Many companies consider performance testing a necessary evil, leaving it to the last moment. Because of this, there is a misconception that performance testing is difficult to execute or it takes a long time to build. Regardless of these misconceptions performance testing is crucial. But, why is performance testing essential? This question can be answered by Ian Molyneaux (published author and established technical writer regarding performance testing)
“If an end user perceives bad performance from your website, their next click will likely be on your-competition.com”
Performance testing is not difficult given the right approach and an understanding of what you are really trying to achieve. Let’s get into What is performance testing? Why it's important? When it should be performed? How to do it? And the different types and tools that can be used:
What is performance testing?
Performance Testing is a type of software testing which ensures that the application is performing well under the workload. The goal of performance testing is not to find bugs but to eliminate performance bottlenecks. It measures the quality attributes of the system. The attributes of Performance Testing include:Speed - It determines whether the application responds quickly.
Scalability - It determines maximum user load the software application can handle.
Stability - It determines if the application is stable under varying loads.
Why conduct performance testing on your website?
Without performance testing, software is likely to suffer from issues such as: running slow while several users use it simultaneously, inconsistencies across different operating systems and poor usability.
Below are the advantages:
Validate features - Performance testing validates the fundamental features of the software. Measuring the performance of basic software functions allows business leaders to make key decisions about the setup of the software.
Measure the speed, accuracy, and stability - It helps you in monitoring the crucial components of your software under duress. This gives you vital information on how the software will be able to handle scalability.
Keep your users happy - Measuring application performance allows you to observe how your customers respond to your software. The advantage is that you can pinpoint critical issues before your customers.
Identify discrepancies - Measuring performance provides a buffer for developers before release. Any issues are likely to be magnified once they are released.
Improve optimization and load capability - Measuring performance can help your organization deal with volume so your software can cope when you hit high levels of users.
When to start performance testing?
Right time for any applications performance testing would be “When the application is functionally stable” and “When it's fully in the state where the application is ready to sustain the load of X Virtual user”.
Performance testing can be done in seven steps:
• Identify the testing environment.
• Identify performance metrics.
• Plan and design performance tests.
• Configure the test environment.
• Implement your test design.
• Run tests.
• Analyse, report, retest.
Types of performance testing:
Different types of performance testing are below and should be chosen according to our requirement.
• Load testing: Checks the application's ability to perform under anticipated user loads. The objective is to identify performance bottlenecks before the software application goes live.
• Stress testing: involves testing an application under extreme workloads to see how it handles high traffic or data processing. The objective is to identify the breaking point of an application.
• Endurance testing: It is done to make sure the software can handle the expected load over a long period of time.
• Spike testing: Tests the software's reaction to sudden large spikes in the load generated by users.
• Volume testing: Under volume testing a large no. of data is populated in a database and the overall software system's behaviour is monitored. The objective is to check software application's performance under varying database volumes.
• Scalability testing: The objective of scalability testing is to determine the software application's effectiveness in "scaling up" to support an increase in user load. It helps plan capacity addition to your software system.
The bottom line is that performance testing helps both the top line (revenue) and the bottom line (profitability) of your business. Grow your top line through higher user satisfaction with your website or application. Grow your bottom line by reducing development costs. Performance testing needs to be part of your applications Regression suite and part of the quality gates for all new releases. Performance testing with the right tools gives you the data you need to make the right decisions, protecting and increasing your revenue and reputation, even in the most unpredictable phases of growth and change.