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Performance Testing: The First Line of Security Against Attacks

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Performance testing is an important, but all too often un- or under-utilized procedure.

Software testing is made up of different methodologies and requires the consideration of many different aspects to deliver high-quality solutions to clients or customers. However, the success or failure of your testing efforts depend on the selection of the right kind of testing methodology; one such method is performance testing. Performance testing serves a vital role in the testing process.

Today, you can find many enterprises or organizations that are suffering from a wide range of performance-related issues. The main reason behind this is that they never take the time to test their applications under real-world scenarios. Is your software suffering from performance issues? Do you think it’s time for you to try performance testing, but you don’t know what it is, or the different types of performance testing you can use? Are you unsure of what the ins and outs of performance testing are? If you’ve answered yes, we’ve covered everything you need to know about website performance testing.

What Is Performance Testing?

Website performance testing is a means of quality assurance (QA), which involves testing software or applications to make sure that they perform well under all critical conditions. It is a non-functional type of software testing. It helps you determine how fast a few specific aspects of a system or application respond in the worst conditions. The goal of performance testing is not to find bugs, but to eliminate performance bottlenecks.

The prime focus of this kind of testing is to scrutinize a software application’s speed to help you determine whether the application responds immediately or not, scalability that helps you determine how much user load the application can handle and stability that determines whether the application is stable under different loads. It brings a whole host of benefits like:

  • Enhanced user experience
  • A boost in online revenue
  • Conducts metrics important to tune up your system
  • Determines bottlenecks like database configuration
  • Helps you determine whether a new version is prepared for production or not
  • Lets the stakeholders know the actual performance versus their expectations

Types of Performance Testing

However, to understand the significance of performance testing, it is important to first understand the different types of testing included in it. There are seven types of performance testing, including:

  • Performance Test: This is any kind test that verifies stability, performance, scalability and/or throughput of a website.
  • Capacity Test: This helps determine how many users a website or application can handle before performance or stability become unacceptable.
  • Load Test: This imposes a load to an application and measures the outcome. However, it is possible that a load may or may not be at its peak.
  • Stress Test: As its name suggests, this kind of testing will push your application to perform beyond its normal conditions. It will let you know which components fail at an extreme level.
  • Soak Test: This is a long-running test, which is used to evaluate application performance and/or stability over time. It is useful when you wish to track down memory leaks.
  • Component Test: Whenever you wish to test any discrete component of your application, you may require a component test, such as file uploads, chat features and others.
  • Smoke Test: This kind of test is conducted under a very low load, which highlights that the application works as expected. This term comes from hardware testing where, if smoke is generated (literally), it means that the test has been failed and no more testing is required.

Ineffective Performance Testing

Performance testing brings lots of benefits, but many organizations still fail to benefit from it due to some silly mistakes. If you wish to get maximum benefit from this kind of testing, ensure that you avoid making a few simple mistakes, including:

  • Not Testing During the Design Phase
    Many organizations often overlook performance considerations during the design phase, which can lead to many kinds of problems later on. To avoid such issues, it is better to incorporate performance measures at the very beginning of the design phase.
  • Performing Testing at the End of Development
    Many organizations delay testing until the completion of their software application, which increases the chances of missing some of the major performance-affecting issues.
  • Considering Only a Specific Use Case
    Many development teams test their applications against a single use case scenario whenever it comes to performance testing, which prevents you from knowing under which real-world scenarios your application will perform well. Therefore, rather than testing for a single use case scenario, it’s important to use various testing tools and test each app under different scenarios.
  • Running Tests from a Single Location
    It has been observed that many teams perform their tests within a firewall due to either low budget or security issues. However, it won’t help you understand how your application will perform in the real world, so avoid running tests from a single location.

Of course, performance testing is crucial before making any software application. It helps boost customer satisfaction and protect the integrity of the product being built. (For related reading, check out Why Do We Need User Acceptance Testing?)


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Prashant Chambakara

Prashant Chambakara is a Test Automation Specialist. He is currently working with Cygnet Infotec, a leading QA software testing services provider and the parent company of TestingWhiz, a test automation tool for Web applications. Connect with Prashant on Twitter.