Load testing is a type of performance testing. It is used to measure how well your software system holds up during certain traffic levels that pressure the functions you are testing.
The main goal of such an examination is to assess your system’s functionality and identify its bottlenecks so that it would not crash during the normal course of its work when the load increases and the pressure gets high.
It’s not encouraging to see that Amazon found that every 0.1 seconds of latency cost them 1% in sales, whereas Google noticed that an extra 0.5 seconds in search page generation time resulted in the traffic drop by 20%. You must make sure you will not suffer these detrimental effects on your system.
It might not be apparent at first how it works and where it can be used. Therefore, we will discuss the examples of load testing to make it clearer where and how you can use it.
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How it works
Regardless of what you are testing, the main rule is that you should never carry the test in a real working environment. You don’t want your users to face any issues that might appear if your system becomes unstable and will not be able to continue functioning correctly.
You need to create a testing environment where you can simulate the traffic without worrying about the bad experiences of real users. However, you must make simulated traffic resemble the real one as much as possible. The best way to do that is by using residential proxies to make multiple requests come from different IP addresses from distinct places and devices with varying operating systems.
Then you must make the traffic on your page heavier than it usually is to see how well the system will respond.
You don’t need to crash the system, for that would be stress testing which you might also find helpful in another case. You should make the traffic higher than usual on load testing, yet realistic and not too heavy.
Testing your website
The simplest example of load testing is testing the load on your website.
During load testing, you can monitor all functions on the site, how well the interface works and whether any disturbances do appear. You can change one thing or the other to see whether an improvement changes the performance under a certain level of load. You can instantly see what is causing the trouble and fix it if it does.
Load testing can also help you identify how your site reacts when the traffic is clearly too heavy for it to work properly. Whether it shows a page that informs the visitor that the site is under too heavy traffic and they need to check back later, or it struggles to load the page at all.
It’s beneficial when you expect a sudden rise in how many active users are about to visit your page. For instance, you just ran a new advertisement that is supposed to lead many new users to click on your page.
If your site crashes, all the money invested in the advertising will go with the sewerage along with your reputation. Load testing is necessary to prevent these kinds of situations.
Testing your application
Another good example similar to the previous one is load testing on your application.
Suppose you advertised a specific product that you are selling. And you offer a huge discount for those who will order the item through your app. You know what to expect next, right? Your app will be flooded with lots of new and old users.
If the app is not prepared to withstand such traffic, it will crash or significantly slow down, resulting in decreased purchases and your brand’s overall reputation.
On the other hand, suppose you have done your homework and carried out the necessary load testing to ensure that your app is capable of withstanding ten or even a hundred times more load than it usually gets. Then, you can remain calm, knowing that your system will be ready when the crucial hour comes.
Load testing helps keep an eye on resource usage and identify any possible weak spots.
Testing external servers or devices
Like in testing websites or apps, when it comes to testing your server’s resources, you need to flood it with a multitude of concurrent virtual users (possibly with the help of residential proxies) to see how it will respond.
Load testing can be helpful not only to see how well your systems perform under increased traffic. You can use it to assess the level of performance on devices you use for your work when you do not have to deal with huge loads of it yet.
For instance, you can carry out load testing on your printer to see how well it performs when too many tasks are assigned in a row to complete in a certain time.
If you are about to need to work fast and push your printer beyond the limits that you have reached so far, you will be able to plan your work and speed more adequately.
Another good example is testing your computer for certain tasks to complete. For example, you can start downloading many files at a time or running multiple applications that require lots of power to maintain.
Or you can test how fast your computer will process certain amounts of data when you need to access it fast, especially when its volume increases instantly. Or when you need to send it somewhere fast or write it into external devices without spending too much doing that.
In all cases, load testing works the same way. You need to put your system under simulated pressure that will resemble the real one as much as possible to make your site, app, server, or device showcase its best and worst for you. Then, you can fix everything to avoid any trouble in the future.