Performance Testing: A Key to Optimizing Website Performance
As many as 44% of website owners do not test their website to check for such concerns as increased traffic volume or load. In today’s competitive and highly responsive market, it’s unwise for retailers to ignore the necessity of performance testing, especially when their website is sometimes their only means of attaining sales and create a good reputation. Hence, every website manager should adopt a mechanism to monitor their website and its performance 24/7.
Every retailer around the world relies on their website to attract customers, promote their business or brand, and execute online transactions. When these activities are performed by the websites on a continuous basis, it is crucial for websites to be prepared for the extremes to avoid customer dissatisfaction, service outages, and other quality issues.
Website failure or glitches can greatly affect customers’ experience. Even minor lag in a website’s response time can affect customer experience and conversion rates, according to a study conducted by Vanson Bourne.
What is web or website performance testing?
A website can either make or break the purpose of your business and your goals; testing this website can mitigate the risks of quality and performance issues. Therefore, one way to define website performance testing is ‘Taking cautious action against a web application or website for its ability to function under different circumstances. The circumstances could be load time, response time, low bandwidth, etc.’
Why it is necessary to test website performance
A website incorporates hundreds of pages, documents, and media files. Testing your website’s performance is a great way to:
- Ensure that the front end operations – reliability, scalability, speed and responsiveness – and back end operations such as query time and throughput both work properly
- Ensure that a website built on different technologies works appropriately on different browsers
- Enable the website to handle large volumes and different patterns of traffic
- Help analyze the behavior of the website under various load levels
- Find bottlenecks in the website and applications integrated with it
Types of performance testing
Performance testing of the website is not confined to just the user’s experience. Rather, it involves several aspects that affect or are the reasons behind the website’s degraded performance, all of which require separate methodology and considerations. Hence, performance testing has been divided into different branches which individually check different aspects of the website with different objectives.
- Performance Test: Determines and investigates the speed, scalability, and stability of a website in technical terms.
- Load Test: Verifies web application’s behavior under normal and peak conditions. It actually measures the response times and throughput rates and identifies the breaking point of the website’s or web application’s performance.
- Stress Test: Determines the application’s behavior when it is pushed beyond peak load conditions and figures out bugs under extreme load conditions. It generally includes synchronization issues, memory leaks and race conditions.
- Capacity Test: Determines how many transactions an application or website will support at a time without compromising on the performance goals.
- Spike Test: A subset of stress testing, this determines the behavior of the web application when there is a dramatic increase or spike in users accessing the website.
How to test & optimize website performance
The traditional method for undertaking performance testing can add a layer of complexity within the website’s existing silos. It is detrimental to rely on traditional methods of testing website performance, especially when websites undergo continuous changes and face frequent fluctuations in traffic. Therefore, having a handy solution on your side which can continuously check the performance of your web applications or website is quite favorable.
There are several automation tools for testing website performance in the market. These tools promise to optimize website performance, sparing resources to look after the core issues and aspects of websites.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of performance testing for web applications, to ensure that they perform as expected. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you call your testing as long as you are successful in delivering a flawless product. Having an ideal test automation tool helps a lot in timely delivery of software products instead of performing manual testing.
Prashant Chambakara is a software testing & test automation enthusiast. He is currently working with TestingWhiz, a test automation tool for website performance testing. You can read more about TestingWhiz on its blog. You can also follow Prashant’s tech activities and thoughts on Twitter @PChambakara