For eCommerce businesses, testing your server performance before trying to sell your products or services can be vital to the health of your business and its future. Consumers can be impatient and need your website to be fully functioning, especially when it comes to mobile site.
But what are server performance testing tools, and why are they so important?
What Is Performance Testing?
Performance testing is a technique that allows performance test engineers or performance testers to test out products and services before their release and ensure an adequate load testing solution. It usually tests how a product or service holds up under certain pressure, emphasizing specific determining factors such as speed, stability, scalability, and responsiveness.
Why Is Server Performance Testing Important?
Server performance testing is important because it allows testers, developers, and team leads to determine whether or not their product or service is good enough to be released to the clients and/or the public. For example, server performance testing can help you ensure that your website speed is up to par with what customers expect and need.
Ensures Better User Experience
When it comes to products and services, providing your users with a great experience is critical. Not only will a good user experience benefit the user, but it’ll also improve your company’s reputation. Users want to know that they can rely on your product and services. Testing them out beforehand helps you ensure that that becomes a reality.
For example, server performance testing allows you to prioritize website speed, allowing your customers better engagement. You won’t attract a good audience if your website doesn't perform well. In fact, your target audience may run the other way.
Automated testing tools for server performance will help your team check your website's performance and speed. If your website doesn’t perform well, then your team can prioritize connectivity and bandwidth access and improve the overall functionality of your website.
When your website performs well and is fast enough to meet user expectations, you’ll increase your clickthrough rates and generate more revenue.
Identifies Performance Bottlenecks
Another advantage of server performance testing is identifying and resolving performance bottlenecks. Performance bottlenecks can be caused by the network, central processing unit (CPU), memory, disk, and software. While it can be difficult to catch, improve, or prevent these bottlenecks from occurring, proper server performance testing can help pinpoint and eradicate these issues efficiently.
With adequate performance testing, your team can build customized dashboards and reports to observe and evaluate crucial performance metrics. Your team can see the full picture of your infrastructure and examine these factors in real-time, allowing them to monitor performance and identify exactly where the issues occur.
Prepares Your Application or Site To be Used by Thousands of Users
One of the final important factors behind server performance testing is preparing your product or service to be accessed and used by thousands of users. No one wants to launch a product, service, or website only for it to have performance issues or crash when thousands of users attempt to access it.
If you’re working on an application or website and expect there to be an influx of clients accessing the application or website all at once, it’s imperative that you ensure that it can handle the number of users you’ll potentially have.
Ultimately, you’ll want your website or application to be robust and scalable. Ensuring that your website or application is robust means that it will remain strong during the most critical situations, such as network issues and virtual attacks. With scalability, your team will have an application or website that can be updated and upgraded in real time.
This will help you provide a strong and easily upgraded interface in case crashes happen due to many users accessing your product.
Server Performance Metrics
Performance metrics help monitor behaviors, activities, and the overall performance of a website, application, product, or service. In general, it helps measure how a business performs.
Typically, performance metrics help monitor data and form a basis for achieving business goals. Some performance metrics also measure employees’ performance and areas they could improve on.
Performance metrics are vital to a business’s success.
With performance testing, there are four main types of metrics that are important:
- Change fail rate: How many deployments cause production failures
- Change lead time: How much time is required for a commit to be produced
- Deployment frequency: The frequency at which a business can successfully release a product or service to production
- Mean time to restore (MTTR): The time it takes for a business to recover from a failed production
Types of Performance Testing
Performance testing isn’t as black and white as just testing your server and monitoring your metrics. Different types of performance testing should be used to gauge how your website, application, product, or service performs. For example, you’ll want to test how well your website or application loads or how your product or service performs under stress.
Let’s take a look at the different types of performance testing and how they can help your idea succeed.
Load testing scripts is one of the most important tests you can perform in the Agile testing environment. Normally, your website, application, product, or service, would have already gone through numerous tests throughout the software development process. These tests happen concurrently, meaning they happen as your product is being developed. However, near the end of your development, it’s important to know whether or not your software can handle an influx of users.
