Do you have your business running on online platforms?
Do you have a freshly started website that’s all set to support your digital presence in the market?
If yes, then possibly your biggest goal is to get as much footfall on your website as possible in the shortest time given. That’s how all your efforts to go digital will finally give you fruits. Right?
And what if that actually happens?
Imagine your perfectly functioning ecommerce website one fine day gets a thousand more new users and BOOM… it crashes.
Don't be surprised because this is not a usual hypothetical story. It’s a real life scenario that happens quite often with companies who do not follow a testing drill before launching their applications online. What follows is poor performance and bad user experience. It has been noted that 42% of the users who come across a poorly performing website leave the page and hop on to other similar services providing websites immediately. That increases your website bounce rate and tells a lot about how your website has been performing all this while.
To avoid this scenario, developers often include a step in their software development process called software performance testing.
Read along to know more about performance testing what are the most popular tools that can be used for testing your website.
What is performance testing?
Performance testing is a non-functional testing technique used to determine the speed, responsiveness and stability of a system or device under various workloads. It measures how the quality of the system is i.e. the scalability, reliability and resource usage.
There are six basic techniques commonly used for performance testing:
· Load testing — The simplest form of testing, load testing is conducted to analyze the behaviour of a system under a specific load. It helps in measuring the essential business-critical transactions and monitors the potential load on the database, application server, etc.
· Stress testing — It helps identify the upper limit of load endurance for a system and anticipate the behaviour of the load exceeds way above its expected limits.
· Soak testing — Soak Testing also referred to as endurance testing, is performed under the continuous expected load. Parameters such as memory utilization are tested to determine if there exists any memory leaks or other performance issues.
· Spike testing — used to determine if the system will be able to handle any additional workload, spike testing is done by suddenly increasing the number of users of an application to a very large amount.
· Volume testing — Very large amount of data is inserted in a database and then the software system’s behaviour is monitored in volume testing to check the software application’s performance under different levels of data inserted.
· Scalability testing — used to determine the effectiveness of an application while scaling up the load. It can help you plan your scalability needs is to ensure your application doesn’t break.
Why is performance testing important?
Some of the reasons why performance testing is important are:
1. Mobile app errors
It has been noted that a lot of mobile applications today report errors post their launch in the market. While working on unreliable network errors, applications face network issues, that lead to issues in downloading images, broken images, frequent timeouts, stalling and freezing etc.
2. Frustrated customers and loss of revenue
Poor application experience leads to an increased bounce rate on your web app or other pages. This means that your user would leave as soon as they land on your website because of a poor engagement or increased loading time.
3. Geographical barriers
Different regions have different connections i.e. 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. that have varying speed requirements in their networks. It is important to test your application on various region’s servers to ensure that all your user sitting in different parts of the world can access your application with ease.
4. Performance under High Demand
It is easy to rate an application good during its development stage. But the moment the number of users increases the chances of your application breaking down increases. Optimum levels of testing can ensure your application is ready for added scalability, speed and stability requirements when the demand increases in future.
What are the best performance testing tools?
1. Apache Jmeter Tool
An open-source performance testing tool used for analyzing and measuring the performance of a variety of services including mobile and web service applications.
- Intuitive GUI
- A platform-independent tool was written and developed using Java
- Supports several protocols as well as diverse server types
- Runs on any environment that accepts Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
- Enables easy correlation and extracts data from formats like XML, HTML, JSON, and others.
Neoload is an automated load and stress testing platform for the enterprise. It provides automated testing design and maintenance features along with realistic simulations, fast root cause analysis and built-in integrations. Designed, developed and marketed by Neotys, Neoload supports basic, digest, NTLM and form-based authentication for its users.
- HTTP and HTTPS requests can be recorded and played back
- It supports client certificate authentication.
- It supports ActiveX components
- A lot of web application including those using J2EE, Silverlight, PHP, AJAX, Flex, .NET, GWT, SOAP, Push technology, etc. are supported
- It supports hybrid as well as native mobile applications.
- It supports HTTP streaming and RTMP
- It supports JSON and SPDY protocol
LoadRunner is used to test applications measure system behaviour and performance under load. A software testing tool from Micro Focus, LoadRunner helps simulate 1000s of users currently using applications software by generating messages between application components or by simulating interactions with the user interface such as keypresses or mouse movements.
Core Features and components:
Virtual User Generator (Vugen): Mainly used for recording an application business flow and generating scripts.
Controller: The component where you upload Vugen scripts is a controller. It helps simulate hundreds of users, and monitor different web servers, application servers and database servers.
Analysis: Analysis provides you with different graphs that help identity bottlenecks quickly. It can be used after the testing has been completed.
Load Generator: A tool used to generate load from different machines. You can easily install different load generators in machines and connect them all to a controller that can act as a master and will help gather data from other generators.
Load Generator Calculator: This will help you calculate how many load generators will be required for simulating the load in your system.
4. BlazeMeter Tool
BlazeMeter tool helps test the performance of mobile applications, web applications, and APIs and is useful to carry out a continuous delivery process by integrating with your development environment along with providing powerful analytical and reporting functions. It provides a platform that is highly compatible with Selenium, Apache JMeter, and other similar open-source tools available in the market.
- Defects identification using the in-built error report function
- Descriptive report timeline graphs for creating effective reports and analysis
- Efficient load tests using both, frontend and backend APIs
- Uses JSON and YAML syntax
5. Silk Performer Tool
An enterprise-scale stress and load testing tool, Silk Performer can test multiple application environments at the same time. It’s specially designed to ensure a consistent user experience across all devices for a particular application.
- A peak load scenario can be generated
- Real-world load testing
- Test cycle can be accelerated by using existing bump tests
- Revolves issues like memory leaks and other performance glitches by integrating with your APM tools efficiently.
- Comprehensive diagnostics to identify flaws from the user perspective
6. Rational Performance Tester
IBM RPT is an automated performance and load testing tool that identifies glitches occurring in your system’s performance. Developed by IBM Corporation, it allows your development team to check the reliability and scalability of your web-based application before finally deploying it into a production environment.
- Informs about performance issues anytime during the testing process in real-time.
- Can be used for both server and web-based applications
- Pinpoint and rectifies leakages in the servers and sites
- Compatible with operations support systems like Mac operating system, X, AIX, and Microsoft Windows
- Supports load testing against apps like TCP Socket, SAP, Siebel, Citrix, SIP, HTTP.
Performance testing can be done both manually as well as through automation tools mentioned above. Automated tools can help you save a lot of time and resources on the testing process.
Having studied the need to have performance testing as a diligent process in your application development stages, it is clear how important it is to have a professional performance testing service provider at your end. An expert in this will help you choose the best testing approach as per your business type and requirements and ensure your website doesn’t crash at the peak times.