Performance Testing vs Load Testing vs Stress Testing

Testing any software project before release is mandatory, however finding the best testing method can be quite challenging. You need to pay the right attention, focus on results and make sure that there are no major code changes that can render your stuff unusable or even worse, obsolete. There are different types of software testing services and each one of them has its own merit. In this blog, we will see the difference between performance testing, load testing and stress testing. Though all 3 of these testing falls under non-functional testing and tests the performance of the application, you have to keep in mind that each one of these has its own method of working.

Performance Testing

The aim of performance testing is not to identify defects in the application or check whether the application passed or failed the test. Rather, it focuses on the critical task of setting the standard and benchmark for an application.

This type of testing is designed to figure out how the system components are performing under the current situation. You validate things like product reliability, scalability and resource usage during the testing process. In many situations, performance Testing is a subcategory of performance engineering. Simply put, you are using it to identify and figure out if there are performance problems within the software architecture and design.

One thing to note is that Performance Testing is a rather wide term. It’s a superset of stress testing and load testing. But it also includes other kinds of testing such as volume testing, spike testing, scalability testing and endurance testing too. That makes it a wide term, but it also contains all performance-related tests that you may need to do in order to complete everything properly and with great success here.

What is the goal of performance testing?

What you need to do here is to create a benchmark with the current system behavior. You will need to meet certain benchmarks required by the industry in order to make this work adequately. It all comes down to setting a benchmark and a particular standard that the application needs to meet. This entire process is designed with accuracy in mind. You will need to monitor the system and application performance during this process. Hence the name Performance Testing. The benchmark is attributed based on things like stability, resource usage, throughput, response time and speed.

A good example here would be the request-response model. Here you are setting a target that the distance between request and response has to be anywhere from the X ms value to the Z ms value. And based on that you will see if there are performance issues. Once you have this info you can go more in-depth if you’re looking to solve the problem. But it definitely shows that something is wrong, which is important in this situation.

At the end of an effective performance testing process, you should be able to identify majority of the performance issues that could be related to software, hardware, database, network etc

Stress Testing

Stress Testing is a very specific type of testing. As its name already says, the idea here is that you want to overload the current resources with additional jobs. The focus of Stress Testing is to break down the system. This does include negative testing, and this means you can remove some system components to see how everything works without them. You can play around by removing various ideas and options as you try to figure out what option suits your needs and how you can manage everything on a professional level.

Then there’s also fatigue testing, a test that allows you to see if the app is stable beyond the regular bandwidth capacity. The main focus of Stress Testing is to push the limits and see whether the app or project can deliver great results even well beyond the regular loads.

With its help, you can see when and if the system will fail. You can also see whether it will recover or not. However doing Stress Testing is a bit challenging because you need to have a controlled environment where you can set all of these conditions to make everything work in a reliable and distinctive manner, so try to keep that in mind if you want to make it work no matter the situation.

What can you uncover during Stress Testing?

There are lots of things that will stand out as a result of Stress Testing. You will notice if there are race conditions, memory leaks, syncing issues and so on. But the best part is that you can also see when and how the program will break. It helps a lot because you know what you need to do in order to push the limits and just take things to the next level in a way that totally works, so try to consider all the options in the end.

A good example of Stress Testing would come in the form of using a writing tool. You can add lots and lots of characters, so you can see where it will break. This is a good and simple way to stress test a tool. Of course, things will change based on what app you have and how you choose to use it. But one thing is certain, every app will have a breaking point.

So, with help from Stress Testing, you get to figure out the breaking point and you will know exactly where and how this all comes down. You must know all the possible challenges that arise, and in the end, it’s just a very good idea to adapt to the process and just see how everything works.

Load Testing

Load Testing is quite an interesting type and the best thing about it is the fact that you can test the system by adding in more and more load to it. At some point, it will break and that’s where it becomes a great subset of testing, which is what you really need at the end of the day. You do want to test it out for yourself and see how it works, and if you use it wisely it will indeed pay off big time, so try to consider all of that if possible. One thing to note is that this is actually a subset of performance testing, something that a lot of people fail to realize most of the time.

Load testing is also known as endurance testing and volume testing. One thing to consider is that volume testing is mostly about databases and endurance testing is designed to test the system by keeping it under load for a certain amount of time. The idea behind Load Testing is that you are assigning that system a very large job and you want to see if it’s handling the test properly or if there are any issues that you need to address. Monitoring the results is a must, and if you do it adequately it has the potential to help quite a bit. But it’s safe to say that the payoff alone will be great, you just have to figure out what approach works for you.

The goals of Load Testing

What you want to do via Load Testing is to set the SLAs for the application. You also want to figure out the upper limit of any project components. This will make the process easier, more interesting and rewarding, with the payoff alone being among some of the best every time if you do it wisely. With its help, you also have the unique opportunity to see if there are memory leaks, buffer overflow or if the memory is mismanaged. All the little things matter and they will end up making the testing process crucial.

The best example would be to take an email side of an app and then flood it with 1000 users at the same time. The goal of Load Testing is to make sure that everything works the way you want and if you are able to customize or adapt anything in a way that will be worth it. Adaptability is key and if you do it right the payoff alone can be great.

Do you really need to test apps?

Applications are very complex and they can break at times. Which is why Load Testing, Performance Testing and Stress Testing, in general, are extremely important. You need to give them all a shot and make sure that you test every functionality properly. Customers expect the best possible value and quality. If there are issues, you are the one to blame. The best thing you can do is to avoid that, so use this as an advantage and opt for the best testing methods presented here!


About the Author


Pradeep is a Content Writer and Digital Marketing Specialist at Indium Software.  He has a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. He likes to discuss about software testing, big data and latest digital trends. Apart from work, he enjoys watching movies, listening to music and clicking pictures with his DSLR.
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