Stress Testing

What Does Stress Testing Mean?

Stress testing refers to the testing of software or hardware to determine whether its performance is satisfactory under any extreme and unfavorable conditions, which may occur as a result of heavy network traffic, process loading, underclocking, overclocking and maximum requests for resource utilization.


Most systems are developed under the assumption of normal operating conditions. Thus, even if a limit is crossed, errors are negligible if the system undergoes stress testing during development.

Techopedia Explains Stress Testing

Stress testing is used in the following contexts:

  • Software: Stress testing emphasizes availability and error handling under extremely heavy loads to ensure software does not crash due to insufficient resources. Software stress testing focuses on identified transactions to break transactions, which are heavily stressed during testing, even when a database has no load. The stress testing process loads concurrent users beyond normal system levels to find the system’s weakest link.
  • Hardware: Stress testing ensures stability in normal computing environments.
  • Websites: Stress testing determines the limitations of any of the site’s functionalities.
  • CPU: Modifications such as overvolting, undervolting, underlocking and overlocking are verified to determine whether they can withstand heavy loads by running a CPU-intensive program to test for system crashes or hangs. CPU stress testing is also known as torture testing.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…