Avoid the Error Message: Website Performance Testing
A well-performing website that effectively meets consumer needs and delivers a high-quality customer experience is now more of a priority than ever for companies.
The ongoing pandemic that we are still facing has significantly increased the volume of online shopping and service fulfillment, for both necessities and recreational purposes; by now most companies understand the reasons for performance testing their online systems, and why the costs are justified.
Most companies conduct performance testing for two reasons: 1) verification that their latest application version has improved performance over the current version before deploying, and 2) verification that the application can handle the expected increased usage over the upcoming year.
Unfortunately, there have been many recent high-profile failures in which prominent e-commerce or critical web sites have gone down due to significant spikes in usage – resulting in loss of sales and frustrated customers. Some of the most noteworthy examples include:
- PS5 sales at Walmart, Best Buy, and other retail companies
- Unemployment website access during pandemic
- IRS website
- Black Friday shopping
The list goes on and on…
Companies need to expand their usage of performance testing to understand the limits of their current application/environment: let’s call this “Capacity Performance Testing”.
There is no “one size fits all” performance testing tool that can do everything – the determination of an ideal tool for a specific project is what is referred to as the “Proof of Concept” (which will be addressed in an upcoming blog post).
Back to the issue at hand:
With this type of performance testing, an application/environment is pushed to the max. Once the system is intentionally broken via Capacity Performance Testing, the current limits are identified along with what factors are causing those limitations.
Capacity Performance Testing uses two different types of performance testing:
- Increasing load until the system breaks
- Running tests for 6-8 hours (Duration Tests)
From these tests the current system’s breaking point will become known, and more importantly, the limiting factor(s) will be identified and thus able to be eliminated. Even if the cost to improve an environment isn’t justified at the time of Capacity Performance Testing, identifying the system’s breaking point and how to resolve the issues in advance allows a company to react significantly faster when the problem arises.
Actions for improving a system’s environment in order to increase performance include:
- Switching from On-Prem to a hosted solution
- Switching from a hosted environment level to a more powerful level
- Tuning the current application, or switching to a more powerful application solution
- Deploying the application to a second hosting platform to allow for fail-over or load balancing
The potential issues and fixes are unlimited, but these are just a few examples.
Being able to react quickly when problems present themselves can make a significant difference in what happens to a business when a tremendous spike in usage that causes their site to go down. Changes could be made in advance in order to circumvent problems before they occur, or at the very least a quicker response can be delivered since what needs to be done to resolve the issue is known.
What position do you want your company to be in? Reach out to Olenick to learn more about how Capacity Performance Testing can benefit your business.