To determine this, your team will want to perform load testing. Load testing is what happens when production simulations are created within a system. These simulations allow your team to monitor the performance of your software and determine whether it is performing as expected under specific conditions and whether performance meets expectations.
Stress testing is another important test that must be performed before your software’s release. It will enable your team to determine how effectively your software performs on a computer, network, or other devices under specific unfavorable conditions. These tests can be performed in a lab where quantitative tests will be conducted to determine how often errors and system crashes occur.
Stress tests focus on how your software will perform under certain situations. Your testers will create a poor environment to test how your software handles:
- Several resource-heavy load applications being used simultaneously
- Hacking and spreading spam content
- Flooding servers with spam e-mail messages
- Engaging in multiple attempts to access a single website
- Trying to contaminate a system with Trojans, viruses, malware, spyware, and other infections
Endurance testing, also soak testing, is a test that focuses on durability and strength. In short, an endurance test measures how an application or website handles the expected processing load, the application or website’s resistance, and how long it can endure specific processing loads. Endurance testing also focuses on memory consumption and performance testing and how they relate to possible failures and discrepancies.
As the endurance is tested, your team will develop a simulated condition that considers specific period lengths and certain load times. These factors will be tested to measure the response time. Any observations made during endurance testing are then used to improve the application's or website's equivalent parameters.
The process of an endurance test may look something like this:
- Create the simulated test environment
- Decide on the test plan
- Test estimation
- Risk examination
- Test timetable
- Test implementation
- Test conclusion
Spike tests also test a website or application’s ability to handle certain loads. This occurs by abruptly adding and taking away the load generated by a significant number of users on an application. Spike testing helps determine whether dramatic load changes will cause a system to fail, or if the system can withstand those changes and survive.
The objectives of performing a spike test consist of evaluating system and software behaviors under loads that are quick to change, monitoring the performance of these systems and software as the load abruptly changes, observing the system or software’s failure under an extreme load, and determining the time to recover between two spikes.
Volume or flood tests focus on specific data amounts inside software applications or systems. The data is typically used from databases or interface files, whichever is receiving the test. When performing volume tests, your team will likely extend the size of the database or file and test the performance based on those parameters.
With volume testing, you can expect the following features:
- Software performance declines as time passes, particularly due to the significant amount of data.
- The test data generator creates the test data.
- The developmental phase sees a small amount of data being tested.
- The test data is required to be logically correct.
- Test data is used to monitor the system’s performance.
Volume test objectives include recognizing issues that may occur when a huge amount of data is used, checking system performance by adding to the database’s volume, identifying the point where the system is stable after reduction, and determining the system or application’s capacity.
Scalability testing is a non-functional testing that enables your team to test your software or application’s performance, system, process, and network. This test helps determine your product’s ability to scale up or down depending on performance attributes, such as the number of user request loads and other factors. Scaling tests help to pinpoint the exact moment a software or system stops scaling. With this information, your team can identify why the software or system stops scaling and work on ways to fix it.
Other objectives of scalability testing include determining how increasing workloads affect the application’s ability to scale, figuring out user limitations for the software or product, identifying client-side degradation and end-user experiences under load, and figuring out server-side strength and degradation.
Performance Testing Tools
Similar to types of performance testing, there are also many server performance monitoring tools. To determine the best network performance testing tools for your business, you’ll need to understand a few critical factors, including:
- The type of testing your product or service requires
- How much you’re willing to spend on performance testing tools
- What licensing types are there and which do you need
- The online forums and assistance each tool provides
- What protocol support the testing tool offers
- Which languages you’ve used to write scripts
Additionally, you may want to see the additional features each testing tool offers, such as recording your tests and playing them back, load emulators, and load injectors.
Some of the most popular testing tools are mentioned below.
LoadNinja is a testing environment tool that is trusted by companies like Lyft, Philips, and Nestle. It provides users with a 14-day trial and comes packed with features, including instant playback and real browsers that supply accurate and reliable data. It has an easy-to-use interface and requires no learning curve. So, you and your team can use it immediately.
