You just finished coding your latest web app and have even gone the extra step of running functional tests to eliminate bugs and make sure that all of the features work correctly. Now it is ready to be released into the world! Not so fast…If you have more than a few hundred users, you could be looking forward to having your users finding embarrassing new bugs or your server crashing under load.
Load testing is a critical step when producing any web application; it ensures that when your web app goes live, it will work properly. It does this by simulating thousands of users to your site, clicking on forms, and doing updates and searches simultaneously. Without load testing, however, bugs and server crashes may cause the loss of customers, reduced employee productivity, damage to your brand or corporate image, and even the capital expense of purchasing unnecessary hardware to fix the problems you shouldn’t have experienced in the first place!
Instead, spend some time upfront load testing your app under different test cases and user loads. In a typical load testing engagement, we might spend several days to a week writing load testing scripts and running the application under different load levels. Then we might spend one or more weeks fixing the issues found and rerunning the load tests to make sure that 1) the original issues are resolved and 2) no new issues have turn up. After you have performed load testing, you can be sure that first and foremost, your web application will NOT fall apart under load, and secondly, you will even be able to tell exactly how many simultaneous users your web app can handle.
Load bugs in a web application are as common and similar as mosquitoes are in humid weather—they’re bound show up and no doubt get on your nerves. Some of the causes for them include software configuration issues (for the Web server, database, load balancers etc.), poor network configurations, poorly optimized software code, and even because of insufficient hardware resources. So, with all of these obstacles in the way of you unleashing your site into the world, make things easy for yourself and let load testing be your personal bug-spray!