Load Testing is the process of measuring a system’s performance by increasing the demand on the system. Load testing is performed to ascertain a system's behavior under normal conditions as well as the estimated peak load conditions. By the time a software development project approaches to completion, it is expected to have passed numerous tests, particularly in an Agile testing environment where testing and development goes side by side. But no matter how many tests you have run, once your application is complete, there is only one way to know whether your software can handle the actual demands placed upon it by the end users. In this process, high demands are imposed onto the software, an application or website so as to test how it will behave under various conditions.
Load testing is the best known and most commonly conducted type of performance testing, it involves applying stress to a software application to see if it can perform as expected under normal conditions. It is somewhat related to stress testing, but load testing is performed to ensure whether a given system can handle what it’s designed to handle, whereas stress testing is to overload things until they break, applying unlikely load scenarios. Both the practices can play important roles in determining how well a software or system is and whether it can deal with the actual loads or not. Stress testing can analyze the risk involved at the breaking points by inducing failures deliberately. Stress testing is useful for preparing the software for the unexpected so that it can be pushed beyond the limits of performance capacity. But when it comes to simply ensuring that a software application can encounter the user requests and actions, load testing is the right method for the task.
Why Load Testing is important for your applications:
1. To discover application’s potential bottlenecks.
2. To identify the number of users that can access your application without a heavy degradation of the user experience.
3. To find out the breaking points of the application.
4. To find out the behavior of the application under load.
5. To check the amount of time it takes for your server to respond to clients if your website loads up.
6. To check if the APIs or any other web service take time to respond under heavy load.
7. To understand if the connections to the database represent a bottleneck in your application.
8. To identify if the performance behavior of the application is influenced badly after the changes done in each release.
9. To identify the hardware related issues like limitation on the number of threads etc.
10. To discover the count of parallel users your website can handle.
11. To understand if the end users experience any errors and how are these going to affect their journey.
The Future of Load Testing:
The prime purpose of load testing tools—and performance testing tools in general—are always to lessen the risk, be it risk to your software’s functionality, your end-users’ sanity, or to your company’s bottom line. If you focus on diminishing the middle criterion, user sanity, the other two factors will eventually fall into place, and that many load-testing issues actually get summarized, in the end, more to users’ perception.
Indeed, for running repeated load tests, specialized software is typically necessary. Due to the existence of complex human beings, the data interpretation is not straightforward. For example, if someone visits a website that hosts nothing but text, they expect it to load instantly. But in case of an embedded video, they tend to be far more forgiving when it takes a bit of time to load. The reason is that we’ve all been trained to expect these things.
A working knowledge of users’ psychological dimension is demanded. In other words, if you don’t understand human psychology i.e. knowing how a user acts and reacts, the probability of exhibiting a realistic load test is worse and the results will be misinterpreted. With the increased production cycles every day, software companies can save time and money by simply focusing on the specific limitations to a smooth and efficient user experience.