The main reason your company should load test its websites and mobile applications is to learn how the site performs so you can improve the user experience and make smart web infrastructure decisions. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Above all else, load testing is a learning experience that provides a wealth of insight into how your website performs from both a user experience and technical perspective.
How can it be done? Running a load test involves creating a small or large number of virtual users via programming script, running a simulation in which those virtual users access your site, and gathering information about how well the website performs under the traffic load.
How Your Website Operates and Why it Matters
If you are curious to learn more about how your website operates, contact a specialized load test company that offers load tests with up to 50 users for free over a 30-day period. Such a smaller test will provide insight into how well your company’s site performs for a typical user during light traffic situations. Free application monitoring tools often can be downloaded if your business does not already have one.
Longer load times hurt conversion rates: According to Amazon, every 100ms of page load time latency reduces sales by 1 percent. So your business could be losing out on 10 percent of sales because your pages take a second longer to load. Testers can learn all sorts of interesting things about how a site operates with varying virtual traffic loads.
Primarily, the load test tells you how long it takes a page to load on your site for users at different traffic levels. You can find out how quick load times are during normal, peak, spike and overwhelming use rates.
The load time data helps identify not only problems in your website code that could be slowing down individual pages, but also problems with the infrastructure itself. Load testing lets your business know exactly how much load times increase when the site gets busy relative to normal use. The tests also can determine how much traffic a site’s infrastructure can handle before load times get outrageously high—and when the site will crash.
A load test provider can offer testing from server locations all over the globe. A guest in Chicago visiting a site that is hosted in New York City may have fast load times, but Los Angeles-based visitors may have to wait an extra second for pages to load. This data can help your company make an educated decision when purchasing a content delivery network (CDN) service that mirrors content, so site guests farther away from the original host server have a better experience with your site. Look for a load test provider that can offer synthetic load traffic of up to 500 Gbps bandwidth and a million concurrent virtual users. Loads should be generated to your breaking point, and fast!
Get the Ideal Amount of Power and Learn How to Scale
Once your business is able to see how your site performs under various traffic loads, that information can help determine where the infrastructure needs upgrades at various traffic levels. This helps with capacity planning—the ability to scale different infrastructure elements to meet demand without wasting money on power that is not going to be used.
Running load tests on your company’s site will teach you invaluable information about how your site works so your customers can have a better experience with your platform. Improved website performance equals improved business.
About the Author / Sven Hammar, CEO, Apica
Sven Hammar is co-founder and CEO of Apica, a provider of powerful, best-in-class technology for testing, monitoring, and optimizing the performance of cloud and mobile applications. Mr. Hammar he has decade-long experience and expertise in web performance and web optimization, e-commerce, cloud services, IT entrepreneurship and the Internet. He is also a serial entrepreneur who has founded several successful IT companies over the years.