Website load testing is a technique used to determine how your site will behave under various conditions. We are all too familiar with stories about websites crashing due to excessive traffic and use. Thousands of potential visitors and revenue can get lost when your website is down.
Did you know that a one-second delay in your web page speed can be enough to cause your visitors to become disconnected? Your user experience is an important part of converting visitors to profit. You need your website to operate instantaneously. Especially if you have a website that requires heavy data transfer, such as streaming or shopping sites.
There are many reasons to have your website load tested. Maybe you are planning on unveiling a new version of your software to clients, or providing a much-needed update. Perhaps you are expecting a large influx of traffic due to a new marketing strategy, or streaming new content. All of these scenarios are perfect times to consider website load testing.
Think of your website kind of like a bridge. Your site can only handle so much traffic before it is going to have delays and, in worst case scenarios, reach the point of failure. Now, under normal conditions, traffic flows to and from your site with little stress. As your traffic continues to grow, you will have to make adjustments and upgrades to compensate for the added workload.
If your traffic spikes uncontrollably you can easily end up with traffic jams due to bottlenecking. Bottlenecking is when you have more traffic than your site can process. This causes delays and inconsistent data transfer speeds. Too much traffic can cause your server or software to falter. In the worst case scenarios, just like a bridge, too much traffic can cause your website to collapse.
This is where load testing comes in. Think of load testing like sparring with your website. If you don’t practice, the chances of being caught off guard grow. The more you train with your website, the more confident you will become in its ability to operate under stressful conditions. Website load testing lets you see where and when weak spots occur. It will also notify you if these are caused by faulty hardware or bad software coding. This will help you make improvements and adjustments accordingly.
Mobile computing is the fastest growing sector in the market today, and it can take up a considerable amount of your website’s resources. Mobile load testing can help determine how well your site can handle the increasing demand.
Load testing works by sending an HTML script replicating heavy traffic and use scenarios. For example, you can load test your shopping carts. You could then see how they would react with say, 50 people checking out, all at once. Another strategy would be to see how many visitors can simultaneously download a file before your server locks up.
Load testing examines a wide range of different scenarios. These tests are critical if you want to avoid future headaches, while continually growing your web presence. The end goal is to see where your software and hardware can be improved. There are a number of different load test providers available online. Here a couple of the most popular:
· Loadimpact.com – You can run a free stress test here.
The majority of website load testing tools allow you to test on demand. Higher end applications will even let you automate testing throughout your website’s lifecycle. Providers, such as Apica, use a convenient pay-as-you-go pricing strategy. If you plan on heavy use, you can always get unlimited testing at a fixed price.
Website load testing is a great way to see how your website’s back end behaves under normal and peak conditions. This is especially helpful when preparing to launch web- and mobile-based apps. You can then use these test results to plan for traffic spikes. If your website incorporates any of the following examples, load testing might be a good option for you to consider:
· Streaming/media entertainment
· Social media
· Additional apps
Once you have chosen a load testing provider, the rest is easy. Simply register for whatever package fits your company’s needs. This will require you to answer some basic questions about your website and business model. Once you have registered you will receive a confirmation email within minutes. Click the email to enter into the portal and you can begin testing.
Recently, there has been a recent uptick in load testing technologies, with many providers offering 24-hour monitoring services. This is a great option as it will let you see when peak performance is achieved and where improvements will be necessary.
These 4 helpful tips can make your load testing experience more successful.
Website load testing
1. Build up to your fault points. You want to start your load testing under regular conditions. Slowly increase the load until you begin to see areas of improvement. This gradual process will help ensure you are attacking your load problems correctly.
2. Carefully analyze your results. When you receive your test results you will notice categories such as hits per second, response time, memory, and latency. Don’t jump to conclusions. Run multiple tests then compare your results. This will help you narrow down you’re the areas that require attention.
3. Automate your tests. It is important to put your website on a testing schedule. This will help regulate any new issues and give you the necessary time to check adjustments.
4. Know your scenarios. When creating load tests, it is important for you to understand what you are testing for. For example, if you expect a large amount of global traffic you should be testing for latency. Always try to be as specific as possible. This means knowing what regions provide you with the most visitors. Any analytics program can be used to help you better understand where your traffic originated from.
Thanks to increasing technology and a recent price drop, website load testing has now become a realistic option for the majority of website owners. Don’t let your site suffer from slow load times and crashes. Take the time to ensure a pleasant user experience. This is how you continue to grow your business online.