What load is your website prepared to handle? Find out with LoadImpact

Posted April 25th, 2017 in Testing.
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When websites are designed, the basic steps involved are designing the concept, the interface, procuring the web space, and having basic knowledge of a website creation language, right? Well, partially. A lot of other crucial aspects need to be evaluated before it can be launched, like checking its performance and look on different browsers for example. If your website has everything a sleek website should have but fails to perform under extreme pressure, like maybe a thousand hits a second, you could be in trouble. You see, users don’t like to wait around for webpages to load. If there’s any other website offering the same information you have and yours is taking too much time to open up, a user will switch.

If you don’t want to be at the wrong end of such a scenario, find out how much load your website can handle at one time with LoadImpact.

LoadImpact – Load & Performance Testing Anytime, Anywhere

Load Impact is an online performance testing service that lets you test your website, web-app, mobile app or API over the Internet. It’s an on-demand service, where you can start testing instantly and there are no licenses, fees, or software to install. It ensures that your website’s bounce rate doesn’t increase, your rank in search engines doesn’t degrade, and your conversion rates don’t reduce by letting you know how quickly your webpages load so that you can take adequate optimization measures if they’re too slow.

One of the most attractive features of this service is that it is 100% cloud based. That means you don’t need to download, install, or configure anything. It runs on cloud servers over the Internet so you always have access to your test scenarios and test results. Thus you have all the flexibility in the world and you end up saving a lot of time.

Here’s an overview of the service’s features:

  • Simulated traffic suited to real-time scenarios, no hidden caching or favorable behavior
  • Load is generated from up to 10 different locations simultaneously, and more locations can be added on request
  • Manual as well as automated scripting options with multilingual support
  • Possible to record an HTTP session using Load Impact’s proxy recorder or Chrome Extension
  • Provision to report performance issues within minutes
  • Monitoring backend also possible while testing using New Relic and/or Load Impact server agents
  • Users can collect metrics such as CPU usage, disk I/O, memory usage, network I/O, and APDEX
  • Test scheduling and automation support
  • Enables users to upload CSV files containing the data they wish to use – such as login credentials, product IDs, URLs, etc. – and associate it with the desired script
  • Graph plotting included depicting performance trends over time
  • Large scale load tests up to 1.2 million concurrent users
  • Supports any HTTP-based application or service (e.g. Flash, AJAX, SOAP/XML apps, etc)
  • Possibility to add extra IPs

With over 1,400,000 tests conducted successfully, Load Impact is the most popular load testing service over the Internet.

This is how it works

To try Load Impact first hand, just visit the tool’s homepage and enter your website’s URL in the box given for it. Then click on “Run free test”. After a couple of seconds you’ll be directed to a page where you’ll be able to see real-time results being updated on various graphs. The results will be shown for 25 simulated users across the world and the test will run for approximately 5 minutes. These values are for a trail account. To simulate more users and run the test for longer duration you’ll need to register.

There isn’t much you can do while the tests are running, so we waited. About halfway through the test, a pop-up appeared prompting us to check the URL tab and look for any failures or unexpected behavior. It also said that if we did find any failures we should register and run the tests again with more users, say 100, and probably use Load Impact’s Chrome extension. As it was clear that that was a selling strategy, we closed the pop-up and let the tests complete.

Once finished, in addition to the test scenario description we could see the places the users were simulated from, a graphical representation comparing the load time for each added user, and a results pane that had 4 tabs with several sub-sections:

  • Metrics – bandwidth, requests per second, accumulated load time, content type load time, and TCP connections active (to access any of these we’d have to register for a free account)
  • URLs – a list of all URLs of your web-pages that were tested, their response statuses, how much time each took to load in seconds, etc
  • Pages – tested pages from your website
  • Logs

Additionally, towards the right hand side there were 4 options to help us out with different tasks:

  • Knowledge Base (Help Center)
  • Load Script API (Lua Modules)
  • System Status
  • Questions section

Since we’d had a pretty decent idea about how the tool worked, we decided to not create any free account for the time being. However, we did later find out that signing up required no credit card details, was easy, and would give us the opportunity to test our website load with 100 virtual users, 2500 requests per second, and 5 tests per month. Not bad at all.

Evaluating Load Impact

The pros of the tool included:

  • A great platform to test any website’s load handling capacity
  • Cloud based, simulated users from across the globe
  • Integration support with multiple tools
  • Testing websites, web-apps, APIs and mobile apps possible

Whereas the downsides included:

  • Slight learning curve to understand the jargons used
  • Steep price slabs if someone needed to sign up
  • What load can your website handle? Find out with @loadimpact loadimpact.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Word

Overall, Load Impact does prove to be a good performance testing platform, but not for novice users. There are a lot of people out there with blogs or personal websites, and not all of them understand the terms and technicalities of such tests. For them, the tool could be a waste of time. But for the ones that do realize its worth, it could be just what they need.

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