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The load testing vs stress testing discussion has been on the lips of both software developers and some non-techies. As a result, much information has been flying around on what both software testing techniques represent, but not many people understand the main differences in the testing methods.

Both load and stress testing are techniques that help to determine software performance under certain conditions. Although the testing methods are similar, there are still differences to note between the two. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of the differences between load and stress testing and how they are vital to attaining a high level of software performance.

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What is load testing?

Load testing is a software technique used to assess the performance of a system when subjected to different layers of load conditions.

For example, the load testing procedure can be used to test resource utilization and response times when software is used. With load testing, software developers can now detect and fix system load-induced downtime issues easily before launching their products.

What is stress testing?

Stress testing evaluates whether software performs satisfactorily under adverse or extreme circumstances, such as high network traffic, a high number of running processes, under- or over-clocked hardware, and requests for maximum resource utilization.

Stress testing also determines a system’s failure and recovery points when put beyond specified limits. Some issues that may be detected in a system during stress testing include synchronization problems and memory leaks.

What are the main differences between load testing and stress testing?

Load testingStress testing
Load testing checks how the app performs when there is an increase in load.Stress testing guarantees that the servers don't crash under an unexpectedly high load for an extended period of time.
Load testing allows one to determine the upper limit of the system.Stress testing allows one to examine how the system responds to heavy loads and how it bounces back after failing.
The main features checked under load testing are server quality, response time and peak performance.The main attribute checked under stress testing is stability response time and the system's dependability at disaster levels.
Load limit is a threshold of a break in load testing.Load limit is above the threshold of a break in stress testing.

Benefits of load testing

Determines performance problems before the product goes live

Load testing helps developers better understand how an increase in user volume affects the system performance. With load testing, companies have the opportunity to enhance the user experience before the product’s release by detecting performance issues.

Determines the system’s productivity

Load testing helps software developers know the peak points of their software products when setting user capacity and optimization goals for their software.

Improves scalability

Businesses can map out a good scalability plan during load testing. This is because load testing can help  determine when software is ready to scale and when it’s not.

Increases customer satisfaction

Load testing provides insights that help optimize the user experience of software even before it gets to the final consumers. This is crucial as user experience is one factor that may hamper the software’s adoption.

Minimizes costs of failure

When software fails after its launch, it reduces users’ trust in the product. Fortunately, the cost of rebuilding this trust through software improvements can be reduced or averted completely if organizations’ subject their software to load testing before launch.

Ensures that the system meets performance benchmarks

Product managers in business organizations often specify the requirements for the software product they intend to launch. Load testing makes it possible for necessary measures to be taken to ensure that those benchmarks are met.

Benefits of stress testing

There are numerous reasons to subject applications to stress testing. If a team removes stress testing in software development, they may expose their application to damages such as data leaks, loss and security attacks. Below are specific reasons to stress test applications.

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Prepares teams for extreme situations

Stress testing lets teams know which failure points are likely to happen and are most damaging to the software. This knowledge is crucial to planning what to do should the software experience such a situation.

Helps maintain the stability of the project

If done correctly, stress testing offers the team information and early warning indicators that assist in identifying the majority of defects and guarding the system against them. After stress testing, developers can better defend software against scripts, bots and DOS attacks.

In addition, stress testing helps to identify the system’s weaknesses and improve the system’s security before releasing the product on the market.

Helps map out alternative plans

Stress test sessions concentrate on finding various problems, such as deadlocks, concurrency problems, data incoherence, race attacks and bottlenecks in synchronization. In addition, data from stress testing can boost contingency and scalability plans.

Reveals how the system recovers under stress

Quality stress testing provides a detailed view of the system’s performance due to overload. The metrics listed below aid testers in determining the possible harm that a system shutdown can cause:

  • Processing capacity
  • Disk usage
  • Internet usage
  • thread distribution
  • Successful/failed transactions
  • Deadlocks

Learn more about all the processes that are a part of software development with this bundle from TechRepublic Academy.

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