Ever wondered what would happen if you launched your web applications without load testing them? You may run into glitches and lose a huge chunk of your customer base due to poor app performance.
For software development organizations, load testing is a critical aspect of performance testing that determines the performance of a system under real-life conditions. Without this testing process, you are unlikely to determine how your application functions, especially when multiple users get on the application.
Due to the importance of load testing to web application development and deployment, many load testing software tools are available to help organizations and individual developers automate testing their applications. Since there is a massive influx of these tools, we highlight the top 12 in the software market.
What is load testing?
Generally speaking, load testing is a type of testing that assesses how well a computer system or service performs. In load testing, crucial indicators must be gathered and overall performance must be assessed. These measurement criteria also include how quickly web applications or systems react to requests from outside users.
Load testing helps you ensure that a system is functional with the anticipated number of users or the volume of data being processed. It also aims at determining compliance with the requirements for a specific system or application.
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In other words, load testing can be done in various ways. It can be done on your web application’s production, system and backup servers. It can also be done on your cloud system, on-premise servers and development environment.
Specifically, load testing usually helps you to do the following in web applications:
- Identify the extent to which an application can function
- Analyze the current infrastructure to see if it can support the application
- Test an application’s capacity to withstand peak user demand
- Pinpoint a program’s capacity for concurrent users and ability to scale to accommodate new users
What are the benefits of load testing?
As a developer, you may wonder why you should load testing if you conduct integration testing, UI testing and/or unit testing.
It simulates real user scenarios
Load testing helps you to simulate how your application will perform when hundreds or millions of users visit it in a real-life situation. This is necessary for a successful application launch as your users will have the final say about the application performance. Their verdict on the application will go a long way toward determining the level of success your application will enjoy.
Your system performs differently under a load
Key performance indicators such as error rate, response time, memory leakage and CPU usage are some important functions a load performance test will reveal. In this scenario, load testing helps you understand when and where you have bottlenecks so you can fix them before they get to the users.
It’s recommended that you integrate different types of loads at this level of app testing. Consider looking out for issues such as sudden spikes, super-heavy load over time and gradual load increment to a possible real-life volume. Doing this will reveal how your application reacts to different traffic scenarios.
Load testing helps you to be fully agile
Creating a better product and faster development is the core principle of the agile development method. Any continuous integration approach must include load testing with every commit in addition to problem management, code analysis and other lifecycle tasks.
There is a need to add load testing to your process when establishing your automated continuous integration cycle with open-source tools.
Users will not entertain your excuses when you fail
Every time a significant website or web app fails, the mistake makes the news and angry users blast the application developers on social media for failing to take the necessary precautions to prevent the failure. Dissatisfied customers tend to remember things well, so they won’t return to a slow or unreliable site or application. Performing a load test on time rather than pushing out your site or application under pressure will save you from a negative reception and the need to rebrand.
Features of load testing tools
Automated load test recording
The best load testing tools can record website usage scenarios in your web browser. If the tool is designed for non-browser applications, then it should be able to capture web traffic and create a test case with one mouse click.
A good load testing tool should be able to simulate production load and comfortably run a stress test by setting the number of virtual users and controlling the load pattern even when the test has started.
Parameterization with external data
Top load testing tools can simulate realistic data entry performance by virtual users, provide CSV files with relevant analytic data and map the data fields to Post or Get request parameters.
Virtual user counts adjustment on-demand
Many good load testing tools can adjust the virtual user count when the test is running. This makes it easy to discover app behavior patterns and simplify performance troubleshooting.
Top load testing tools support the following in-depth reporting features:
The test summary is a high-level report that summarizes the load test and provides an overview of key performance indicators.
Request page and VU information
A complete performance snapshot of each page, request and VU simulated experience are provided through detailed reports. These details precisely identify application performance bottlenecks.
Custom performance targets
Top load testing tools set a response time threshold for each page and then monitor whether pages under different loads are not meeting their specific objectives.
Top 12 load testing tools for web applications
Keeping track of load test runs, projects and tests is simple with LoadNinja. Users can diagnose web and API performance issues with the aid of LoadNinja. It uses real browsers to present load accurately and create performance tests using records and playbacks augmented with AI. It can also cut down on time spent maintaining tests as the program changes. The most accurate picture of load comes from using real browsers at scale.
In addition, test results in LoadNinja represent the actual end-user experience and help you to identify bottlenecks and performance problems quickly. The tool is used by users of all skill levels and was created with simplicity in mind.
The Apache JMeter application is free and open-source software, created to load test functional behavior and track performance. It was initially created to test web applications, but it has subsequently grown to include other test features.
Apache JMeter can be used to assess the performance of dynamic web applications as well as static resources. It can be used to simulate a large load on a server, set of servers, network or other objects.
Radview WebLOAD enables you to monitor load size per second with the dashboard. The tool can incorporate a variety of protocols and expand to more protocols when needed. The platform supports all types of web technology, including HTTP and HTTPS, and has an automatic transparent recording feature.
This program excels at creating simulated loads for load and performance testing in a simple and understandable manner. The playback and recording functions are also helpful for keeping track of outcomes.
The platform supports a free trial and offers pricing upon request.
With the HeadSpin performance testing tool, some critical loading metrics such as low frame rate, poor video quality, low page content, slow app launch, screen freezing and slow downloads are revealed. These metrics can estimate how quickly your app or website responds when numerous connections are being made or when there is a significant load on the network infrastructure.
