Let’s talk about why your company should load test. The top reason your company needs to be load testing its website is to learn how the site performs so you can improve the user experience and make smart web infrastructure decisions. Above all else, load testing is a learning experience that provides a wealth of insight into how your website performs from both a user experience and technical perspective.
How can it be done? Running a load test involves creating a small or large number of virtual users via programming script, running a simulation in which those virtual users access your site, and gathering information about how well the website performs under the traffic load.
A Learning Experience: How Your Website Operates, Why it Matters
If you’re curious to learn more about how your website operates, you can run simple load tests with 50 users for free over a 30 day period. A smaller test will provide insight into how well your company’s site performs for a typical user during light traffic situations. You can download New Relic if your business doesn’t already have a free Application Monitoring tool.
Longer load times hurt conversion rates: according to Amazon, every 100ms of page load time latency reduces sales by one percent. So your business could be losing out on ten percent of sales because your pages take a second longer to load. Testers can learn all sorts of interesting things about how a site operates with varying virtual traffic loads. Primarily, the tests answer the question of how long it takes a page to load on your site for a user at different traffic levels. You can find out how quick load times are during normal, peak, spike, and overwhelming use rates.
Finding Breaking Points and Bottlenecks
The load time data not only helps identify problems in your website code that could be slowing down individual pages, but also problems with the infrastructure itself. Load testing lets your business know exactly how much load times increase when the site gets busy relative to normal use. The tests can also determine how much traffic a site’s infrastructure can handle before load times get outrageously high—and when the site will crash.
A load testing provider can offer testing from server locations all over the globe. A guest in Chicago visiting a site that’s hosted in New York City may have fast load times, but Los Angeles-based visitors may have to wait an extra second for pages to load. This data can help your company make an educated decision when purchasing a CDN service that mirrors content so site guests farther away from the original host server have a better experience with your site.
Get the Ideal Amount of Power and Learn How to Scale
Once your business is able to see how your site performs under various traffic loads, that information can help determine where the infrastructure needs upgrades at various traffic levels. This helps with capacity planning—the ability to scale different infrastructure elements to meet demand without wasting money on power that isn’t going to be used.
Running load tests on your company’s site will teach you invaluable information about how your site works so your customers can have a better experience with your platform. Take advantage of Apica’s free 50/500 VU load testing service, or check out larger scale offerings to find out how your business can improve its website performance.