If you’re developing software or considering a new program for your business, then there are many tests you should run to ensure the program is viable. One of these tests is called load testing and it’s imperative that you run this. In a nutshell, this determines how well the program functions under a heavy load, but it’s so much more than that.
Load Testing Definition
This is a type of software test that determines how well the system functions under a heavy load. This is used most commonly with online applications and servers as they will suffer the brunt of bad effects when many users are online and trying to access the system, but this can be used for other programs as well.
In general, the tester will flood the system with requests that are similar to peak traffic amounts. For example, if the system is expected to get 10,000 visitors a day, then the test will load the system with about 10,000 requests to see how the program functions.
This not only shows if the system can still function, but it also tests the environment and speed of the program. You may determine that an extra server is needed or that the program moves too slowly when under stress. This will show you if the program is right or if it needs more work.
Different Between Load and Stress Testing
Stress testing is another test that is similar and premise, but shows you a whole other side of the program and your server system. Unlike the other test, stress testing is all about pushing beyond a program’s limits and seeing how it reacts.
For example, you have the same program that accommodates 10,000 visitors a day. Instead of sending 10,000 requests at it, you’ll instead send 15,000 or 20,000 to see what happens. The amount largely depends on how much you want to test the system.
Unlike the other test that seeks to see how a system performs under pressure, stress testing wants to see if the system will remain stable when there are significantly more visitors that expected. This can be useful if you have a viral product that everyone wants or to see how the system reacts if you rapidly gain more popularity and need to keep customers and users happy.
Advantages of Software Testing
Testing the load is essential with software because you want to know how it performs under pressure. Any program and system will work well with minimal users, but what happens when you reach peak capacity? If you’re not ready for it, then the system can crash and you might have hundreds or thousands of unhappy people. That’s not good for any business.
If you test the load, then you can see what happens and create a suitable plan. This also helps to determine the exact number of users that creates problems for the program. For example, the program might swear that it can accommodate 10,000 users, but the true peak might be closer to 9,000 or 11,000.
This can also help you determine when the performance will start to suffer. For example, you might notice the system slowing down around 5,000 to 6,000 requests. This allows you to put plans in place to ensure peak performance even as the system is receiving more requests.
Tips for Improving Load
If you want to improve performance even after the system is heavily loaded, then there are a few things you can do. Improve the servers and add more memory, stronger CPUs, and resolve any network bottlenecks. There may also be software glitches or problems that only appear during heavier loads that you can correct.
As the traffic gets higher, you can create plans to funnel more power into the system. For example, you can slow down performance on less popular systems or programs. You can also use third-party servers that activate as you reach peak traffic. There are many things you can do to improve performance as the traffic climbs higher.
Load testing is essential for seeing how a program reacts as it receives more requests. This is very important for online software, servers and similar programs, but it can be used for any system.