What is the usual criteria in choosing an online store? It should have reasonable prices, sell quality products, and most of all, it should have a fast loading time.
A website’s performance is essential. A two-second delay can make a big difference to your website and revenue as well. In fact, Neil Patel reported that a mere second delay may cost an e-commerce site up to $2.5 million in sales annually. If you can lose that much money with a slow website, there is a need to improve your website’s performance.
In this article, you will find out about website performance testing, the fundamentals of testing, types of testing, and the best website performance testing tools you can use.
What is Web Performance Testing
If your website does not perform optimally, you could potential customers. To retain customers, you need to up the level of your website according to the customers’ satisfaction.
To ensure your website is performing according to standards, you need to keep an eye on how your website behaves before completely launching it for public use. The best way to do this is through website performance monitoring. The key to monitoring your website is to engage in accurate and comprehensive performance testing.
Web performance testing ensures that the website runs well under its workload. The goal of testing is to find performance bottlenecks in order to eliminate them. In a nutshell, it measures the quality of a website.
By conducting performance tests, you can determine whether your website is ready to be deployed. If it is not, the results will point you in the direction for how to improve your website.
Fundamentals of Web Application Performance Testing
Before we dive deeper into web application performance testing and its tools, you must first get to know its foundations. Knowing the fundamentals of performance testing gives leverage on how to conduct the tests the right way. It does not matter if you have the best tools as testing will not be successful without the basic knowledge.
Here are the fundamentals of website application performance testing:
Understand your production conditions
Before you conduct the actual testing, you must first figure out the various conditions your application may encounter during production. This will prepare the team on what performance testing needs to be done. Not all performance testing applies to every website. To eliminate unnecessary actions, you must specify the conditions to define the test appropriately.
Set up your test environment
Once conceptualization is complete, the next step is to set up a test environment. The environment should be similar to when the site is deployed. This environment will serve as the production testing home for your app.
The next thing is to make sure that you simulate production conditions for load and stress testing. Select a reliable tool and/or service to help you create a simulation of your application. The simulation should be as realistic as possible. If not, the simulation won’t serve its real purpose.
The next step is automating the operation. The simulation strategy automates the simulated requests and usage scenarios. Automating simulations means automating the beginning of the performance test and recording of the results, as well as the passes and fails.
Establish initial baselines by observing your app performance as it is and recording the data. If you find the run acceptable, then set the data as baselines. If not, fix the performance until it is.
Test and benchmark along the way
Testing is not a one-time process. It is a constant process – a cycle that goes on as long as the website or application lives. Even if you are through creating the environment, all surrounding automation, and baselines, tests should still run regularly. When you’ve achieved your initial goals, set a new goal.
Types of Performance Testing
The problem now is the vagueness of the term “performance testing”. A website has varying areas that need testing. Here are various types of performance testing that you can start with.
The most obvious feature users notice is page loading time. Two seconds is the e-commerce threshold for page load. If a page takes more than two seconds to load, you will find an increase in bounce rate.
Load testing is used to determine the site’s loading speed and capacity. Through load testing, you can check the website’s ability to perform under varying user loads. The main objective of this test is to identify the key performance bottlenecks before launching the website.
Load testing will identify the following:
- maximum operating capacity
- the ability of the website to run in the actual environment
- sustainability of the website during peak user load
- maximum concurrent users the website can support
- scalability feature to allow more users’ accessibility
Load testing is a necessary action to establish a stable and scalable e-commerce site or website application. Here are a few advantages of load testing:
- identifies bottlenecks even during the development stage
- improves website scalability
- reduces failure costs
- minimizes system downtime risks
- increases customer satisfaction
What is your website’s breaking point? Finding the answer to that question is the main objective of stress testing. Basically, stress testing measures how the application handles extreme workloads under high traffic or data processing.
You may find load and stress testing closely similar to each other, but they have many differences. Load testing determines the system behavior under normal workload conditions. Stress testing carries out the test until system failure. In short, stress testing attempts break the website through overwhelming data or resources to identify its limit.
Determining a website’s breaking point aids developers in recognizing variables as to why a website can crash. This data serves as a guide when improving the site.
