Performance and Load Testing of a Website are Important
Your business is in the process of launching a new online application. This online application has a professional appearance and is easy to use. Your quality assurance team has thoroughly examined and tested it. You have invested a significant amount of money in promoting your new website. The website is now fully operational. Very quickly, you discover that your new web application is unable to scale to meet the demands of your normal production load, and that response times and performance have fallen to levels that are totally unacceptable. Your web logs show that the vast majority of your website visitors just abandon the new website before making a purchase, since the response times are so bad on the new website. You begin to worry, and one of your pals informs you that the reason your program is not performing optimally is due to a lack of sufficient hardware resources on your system. After hearing this, you decide to increase the amount of server gear you have. However, although this has a little impact on the response time of the website, it is still miserably insufficient. You quickly discover that the issue does not really stem from the hardware, but rather from the online application that is being used. It seems that your web application was not properly designed for peak loads during normal operation. Every day, it becomes more and more obvious that the majority of your marketing expenditures were a complete waste of time.
Embark on a journey into the realm of performance and load testing. Performing tests against a simulated load that closely matches the real load that your application will be subjected to when exposed to the outside world will help to guarantee that your application scales as the amount of traffic on the system grows.
Differentiating between functional or regression testing and load or performance testing is critical in software development. Tests for functional and regression integrity are used to automate a large number of scenarios in order to verify that your website functions as expected. Load testing, on the other hand, is used to determine how well your website works when it is exposed to a high volume of traffic, such as a large number of concurrent users.
In order to conduct load and performance testing, automated testing tools must be used. When a group of 200 people sit about 200 computers and attempt to execute activities at the same time, it is unrealistic, if not absurd, to claim that they have successfully simulated a load of 200 concurrent users. Before you can begin any kind of load and performance testing, you must first choose which test scenarios you will automate and which ones you will not. When a website is being tested, a load testing tool will usually record web requests and replies depending on how users interact with the website. As you carry out different activities on your website or application, the tool keeps track of all of the online transactions that take place on your website or application. When you’re through recording, it will automatically create a script for you. Manually creating the script is also an option, and you may do it with the help of the tool. In most cases, testers will use a mix of the two methods. When they are through with the recording method, they will manually adjust the scripts to take into account specific situations that have been recorded. In addition, the load testing tool should enable the tester to simulate limited bandwidth scenarios. This implies, for example, that it would correctly simulate customers who would use the program when connected through a sluggish modem. The tester should also be able to drive the script using random data from huge external data sets, if necessary.
Once your script has been developed, you may want to include additional tests that are specific to your situation. Typically, these tests would be unique to the application that was under testing. For example, you may want to make sure that the answer provided by a certain web request satisfies specific textual requirements. This would require the installation of a text checkpoint on the page. A text checkpoint may be used to verify if a certain text segment is present or not present in a defined section of a web page by using a text checkpoint. The script would usually be tested on your own computer as a single user once you have completed the script development process to verify that the test script functions as planned.
You are now prepared to conduct a performance-based load test on your system. A competent load testing tool will enable the tester to fine-tune the execution of the test using the results obtained. In other words, the tester will be able to choose the number of concurrent virtual users, how quickly the script scales up and down, and how long the script will run until it stops. The tester should also be able to construct different groups of concurrent virtual users, each with their own unique characteristics for ramping up, maintaining a steady state, and ramping down. A decent testing tool will enable the user to spread this load over several computers, since a single machine may only be capable of scaling up to a few hundred users at a time, depending on the configuration.
Additionally, it is critical for the load testing tool to allow the tester to monitor the performance characteristics of external components such as operating systems, web servers, databases, and other similar systems in order to fully comprehend the behavior of the loaded web application. The user will be able to observe how the performance of his application interacts with the performance characteristics of the external component in this manner. The testers will be able to identify the underlying cause of performance bottlenecks with relative ease if they apply this kind of study.
In order to monitor performance metrics such as transaction response time, HTTP responses per second organized by HTTP code (e.g. 200, 404, 500, etc.), passed transactions per second, failed transactions per second, total transactions per second, hits per second, pages downloaded per second, and so on, the tester should be able to view performance graphs in real time during test execution. In addition, the tester should be able to see the performance characteristics of the external components mentioned above while doing the testing. When it comes to operating systems, this might be something like the percentage of CPU time available; when it comes to databases, it could be the number of writes per second available. A typical test would conclude with the tester being able to see and store the data collected as a report, which might then be used for further investigation.
Testing your application’s load and performance allows you to mimic the behavior of your application in a real-world production environment. Using this information, you will be able to design your hardware deployment strategy efficiently and guarantee that your application will provide the performance characteristics that you anticipate. If you were to deploy a web application without first evaluating its performance characteristics under anticipated production loads, it would be the equivalent of crossing a road while wearing a blindfold. When developing a web application, load testing is an important component of the process that should never be ignored.