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How Load Testing Can Drastically Improve Application Performance

Load testing is a type of performance stress testing used to determine how the web application will perform during normal and peak times. With load testing, we can validate whether the web application meets the performance requirements per the defined service level agreements (SLA).

How Load Testing Can Drastically Improve Application Performance

There are various types of performance stress testing software available in the market. With such software, we can simulate the traffic on web applications to check whether the web application will function as is when the traffic or load is unusually high or low. It is a type of non-functional software testing. The main goal of load testing, one method of performance stress testing, is to determine application performance by allowing multiple users access to the application to improve the overall performance.

Why Is Load Testing Required?

There are many websites available in the market today and they have, at one point or another, faced serious downtime when they received access requests or more traffic from end users. The main goal of e-commerce websites is to show relevant ad traffic to users based on their preferences, but this doesn’t work optimally when the application is unable to process the requests of so many users simultaneously. This is where load testing allows you to gauge the capacity of your application.

In summation, load testing is vitally important because it improves overall system reliability and performance, identifies the application’s limitations, improves the application’s overall performance by determining strategies for performance improvement, and avoids failure costs, improving customer satisfaction.

Using load testing, we can get data on essential performance metrics for the web application before moving it to the production environment. Load testing provides data on the server response time for each request, application performance during spikes in traffic, database performance under various workload requests, and network delays between the application server and response. Lastly, it highlights weak points such as software design and optimization issues and hardware and storage limitations. 

We would be remiss if we didn’t point out the disadvantages of load testing as well. The following are the disadvantages of load testing: the programming skills required to perform load testing means it’s an infrastructure-based task, which means a lot of development efforts are required if a company wants to build custom load testing tools.

Strategies for Load Testing

Load testing can be carried out in a variety of ways. Understanding these different methods will assist you in picking the one that suits your needs best.

Manual Testing

We manually perform the load testing to check the web application performance. The only limitation of this type of testing is that we can’t produce repeatable results to measure the load on the application.

Custom Load Testing Tools

Enterprises can build and develop their own load testing tools based on their custom requirements, who understand the importance of load testing applications.

Leverage Open Source Load Testing Tools

There are various open source load testing tools available in the market, which can be used free of charge. The only limitation of these open source tools is that there won’t be any production support in case of any issues.

Enterprise-level Load Testing Tools

Organizations can also buy licensed software to perform load testing on the application.

Load Testing Tools

With load testing, we can check if the application is capable enough to scale when there is an increase in traffic. Let’s explore in detail a few open source load testing tools.

Taurus is a wrapper mainly to develop the performance tests to hide the complexity of running the tests on top of the custom application developed by the team. In Taurus, we can write the test cases in the YAML or JSON format. It also allows more team members to collaborate and work to perform different performance tests. Thus, the Taurus tool is preferable if we have CI/CD pipelines to deploy your application.

Locust is an open source load testing tool to measure an application’s response time. In Locust, we can write scripts in various programming languages, but Python is the most preferred language.

nGrinder is an enterprise-level performance engineering tool or solution to track an application’s performance. This tool’s main goal is to simplify stress testing and provide an environment to create, execute, and monitor tests.

Gatling is a stress testing tool built in three programming languages: Scala, Akka, and Netty. This tool allows end users to measure the end-to-end performance of the application and scale up virtual users. In addition, it is easier to extend testing capabilities with this tool.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored load testing and its impact on application performance. With load testing, we can determine application performance under real-life conditions. Using load testing, we can improve application performance, scale the application, and improve the application’s stability before moving to the production environment. In addition, we can improve the overall application operationalization to improve the application’s overall performance. 

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