Load Testing and Why it’s Necessary
Load testing is a type of performance testing designed to test the load a system can handle. It ensures that the system is able to handle what it is designed to, unlike the case with stress testing. The difference between stress testing and load testing is, while load testing applies ordinary stress to a system to ensure that it can work under normal circumstances, stress testing overloads the system with unrealistic scenarios, to see how much the system can endure before its breaking point. It is intentional for stress testing to include some failures so that the breaking points can be analyzed and improved upon. For ensuring that a software application or physical network can endure the ordinary requests of users under normal circumstances, performing load testing is most suited for the job. Both tests play very important roles in determining exactly how much activity a given software can encounter through regular use. Load testing can identify page load issues, system lag, and any other bugs that may occur when multiple users access an application. Some of these problems may not be detected with just one user. According to the Microsoft guide Performance Testing Guidance for Web Applications, “Load testing 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.”
Although it aids in mitigating risks to the system’s functionality, when mostly focused on mitigating ease of use for users, all the success of performing a load test will fall into all other places it is required to. Users expect certain software or websites to load within a certain amount of time. For example, in the case of a website that only hosts text, users will likely expect this site to load within a few seconds. Whereas users would be more forgiving while waiting a little long for a website with an embedded video to load. This coincides with understanding the psychology of human users.
Another thing to consider when performing load tests is the quality of the web server that you’re on. If you are running poor quality web hosting, then it’s important to understand that your page load speed could be affected. In order to help prevent this, you should do your best to find the fastest web hosting available so that you don’t end up with a slow server. This will help your website visitors to be happier and a faster server will also help raise your load testing scores.
The better you understand human psychology, as in knowing how users act and react, the better you are able to generate a realistic load test, and the better your results will turn out. If you want to load testing your website, it it important to replicate what a user is likely to experience as a site approaches peak load. Analyzing these test results can help with modifying the system according to any problems encountered, which reduces the chances of failure.