Building and running a web site is a major undertaking, especially if you plan on using your site as the web presence for a business, a non-profit organization or a busy family event.
Unless you have experience in IT or web development, it’s fairly unlikely you have spent any significant time studying or performing load balancing, load testing or stress testing on a web site. These tasks are most often left to properly equipped and staffed IT departments or specialty companies and rarely find their way into the average webmaster’s affairs.
However, load testing has always been a concern for sites that expect traffic beyond the occasional visit. If you are running an e-commerce site, for example, your business and your income both depend on your site being available when your customers arrive. Imagine your doors locking in your retail store during the holiday rush! If nobody can get in, nobody can buy, and that’s probably not what you had in mind when you started your business.
Some web sites and web hosts simply can’t support heavy traffic. The sooner you know the truth about your site the better. The main thing to remember is sites that haven’t been tested may suffer from slow page loads, downtime or incompatibility with certain clients or device types. This is an important reason why it makes sense to test with comprehensive tools like LoadView in order to find the limits of your website. If you are still on the fence about whether load testing is important, here are some things to consider.
Downtime is Expensive
The example of the e-commerce site having no customers isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Downtime isn’t just limited to those intervals when your network is disconnected or your server is being rebooted. Excessive CPU activity, overloaded RAM, full disks, misconfigured software and malfunctioning hardware can all lead to situations where the site itself is fine, but instead of the door being locked, the road in front of the store is torn up and nobody can get to you.
The problem with an unresponsive site isn’t just the sales you lose on a particular day. It’s the fact that a lot of those customers will never come back. That can cost you both today’s business and tomorrow’s. If it happens often enough, it can raise your advertising costs, reduce your return on investment and damage both sales and revenue. Choosing a good host, that has a high up-time percentage is critical to keeping your business’s reputation in good standing, says Web Hosting Buddy.
Load testing allows you to monitor the performance of your site in all those situations and more. It allows you to and detect and identify possible problems before they cause downtime and added expense.
Downtime isn’t Search-Friendly
If your site is important enough to keep running, it’s important enough to make sure it doesn’t get unfairly penalized by search engines. This is especially true if you have invested any considerable time or resources into search optimization or you’re running a business. A good position in search results for a commercial site is something too important to neglect. There is no faster way to ruin your search optimization than to allow your site to remain unresponsive.
Load testing your site in as many different ways as you possibly can will alert you to problems with certain pages, certain kinds of clients and problems that might take place during certain times of the day. If you identify a problem and a consistent cause, you can not only fix it right away, but you may gain insights on how your organic audience behaves when they visit your domain.
Web sites are no longer simply evaluated based on their content. The responsiveness of your site, the speed with which your pages load, compatibility with both desktop and mobile devices and the reliability of the domain are all factors in determining where your site will land in the search results. A site that hasn’t been properly tested under heavy loads and with many different kinds of clients might not respond properly when indexed, and that could cost you all the work you did optimizing it.
Load testing isn’t as complex a task as it used to be. There are numerous automated tools you can use that are reliable, accurate and cost-effective. It just isn’t worth it to take a chance your site will be slow or unresponsive when you have a chance at a big sale or publicity from a major event.