How To Load Test Your PHP Website

Tarun Nagar Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources

It is important that web applications are optimized to ensure the best application performance for the end user.  PHP developers can improve website performance by load testing their PHP website. Load testing checks the rigidity, speed, interoperability of the system, and the performance and the reliability of a PHP website. 


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Why should you Load Test your PHP Website?

Load testing PHP websites ensures that the website and all its features are tested for possible performance scenarios. This can tell the developers if there is an error or a missing value in the code of the website. 

Some essential load testing activities include:

  • Testing website response time to see how the website behaves at different internet speeds.
  • Load testing the website to see how it behaves under normal and critical scenarios.
  • Stress testing all website features to find its breakpoint. 
  • Testing a website crash to analyze how to most efficiently recover.
  • Ensuring optimization techniques, like gzip compression and server-side cache, are enabled so the website loads faster.

What do you need to check before load testing your PHP website?

When load testing, developers need to check different variables that could affect the performance of their website that would make it either slow or crash.

 Listed below are some things all PHP developers need to test:

  • Ensure there is enough cache so the website loads quickly.
  • Make sure your code does not have too many loops. Even though they are an integral part of programming and give great power to the developers, loops can sometimes make the code too complex.
  • Check that queues are being used to make the code perform more efficiently.
  • Verify that database and their functionalities provide an authentication interface.
  • Test that the website is strong enough to handle traffic.

Tools Used For Performance/Load Testing

We have listed our favorite PHP tools for improving the performance and speed of your website:

PHP Code Profilers

Developers use PHP code profilers to improve the performance of web applications while writing code.  They validate behavior in your code to find hidden exceptions, slow SQL queries, and more.

Code profilers can be broken into two separate categories: standard code profiler and web request profiler.  Standard code profilers provide method and line level performance reporting.  Web request profilers, like Stackify Prefix, capture detailed code level traces of each web request.  

PHP Application Performance Management (APM) Tools

Using an APM tool can help developers proactively improve application performance through identifying bottlenecks in your code.  Stackify’s APM tool, Retrace, provides complete PHP monitoring in one tool.  

Retrace uses lightweight profiling to automatically track key methods in your code. Detailed performance data helps you understand how your code is performing and how to improve it. Retrace automatically instruments dozens of common PHP frameworks and application dependencies, such as Laravel, MongoDB, and more.  Try your free, two week Retrace trial today.

Real User Monitoring (RUM) Tools

Real User Monitoring tools monitor the front end of your PHP application to solve application issues faster.  RUM is executed using a small JavaScript on a webpage that will ask to collect data from the user as the user goes through the application.   

Stackify’s APM tool, Retrace, includes Real User Monitoring to monitor the front and back end of code together.  With a broad perspective into the performance of their application, Retrace users are able to easily optimize app performance.   

Web Server Access Logs

When monitoring a web application, consider factors such as requesting a path, status, log event date, and more. With the help of data collected from access logs, it is possible to formulate the requests that come to the website each minute. 

It is also very beneficial in calculating several factors such as requests, average load time, and the error request data from the HTTP of the web application or website. 

Exception Tracking

While PHP is able to handle exceptions, there are chances the execution may fail and the program crashes. If the system is able to throw exceptions in the back-end, it becomes tough to keep track of every exception. In the majority of the cases, when errors occur, they are stored in the log of the web server.