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This is just an example, and every setup will have a unique response profile, but the general trend is that higher load (more requests per second) results in higher latency. To get a more real-world idea of our server’s latency at a given load, we’ll need to test multiple times at different request rates. Not all load testing software is capable of this, but later on we’ll discuss wrk2, a command line load testing tool that can perform this function. Average-load tests simulate the number of concurrent users and requests per second that reflect average behaviors in the production environment. This type of test typically increases the throughput or VUs gradually and keeps that average load for some time. Depending on the system’s characteristics, the test may stop suddenly or have a short ramp-down period.

load testing meaning

For on-premise deployments, resource-intensive applications consume more electricity and produce more heat. So, identifying bottlenecks not only improves perceived user experience but also saves money and trees. Run stress tests against your website or app before major events, like Black Friday, ticket load testing meaning selling for a popular concert with high demand, or elections. We recommend stress testing every once in a while so you know your system’s endurance capabilities. This ensures you’re always prepared for unexpected traffic spikes and gives you more time and resources to fix your bottlenecks.

Performance testing

Below is a screenshot of a website crash message from Walmart in November 2020, due to heavy load volumes during a buying frenzy on Playstation 5. With eight years’ experience teaching high schoolers, he now teaches people about the world of technology and how to get the most out of your computer systems. Human skills like collaboration and creativity are just as vital for DevOps success as technical expertise. This DevOps Institute report explores current upskilling trends, best practices, and business impact as organizations around the world make upskilling a top priority.

load testing meaning

This is the actual maximum response rate your server can handle before your users will experience degraded performance. As mentioned previously, most load testing software is particularly well suited for finding the maximum response rate of your web server. Often, the only options you’ll need to set are the desired concurrency and the duration of the test.

Select your load testing tool

There are a few general steps you can take to get a feel for how your server and web application are performing and responding to load. First, we’re going to make sure we’re monitoring the right system resources during the load test. Then, we’ll find out the absolute maximum requests per second our server is capable of. Finally, we’ll find the maximum throughput at which our server’s latency would result in unacceptable performance for our users. This is useful as a first step to understanding your server’s maximum capacity, but it doesn’t give us much information about latency and the actual day-to-day performance that your users will experience. A heavily loaded server may be able to return a thousand responses per second, but if each response takes ten seconds, your users will likely be unhappy.

  • Just because your application will pass a functional test, this does not mean that it can perform the same under a load.
  • Almost every software team will also need to automate performance testing because it’s difficult to simulate heavy loads or activity volumes with manual testing methods.
  • Testing helps prepare large portals for dramatic shifts in use, such as when an IRS portal sees an increase in traffic during tax season.
  • The general term for this area of knowledge is web performance optimization, and over the past few years many best practices, techniques, and technologies have been developed to improve the web experience.

Performance test case scenarios can be transported between environments — for example, between development teams testing in a live environment or environments that operations teams monitor. Performance testing can involve quantitative tests done in a lab or in production environments. Developers can set out to perform a stress test, but it can also occur inadvertently during an upper-level load test. In both types of tests, the load test automation tools push the system past the available resources, providing a wealth of valuable data. Functional tests play an important role in software development, but they have limitations on predicting performance under various levels of user engagement. Load testing identifies critical performance issues that other tests can’t, allowing companies to fix the issues before launching software or implementing upgrades.

How To Perform a Load Testing?

For a comprehensive list of many of the tools available today, check out our list of 50 load testing tools. In conclusion, load testing is a valuable performance testing technique that can help organizations to ensure that their systems and applications can handle high levels of traffic and load. By identifying bottlenecks and other performance issues, load testing can help to improve the overall performance, scalability, and reliability of a system or application. You’ll need to monitor both application servers plus the servers used to run the load tests (although the latter isn’t typically a major issue when using enterprise load testing tools). Availability, while perhaps not concerned with response time performance, is often worried about server availability or uptime.

load testing meaning

Testing helps prepare large portals for dramatic shifts in use, such as when an IRS portal sees an increase in traffic during tax season. A similar example would be load testing web portals to help a college prepare for online enrollment at the start of a semester. Servers are load-tested either by running multiple instances of an application or many different applications simultaneously.

Other Performance Testing Types

The goal of load testing is to identify bottlenecks and determine the maximum number of users or transactions the system can handle. It is an important aspect of software testing as it helps ensure that the system can handle the expected usage levels and identify any potential issues before the system is deployed to production. Mabl performance tests run in the cloud for maximum scalability and efficiency, with no infrastructure for you to maintain. Results are processed in real time and presented in shareable, easy-to-analyze reports, allowing you to inspect changes in latency and error rates under increasing load.

load testing meaning

You want to find the weight limit—the weight (load) of activity that an application, software, or website can handle under normal conditions. The key is to ensure that utmost accuracy is observed during performance testing. Close monitoring is necessary for ensuring the performance of a system or application. Cloud performance testing has the benefit of being able to test applications at a larger scale, while also maintaining the cost benefits of being in the cloud.

Load Testing Basics

It does this by first running some calibration requests to get its timing just right. If you would like to see more complex tests that use groups, checks, thresholds, and helper functions, refer to Examples. Sure a house can handle sunshine and rain, but the foundation is only really tested in a hurricane — and we’d certainly expect it to (hopefully) keep standing through that hell or high water too.

Enterprise-level companies might find that free load testing simply isn’t powerful enough for their needs. User-friendly operation isn’t always a high priority with open-source load testing software. Many applications assume the user has fairly sophisticated development knowledge. Learning how to do load testing with open-source software is usually difficult. While free load testing tools have significant benefits, companies should note potential drawbacks. Companies can use load testing to test the baseline performance of the application.

The Difference Between Load Testing, Stress Testing, and Performance Testing

Capacity testing is sometimes called scalability testing, and helps identify the maximum capacity of users the system can support, while not exceeding a maximum defined page time. Load testing should be done when you want to test how many users your system can actually handle. You can configure a load test to simulate various user scenarios focusing on different parts of your system.