Due to increasing business demands, websites continually evolve with more features and complexity that can result in performance problems. Poor performance characteristics like long response times or even transaction failures can threaten end-user retention and the reputation of the website brand. Consequently, website performance testing is imperative throughout the lifecycle of mission-critical websites.
Website performance testing essentials
Website performance testing allows stakeholders in marketing, IT, and product management to identify and monitor key performance metrics. In order to capture the most meaningful metrics, the following approaches should be considered when performing a site performance test, or load testing:
Conduct performance tests at the web page and website levels. Each web page performance test allows metrics to be gathered for individual pages. Load times for objects and application code for each page can be tested to find any bottlenecks. An entire website test can aggregate results for all web pages in the site. Additional testing emphasis can be given to high traffic pages like landing pages and login pages.
Optimize website design for efficiency, not just speed. A website that has a high level of rich and relevant content can provide an engaging experience to end-users. Website performance testing that measures the number of hosts, connections, and objects in each page against response time can determine the efficiency of the page.
Test site performance on multiple browsers and platforms. Today’s wide variety of browsers and devices adds to the complexity of managing the performance of websites and web applications. Website performance testing and web app testing should be performed on all the browsers and platforms used by your target audience.
Perform load and stress tests from outside development and QA environments and from multiple geographic locations. True metrics can only be obtained by doing website performance testing in real-world conditions. By performing stress and load test outside of the sandbox, “last mile” latency caused by bandwidth congestion, content delivery networks, and wired and wireless networks can be discovered.
Benchmark against industry leaders and competitors. Knowing the response times and availability measures of leading websites and those of your competitors provides you with performance targets and allows you to prioritize optimization initiatives.