On 3rd March 2014, world’s largest microblogging site ‘Twitter’ crashed due to a retweet of a single picture. Similarly, there was a crash in the iTunes store because of the increasing user load. Both Twitter and iTunes are prominent web portals of the world, and perhaps least expected to be unprepared for such scenarios. These events point to the changing user scenario in the internet world (internet users have grown 50% in the last five years) and the need for regular performance testing of websites even on the long-standing platforms. If you have a website and fear the consequence that Twitter and iTunes faced, read on and know the steps to avoid the situation.
Step 1: What to test?
Load testing refers to modelling a website’s expected usage by simulation of real-time load on the website. It allows testers to measure the website’s service quality in real case scenarios; monitor the system to check the response time and working speed with the increase in the workload.
Distinct to load testing, stress testing measures the performance of a website outside the general working condition parameters. The key objective of stress testing is to measure the stability of a web portal.
In spike testing, the testers increase the user load or workload substantially for a short amount of time. It helps to check if the website can handle considerable changes in load.
Endurance testing’s aim is to determine a website’s efficiency for a sustained unexpected load over extended time. It is implemented to detect any potential leaks via the amount of memory utilized.
With this test, a website’s working condition is checked. During this test, you gradually increase the input of the data.
The objective of this test is to check the volume handling capacity of a massive amount of data. Another name for this testing is flood testing.
Step 2: Decide the KPIs (key performance indicators)
Normal Response time
It refers to the time taken by a web portal to process the request of a user and provide them with a response, such as an HTTP GET request by the client/user to the server to access information.
This is the average amount of time taken by a website to deliver the users’ request. It informs developers about the time taken by the portal from accessing the first bite to completing the request of the user. The amount of time taken is a vital gauge of quality from a consumer’s perspective.
Peak response time
It is the longest duration that a website takes to answer a user’s request when the user load is maximum, defining its efficiency.
It is the calculation of the number of requests that occur as an error at peak time. This issue usually arises when the load on the website increases its capacity.
CPU and Memory
These factors are useful while determining the amount of memory per request and the amount of time the CPU takes to process the request.
After determining the above factors, the testers and developers need to decide on the plan of action to implement a website’s performance testing. There are several methods through which efficient and swift performance testing is possible. These include:
Determining the test environment
Identification of the test environment and available resources is essential for organizations. It helps in efficiently planning the test design and identifying challenges that might occur during production.
Determining the performance metrics
Testers must prepare performance metrics such as response time, resource goals, scalability, and stability of a website before development.
Designing the test
Before designing a test case, determining performance test scenarios such as user variability target metrics and testing data becomes essential.
Implementing the test design
After designing the test, testers must implement it in the minimal time. It reduces the stress on developers to test the complete development of the product at the end of the software development life cycle.
Execution of the test
During the execution of the test, testers must capture all the data generated. It provides information to the developers on the defects in the websites’ working efficiency.
Analysis of reports
After the completion of test cases, testers must analyze all the required reports. In the case of any requirement for retesting, ensure to maintain the quality of the website.
As web development scenarios are changing rapidly, the increase in the user base is giving developers and testers a run for their money. In this competitive environment, if organizations are looking for growth in their specific field, websites’ performance testing is necessary. Performance testing is not a one-time thing. Therefore, all websites must revisit the performance testing floor after an interval to ensure a seamless user experience.
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