September 20, 2013
Performance testing is necessary to ensure that users have the best possible experience on your website, but from the outside it can seem like an...
Performance testing is necessary to ensure that users have the best possible experience on your website, but from the outside it can seem like an incredibly daunting task. To many, the idea of monitoring their website at all times of day and night can seem impossible at worst, and annoyingly costly at best. However, performance testing is actually quite simple and provides necessary feedback to website owners and developers, and can also be automated quite easily.
As many as 44% of website owners don’t perform testing for such concerns as load or traffic volume.
But before we begin, we must address a simple question: what is performance testing, and what does it do? Performance testing involves making sure that a website is functioning as it was designed to, considering such aspects as load, response time, bandwidth, etc. It is a process which provides valuable feedback about how a variety of users experience your website, taking into account wide array of considerations that can be difficult to test for in and of themselves. It’s also a process which is often ignored or undervalued to website owners.
As our guest contributor Prashant Chambakara covers in his white paper, as many as 44% of website owners don’t perform testing for such concerns as load or traffic volume. A recent study conducted by Vanson Bourne proved that even minor lag in a website’s response time can affect customer experience, which is something all of us can relate to. How often have you closed a website before it had even loaded, simply because it was taking too long? As failures and glitches can result in a frustrating user experience it’s vital to have a mechanism that monitors your website and its performance 24/7.
Performance testing is the only way to ensure many aspects of your website work properly; to name a few:
- Reliability, scalability, query time, and throughput
- Ability to handle large volumes of load and different traffic patterns
- Analysis of how the performance deteriorates as the load is ramped up
- Identification of bottlenecks
Types of Performance Testing
Many people think that performance testing relates solely to the end user’s experience, but it is more complicated than that. Instead, it encompasses a few different methodologies and considerations as to the aspects of a system which affect or are the reasons behind the website’s degraded performance. For this reason, performance testing is divided into five main areas:
- Load: Verifies the system’s behavior under several loads (including normal and peak conditions), measuring response times, resource usage, and throughput rates and identifying its breaking point
- Stress: Determines performance when the system is being pushed beyond peak conditions and identifies whether the system fails gracefully
- Capacity: Determines how many transactions it will support at a time without compromising performance
- Spike: Subset of stress testing- determines the behavior when there is a dramatic short-term increase in users accessing the website
- Endurance: Determines how the system functions under continuous light-to-medium load and finds whether or not the system contains any resource leaks
These different branches individually assess the website or web application with different objectives in mind. However, all are necessary if you want to create a properly-functioning website which performs as expected and does so as flawlessly as possible. For more information on performance testing and optimizing the testing process, please see the full white paper here, or take a look at our entire collection of performance and automation white papers here.