A website or blog’s load time is pivotal to it’s success. Studies have shown that the highest cause of users abandoning a site is because it takes too long to load.
It’s a strange world we live in where patience is not the order of the day. We have faster computers, faster internet, better looking websites, interactive sites. Yet users still want that instant gratification.
It’s a never ending spiral. The more you put into your site to make it more attractive and interactive, the faster users expect it to load.
Google Incorporating page load into rankings
Google has incorporated site speed into their ranking algorithms. Although not a significant part, it is Google’s way of suggesting to us to get our sites to load faster.
Google’s official blog post about site speed encourages users to test their website load times in order to evaluate and improve.
More than just page load times
Stress testing and load testing is more than just measuring the load times of a page. It’s about seeing how well a site and server operates under load.
When requesting a page speed test the results are normally shown on a 1:1 basis. That is how one user experiences your web page as far as speed is concerned.
But in the normal world we are not dealing with just one user. Stress and load testing sees how well you site does when multiple users browse multiple pages within a given period of time.
An average blogger might not be too concerned with stress testing at the moment. But if you ever desire to reach the kind of page views that a lot of the A-list blogger get, then you better be prepared.
With some reaching to about 100,000 page views a day. Which works out to just over 1 page every second.
The question is, can your current hosting, server, and application environment handle this kind of traffic?
If your website or blog is currently on a shared hosting package then this becomes even more important as your site or blog grows.
But what’s more important is that we do not know the load of the other 100’s of sites hosted on the same server are. They could well be pulling down your site speed.
What is website stress testing?
Most people think that throwing bandwidth at a site will sort out the speed problem. This is so untrue. Most site problems are as a result of servers, web servers, data servers, proxies, routers, etc, not being able to service the many requests per second.
You can have 100 gigs of bandwidth but a badly written application, an over loaded server will slow you down to less that a 1200 modem.
Look at what happened with the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup ticket sales. The system crashed time and time again because of being over stressed. Too many users buying World Cup tickets at the same time. I wonder how they stress tested their applications?
Web site stress testing tools simulate thousands of users accessing your website in a random fashion. It then determines how many concurrent users your site can handle, or how well your site performed under the given conditions.
Many website stress and load testing tools give an idea how your website will perform under given load parameters.
It is better for your website to fail under a simulated load test than when a user or potential customer is trying to access it.
Stress and load test tools generate simulated user traffic to your site. For example it might simulate that 50 users are trying to load your web pages at the same time. While simulating the traffic from these 50 users, it also records how fast pages are loaded from your server. This lets you know how fast your site is (as experienced by a user) when it is being accessed by 50 users at the same time.