Source:serverguy.com

Load Testing Best Practices

There is no better way to ensure the successful functioning of your website or application that you use in your business than to test it regularly before letting any shortcomings or crashes come into the picture of how your clients see you.

Load testing is a form of test where you simulate traffic on your site or application to identify weak points before they appear and do any harm in the actual use of your service.

A successful test provides you with key information that buys you some time to fix the issue before launching your service or before starting running any updates outside of the test environment.

Performing this type of test might not be that easy. That is why we shall discuss the best practices that must be applied to this test if you are going to do it.

A realistic level of load

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Load testing like Oxylabs implies that you want to see how well your service will hold the traffic. You don’t need to crash your system unless you are stress testing. The main goal of the latter is to break the system and work on its aftermath to push the breaking point further or to know your limitations and be ready for the forecasted break. It is more meaningful when you are expecting a sudden expansion of your traffic.

However, if you want to see how well your system will sustain the regular or slightly increased traffic, you need to test its load under a realistic traffic level.

Therefore, you need to focus on realistic levels of load and check your systems only at this level of load to ensure that you will be ready for what is coming in the real usage of your service.

Use proxies to create a realistic traffic

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If you want your load testing results to be accurate, you must simulate traffic that seems as genuine as possible. After all, you need your system to be able to withhold real traffic when your system runs at full working capacity.

Proxies are intermediary servers that change your IP address. Residential proxies use real devices from different internet users and employ their IP addresses that work instead of your original one.

They provide the best way to imitate real traffic when testing the load on your system. You can send different requests from distinct IP addresses used in various geo-locations across the world from different devices with different operating systems.

You need to see how well your system will be able to deal with all these differences when they all fall into your traffic.

Include think time for your virtual users

Another key practice in simulating real traffic is to take into account the time that users spend on your pages or applications to read or view what is displayed there.

Your load testing results will not be accurate if you will just bombard your system with many requests at the same time. They must vary in time. Some users read things faster, others slower. Someone might stay on your page and will do something else while maintaining their load on your traffic there for a long while.

All these irregularities among different users must find their place in your test.

Ensure proper functioning of your load generator

In order to generate a certain level of workload, you need a computer that is capable of maintaining that level for a considerable period that is sufficient for the test to be completed.

You have to prepare your computers to fit all the conditions for the test. They must be connected to the network and have sufficient bandwidth.  Any unnecessary software must not be used at the time. You must also refrain from browsing other webs at the time of a test. Don’t create any additional problems that might twist the results.

If you use more than one computer for the test, you need to make sure that they are interconnected and have no communication problems. They must work and send all the requests simultaneously to disperse their workloads as if they would be coming from different users without resembling separate bulks of virtual users on each computer.

Don’t test your load with real traffic

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Avoid the mistake of using a real environment for your test. While it might be a grain of truth that the best way to practice something is to put it in real work, we are talking about testing the level of preparation instead of improving it.

Therefore, testing your product on real traffic can be harmful. You will not be able to avoid negative experiences by real users that will impact the overall approach to your system. It’s better to perform the load testing in a safe environment without risking potentially detrimental results.

If you focus on testing and the results of your tests, you will not have to deal with the real aftermath of identifying your bottlenecks through the dissatisfactions of real users.

Having said all of that, you must imitate the real environment of your system as much as possible. Otherwise, your results will not be accurate and will not provide necessary insights that could lead to key improvements.

Test your scalability wisely

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Whether you are performing a test on a smaller or a bigger scale, you shouldn’t stick with the fixed scale for the whole test. One of the more important things to test when you are load testing is identifying how well your system will work when the level of traffic suddenly increases or decreases.

Such fluctuations of the level of load should occur occasionally. These kinds of changes are natural for real users; therefore, your test must incorporate them too. If you test your system only with a stable level of traffic, you will not know how well your system will perform under these changes.

Conclusion

All these practices are an inherent part of successful load testing. You must not only consider them but engage in them wisely. Otherwise, your test results will not be accurate and, consequently, you will have no use of them.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com