When performing a volume test, a large number of data is gradually populated in a database then the overall system’s behavior is monitored. This test aims to check the website performance under varying database volumes.
This test should be performed since most of the time a slow website points to a poor-performing database. Monitor the response time of database queries and identify the queries that are taking the most time. Once you’ve identified them, optimize performance.
10 Best Website Performance Testing Tools
The market is flooded with tools for website performance testing. In choosing the best tool, you need to consider the demand, learning curve, complexity, and efficiency for the required type of testing.
Let’s take a look at these website performance testing tools:
Retrace by Stackify
When it comes to Application Performance Management (APM) solutions, Retrace by Stackify is a well-rounded APM that you can confidently deploy to your system. This tool caters to load testing and the overall health of your website or web application.
Retrace is a tool built for developers. It is easy to install and navigate. Not only that, Retrace by Stackify caters to monitoring for various languages, namely .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, Ruby, and Python.
If you want to know more about this APM tool, try your FREE, 14-day Retrace trial!
Synthetics by Sematext
Synthetics is a fresh monitoring tool of Sematext Suite. Though relatively new, it is a simple and reliable tool. Through this tool, users can measure and monitor websites from multiple locations across the globe. It can also measure website performance across devices and browsers as well as identify issues with third-party resources.
Sematext Synthetics plan starts from $29 per month with 40 HTTP and 5 browser monitors with 30-day data retention. You can also opt to customize the plan to fit your needs.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is one of the go-to tools to monitor and measure website performance. The tool grades the website on a scale of 1 to 100 on its behavior for both mobile and desktop.
The test is easy to perform with only one input field for the URL. The test provides detailed data regarding the website such as render-blocking, TTFB, and more. You’ll see sections with a list of recommended paths of action to help speed up the website.
This tool is extremely popular because it is completely free and does not require registration. Startups on a tight budget can make do with this tool to test their websites. However, this free tool lacks features and perks that you’ll find from many other tools on this list.
ReadyAPI offers powerful tools for complex and overall testing of websites and API. The tool can perform various types of tests including functional tests, load tests, and security tests. Its customer support team provides quick responses to queries.
ReadyAPI prices start from $709/license for an API test module to $1,199/license for the API Virtualization module. They also cater to customized quotes to fit the needs of the clientele.
JMeter by Apache
JMeter is an open-source tool used for performance and load testing. This tool can analyze and measure the performance of a variety of services for web and web service applications.
The tool has many key features. It can support multiple load injectors by a single controller, lessen scripting efforts, and supports integrated real-time Tomcat collectors for monitoring. JMeter also supports all Java-based web and web apps.
WebLOAD is an enterprise-class load testing tool from RadView Software. This load and performance testing tool offers scalable verification of web and mobile applications. WebLOAD supports every major web technology, automates bottleneck detection, and has a flexible test scenario creation.
WebLOAD is a testing tool best used for business in financial services, retail, media, education, healthcare, and many more.
NeoLoad is a site speed test tool that can identify points of failure or potential bottlenecks upon placing transactions under heavy load. Developers use NeoLoad to identify the cause of poor performance and relatively change or fix the code, SQL, file handles, Cluster VMs, and more. NeoLoad does not offer a free version, but a free trial period is available for developers to evaluate the tool. NeoLoad has a Professional plan for development teams testing one application or website at a time. For more complex testing like multiple concurrent applications, they also have the Enterprise option.
Oracle Application Testing Suite
Oracle Application Testing Suite provides both load testing and complete performance testing capability. This tool is a comprehensive and integrated testing solution that duly ensures the quality, scalability, and availability of web applications and services.
Websites should ensure high performance when introduced on the internet. The market holds a tight competition for regular websites, e-commerce sites, and website applications. Slow loading time, poor performing features, and weak functionalities will result in a loss of users.
Don’t underestimate website performance testing. You may have the best website developers on your team, but sudden traffic spikes are beyond human resources alone. You need tools.
Choosing a service provider with experience should be at the top of the list. Stackify Retrace is a robust APM tool that conducts granular testing. The tool covers total application performance management.
Visit Stackify and learn more about it.