Load Testing Blog

Monitoring Server Performance through Firewalls now easier with Proxy Tunnels in Load Tester 5.4

So you’re getting setup to run your next test. You’ve installed our server monitor agent on each server, and are ready to start collecting server data while the test is running. However, there’s a snag: your workstation is on a different network from the servers, and you’re not able to open up the firewall on the servers to forward traffic.
Enter Load Tester 5.4. Load Tester 5.4 supports connecting to server agents through a SOCKS proxy. This means that if you can get a SSH session open to even just one server behind the firewall, you can now monitor your servers.

Start … Continue reading »

How Much Bandwidth Do You Need To Do a Load Test?

One of the common questions people are interested in is finding out how much a test is going to cost. There are a lot of factors that go into this equation, such as getting an appropriately sized testing license, configuring a test server environment, reserving hardware for Load Engines, and bandwidth costs between the Load Engines and the content delivery servers (such as a CDN or origin servers). Let’s take a look at just how we might calculate the bandwidth charges that are involved in a single test.
If your site is only needs to support a few hundred users, then … Continue reading »

Measuring Web Page Load Times using JMeter

At last count there were over 65 separate commercial load testing tools out there, but few with the name recognition of the open source program JMeter. Often people will call us up and ask to compare Load Tester with JMeter, but I only had a cursory look at it many years ago, and couldn’t speak from recent first-hand knowledge. So, when someone called me last week asking about JMeter, it seemed like a good opportunity to give it another look.
To compare Load Tester and JMeter my first instinct was to record a simple test … Continue reading »

Measuring Pagespeed and Customer Engagement

Recently we started using Google Pagespeed here at webperformance.com, and one of the cool features you can do with it is split traffic, so half of your customers get no pagespeed, and the other half get pagespeed turned on. With this approach you can actually measure how pagespeed does across your entire site, as well as drill down and look at its effects on individual pages, or even divide performance by country or continent.

As you can see, the effects on our top four most popular pages were mixed. The most improved page was the list of product … Continue reading »

If you absolutely can not test your production system…

In my last post in this series, I asserted that you must test your production system and then promptly dismissed all the popular reasons for not doing so. But in the real world, things aren’t so simple. There will be cases where the production system can not be tested  – for example, because test data can not be effectively purged from the system without a significant investment.
So, if you are in that situation, what can you do? If you cannot test your production environment, then you must recreate the production environment as precisely as possible. Every place that the … Continue reading »

Load Tester PRO 5.3 Released

Web Performance Inc is proud to release Load Tester PRO/LITE 5.3, which focuses on usability. The biggest change you’ll notice is the completely redesigned test case table, with inline editing, undo, drag and drop, multi-select, and new replay layout. Drag and drop works with either individual transactions or entire web pages, and as you play with the new widget notice details such as inline editing and customizable table columns. Select a series of web pages or transactions, and right-click to edit think times or page load time goals. The new table is also customizable; right-click on … Continue reading »

Load Testing a Website with Captcha

More and more sites are having to add captcha security to thwart spam bots, making this a familiar sight:

But what happens when you need to do performance testing on such a site? One common question on our support line is how to configure a load testing tool to read the displayed text and type it in. The whole point of adding captcha security is to prevent an automated tool from accessing the website, so if it was easily bypassed by a load testing tool, then spammers could also use that same technique to access your website!
There … Continue reading »

Load Tester 5.2 Released

Yesterday we released Load Tester 5.2. This release contained a handful of UI improvements intended to improve the experience for first-time users. There are no changes in capabilities for PRO users in this version, so new license keys will not be issued except upon request. Don’t worry – the 5.3 release is coming right on its heels with some big UI improvements that we know all of our users will appreciate!
LITE users, however, will see a very big change in the 5.2 release compared with 5.1. This change both adds and subtracts important features to the LITE version. As a … Continue reading »

Google Pagespeed 1.1 Performance with PHP

For the past week I’ve been testing out the performance of the new Google Pagespeed module for Apache, mod_pagespeed, and with the memory locking option turned on, the performance was a definite improvement for static pages. The fact is, though, there are much faster web servers for static content, and CDNs make scaling static pages very, every easy. Standard testing procedure, though, is to start as simple as possible, and test every variation separately. The next step, then is to test how Pagespeed works on dynamic pages.
As before, this new test uses our own corporate … Continue reading »

Google Pagespeed 1.1 Scalability with Memory Locking

In last week’s blog post looking at the overhead of running Google Pagespeed, there was a marked scalability penalty to be paid that was caused by an approximate doubling of CPU load. Several people suggested some options to try, the easiest of which was turning on an experimental memory locking option. (The default mod_pagespeed config uses file locking.) I was also informed as to the plethora of tuning options to tailor the behavior to each site, but decided to keep it simple and experiment with each option separately. As with Apache itself, there’s lots … Continue reading »

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