The app is tested on real devices all around the world using HeadSpin’s machine learning and AI-based load testing metrics and KPIs, which assess multiple user paths and use the results to fix problems proactively.
Additionally, this load testing tool allows you to map several user journeys on a tablet or mobile phone in real network conditions through SIM or WiFi-enabled devices. Thus, DevOps and performance testing teams can easily see and solve problems proactively.
Functional and performance testing may be done prior to and after release, thanks to HeadSpin’s integration with CI/CD workflows. Additionally, all testing frameworks, including native Appium, are supported for use by HeadSpin users.
Gatling.io is a load testing solution for business applications. It is a great option if you wish to conduct your load tests on-site or in the cloud.
You can access the clustering and distributed mode, use on-demand load injectors, build advanced reporting, integrate with CI/CD, and integrate with public APIs and the Grafana data source.
With the Neoload performance testing tool, you can easily maintain and run performance tests as code and analyze the results within continuous integration pipelines using plugins.
Developers put a lot of work into designing the Tricentis Neoload user interface: It’s clean, colorful and carefully arranged, making it enjoyable to return to for every task.
Overall, it is a fantastic tool that is useful in most circumstances. It provides good choices for embedding custom code and easily supports many different technologies. For advanced product users, it is possible to generate scripts with a very short turn-around time, increasing both initial and ongoing production.
If you need a load testing tool that supports the selenium testing tool without coding, BlazeMeter can do that for you. Selenium testing has been around for over two decades and is widely regarded as one of the best performance testing frameworks.
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BlazeMeter also scores well in key features such as status reporting and analytics. The software’s reporting and graphing features are quite accurate, comprehensive and easy to understand for new users.
The tool supports many integration capabilities and simulates well with virtual users in many geo-locations. Importantly, you can leverage its integrations to access your preferred open-source tools such as Grinder, Apache JMeter, Locust, Selenium and more.
K6, formerly known as LoadImpact, is an open-source tool that uses the cloud service to test the functionality of websites, apps and APIs with a focus on API load testing. They have upgraded their results page and browser session recorder since rebranding from LoadImpact to K6.io. This software’s simplicity in supporting various technologies makes it stand out.
Some features that make this tool stand out are its reporting and graphs, which are very readable, unlike many other tools. So, if you love the legible graphical representation of your performance testing results, with clear images to depict more in-depth results, this tool might serve that purpose.
LoadFocus is another reliable load testing tool that can help you with valuable results. You’ve got a lot to gain from this tool from website performance monitoring, load testing, Jmeter load testing, mobile Emulation testing, website UI testing and visual regression testing.
Apart from being a tool in the hands of developers for load testing, this tool is also designed to serve SEO experts to monitor and improve SEO ranking in the SERPs. Digital marketing agencies can use the tool to discover performance improvements for their clients.
Parasoft Load Test
Parasoft comes with a load testing module that enables users to take SOA test functional test projects and leverage them for performance testing.
With Parasoft Load Test, performance testing is integrated into the CI/CD process and is automated using their web-based reporting tool.
The software’s ability to be used without extensive training or experience is one of its best features. In addition, a scripting extension makes it simple to expand unique features since it has an intuitive user interface that makes complex configurations simple.
Following the completion of a performance test run, you may review the results in custom reports that you can set up to capture whatever degree of detail best suits your requirements.
This tool offers numerous built-in monitors for identifying performance issues, some of which integrate with prominent application performance management tools like AppDynamics and Dynatrace.
Users may quickly pull data from Excel or XML files, and using the APIs for automation is simple.
With the help of CloudTest from Akamai, you can precisely simulate your development in real-world settings by getting a live analysis of the performance of your website or app.
The software requires little resource allocation to produce high-performance outcomes, which is important if you work with low storage systems or technology.
Another important aspect of Akamai is that no coding is required to set your preferred parameters, validations and variables. You can do all this with simple clicks and drops on the dashboard. It’s a great tool for non-tech users who wish to explore the application load testing landscape. You can also create virtual user and live scenarios, adjust loads while testing all with real-time analytics and test production volumes from global locations.
With its unique capability to simulate virtual users at both the application UI and the network protocol levels, Eggplant Performance offers user-centric performance testing that is easy to use and provides you with knowledge of the UX impact at scale.
Even as a novice in coding, it is comparatively simple to pick up and use Eggplant, making usability one among its most gratifying aspects.
More load testing tool options
Here are a few additional load testing tools that didn’t make the top list:
- Micro Focus LoadRunner: This tool is best suitable for on-premises, project-based application performance testing.
- Silk Performer: You can easily simulate any size peak-load and avoid costly investments in stress testing hardware and setup with this tool.
- IBM Rational Performance Tester: This is another load testing tool that can help validate web and server applications’ scalability and identify performance bottlenecks.
- Loadster: Loadster will help you test your web application with thousands of synthetic users to optimize performance, reduce costs and help prevent downtime.
- Smartbear LoadUI Pro: With this tool, you can create and manage load testing for REST & SOAP APIs, databases and microservices right inside your CI/CD pipeline.
- Tricentis Flood: Here is another cloud-based performance tool for on-demand load testing.
- Web Performance: If you need a tool for simple load tests, you can check out this too.