery is bad. Load tests are also used on running cars to check the output of the car’s alternator.
Web server benchmarking
^ Wescott, Bob (2013). The Every Computer Performance Book, Chapter 6: Load Testing. CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1482657753.
^ Platz, Wolfgang. “The future of load testing is BLU”. InfoWorld. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
^ “We’re All Load Testers Now (Maybe) – “. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
^ “How to Perform Load Testing With Real Browsers Using Flood Element? “. 2018-11-17. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
^ Erinle, Bayo (2014). JMeter Cookbook. Packt Publishing. ISBN 978-1783988280.
^ Erinle, Bayo (2015). Performance Testing with JMeter. ISBN 978-1784394813.
^ “Load Testing Applications with Visual Studio 2010”. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
^ Harper, David; Devin Martin, Harold Miller, Robert Grimley and Frédéric Greiner (2003), Design of the 6C Heavy-Duty Gas Turbine, ASME Turbo Expo 2003, collocated with the 2003 International Joint Power Generation Conference, Volume 2: Turbo Expo 2003, Atlanta GA: ASME 1., pp. 833–841, ISBN 978-0-7918-3685-9, retrieved 2013-07-14 CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
^ Raines, Richard; Garnier, Jacques (2004), 23rd International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, Volume 1, Parts a and B, 23rd International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, 1, Vancouver, BC: ASME, pp. 621–631, doi:10. 1115/OMAE2004-51343, ISBN 978-0-7918-3743-6, retrieved 2013-07-14
^ DETERMINING ELECTRIC MOTOR LOAD AND EFFICIENCY (PDF), DOE/GO-10097-517, US Department of Energy, 2010, ISBN 978-0-9709500-6-2, retrieved 2013-07-14
Modeling the Real World for Load Testing Web Sites by Steven Splaine
What is Load Testing? by Tom Huston
4 Types of Load Testing and when each should be used by David Buch
Performance, Load, Stress or Endurance Test? Which do you want? by Chris Jones