A Quick Guide to Load Testing
Like the creation of any product or service there are certain steps that need to be taken during the finals steps of production. While tests and quality assurance can and will be carried out throughout the entire process of production there are actions that cannot be taken until a project is at or near the end of development. While the agile development testing protocol calls for all of these steps to be ongoing at the same time load testing is a crucial close to last step that will get you ready to be online as soon as possible and serving clients.
The effectiveness of your software to end user clients absolutely must be tested out by using a load testing tool. This application simulates various problems and loads on your website while simultaneously giving developers the information they need to make the protocols, protection and load bearing capability of the software more effective. Arguably the most effective part of this testing is load bearing- simply put the ability of your site to handle a massive upscale in traffic.
Typically, a load testing exercise begins with performance testing. While this encompasses a number of different methods the most common is to find out if a given website can handle traffic that is to be expected normally. For example if Amazon.com expects to receive one million visitors in a given day a stress test finds out if this is possible on a continued basis and if daily loads can be handled. This is typical of most large and small websites and is a great way to ensure normal performance is solid.
Stress Testing/Load Testing
Stress testing is a completely different beast. If a website is expecting one million visitors a stress test will start with that number and gradually up the ante until the website is no longer able to serve visitors. This is done for two main purposes. First of all it allows sites to figure out how to serve visitors in unexpected situations- for example a big sale at Amazon or urgent breaking news at CNN. Stress testing helps to see for future eventualities and to lead the way to making sure that these sites can scale up as the internet population grows ever larger, and there are a variety of load testing tools to help accomplish this. Stress testing also helps to protect against DDOS and other black hat attacks- preventing sites from going down due to hackers or even governments targeting them.