LoadNinja comes with three affordable plan options:
- On-demand: For a $287 one-time fee, your on-demand option includes the ability to test when your team needs it. It allows you 8 load hours and 100 virtual users and comes with an additional $4.99 monthly maintenance fee. You can also choose to upgrade to Pro or Premium on-demand services, which come with more virtual users but a higher flat-rate fee.
- Subscription: For $100 a month, billed annually, you get a 1-hour max test duration, 100 load hours per year, and 100 virtual users per month or test. This plan is great for teams who need to test software consistently. You can also upgrade to the Pro or Premium plans with more virtual users.
- Enterprise: Enterprise plans are customizable plans that are unique to your business and will require a chat to determine the price and customization options. You’ll generally have access to a maximum test duration of 6 hours, up to 200,000 virtual users per test, and 5 synchronous tests.
WebLOAD is a testing environment load testing tool that helps with enterprise-scale load types testing. Trusted by companies such as eBay, Intel, and the United States Postal Service (USPS), WebLOAD comes with a 30-day free trial that allows you to test out all of its features. Its features include the WebLOAD recorder, analytical dashboards, and integrations.
WebLOAD comes with three plans:
- Trial: The trial version allows you 30 days of access to all of WebLOAD’s features and provides you with 50 virtual users, the ability to run on-premise, a single load generator, and a single tester.
- Professional: The professional version gives you access to 1000 virtual users and works both on-premise and in SaaS. It also allows you 3 load generators, a single tester, a web user interface, extra protocols, and professional SLA support.
- Enterprise: With the enterprise version, you’ll have access to custom virtual users, the ability to work on-premise and through SaaS, unlimited load generators, multiple testers, a web user interface, a range of protocols, and professional SLA support.
Prices for professional and enterprise plans vary.
LoadUI Pro provides teams with fully featured performance testing software tools. It is designed to be used by enterprises and startups alike. It provides you with features like API testing, load testing, cross-browser testing, UI testing, and parallel testing in one easy-to-use interface.
Apache JMeter is a free, open-source tool, and 100% Java-based application created to measure performance. It assess functional behaviors of your products and software. It has the ability to load and test the performance of various applications, servers, and protocol types, portability, multithreading, and easy correlation.
StresStimulus is a performance testing tool trusted by companies like Comcast, HP, and Deloitte. It works with several different web interfaces and helps you to load test complex websites, mobile applications, and enterprise applications. Features include automated load test recording, dynamic pages, and authentication.
It comes with pro, enterprise, and service provider editions, each with its own passes. With pro and enterprise, you can get weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, or permanent passes, each featuring its own number of virtual users and its own price points. The service provider edition comes with three plans, monthly, quarterly, and annual plans. You can also request a free trial.
IBM’s rational functional tester allows you access to automated testing capabilities that test the functional, regressive, GUI, and data-driven server performance metrics behind your application. Features include advanced ScriptAssure technology, early data detection, and software integration.
LoadRunner simplifies load and performance testing, making the process easier for your team through its features. Your team will have access to project-based capabilities that enable them to effectively identify abnormal behaviors in your applications. Their testing environment supports more than 50 technologies and application environments, adding to its ease of use. Features include flexible test scenarios, scripting languages, and continued testing.
Silk Performer enables your team to perform load and stress testing through accurate and realistic testing environments. Silk Performer provides your team with as many simulated virtual users as required and allows them to create several different environments and platforms. Features include an integrated cloud and asset reusability.
AppLoader is for those who wish to perform load and performance testing from user perspectives. It allows teams to test software quality assurance and helps ensure that clients receive a worthy product. Its features include diagnostic tools, assessment management, and a hierarchical view.
Pricing starts at one-time payments of $2500 but varies depending on the features included.
Avoid Server Overload with Server Performance Testing Tools
The holiday season can be stressful, especially on servers, when many customers start using your application or visiting your website. Unfortunately, overloads can be difficult to manage. So, it’s important to have a team dedicated to server performance testing. It’s also hard to know what is the best performance testing tools for web applications. If you’re lacking in that department and don’t know where to look, reach out to Revelo. Our talent marketplace can help match your business with top tech talent in Latin America, who have the skills and experience you require to perform server testing efficiently.
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