What is load stress testing?
There are three main terms for website load stress testing by simultaneously acting
multiple users (real or simulated):
performance, load and stress testing.
All performance and load stress testing require workload definition
as part of the test. It may be no load, minimal, normal, above
normal or extreme.
So we will use term load stress testing as a general category for all
types of website testing by simultaneously acting multiple users. And
definition for load stress testing is:
"Any type of website
testing where realistic (or hyper-realistic) workloads are characterized,
simulated and submitted to the system under test."
Extreme loads are used in load stress
testing - to find the breaking point and bottlenecks
of tested system.
Normal loads are used in performance
testing - to ensure acceptable level of performance characteristics
like response time or request processing time under estimated
Minimal loads are usually used in
benchmark testing - to estimate
Anyway, load stress testing, not performance, is the shared characteristic
across all these types of website testing.
In load stress testing you should trying to break the application
by an extreme load and expose bugs that are likely to appear
under stress, such as data corruption, buffer overflows, poor
handling of resource depletion, deadlocks, race conditions,
The fact that performance metrics such as response time can
be measured during load stress testing is practically irrelevant
to the purpose of load stress testing. So stress testing and performance
testing has a totally different goals, which make it clear that
load stress testing is not a species of performance testing.
Another reason for putting performance and stress under load
testing is another type of testing known as background
testing. In background testing you use workloads (usually
normal) to exercise the system under test while you run functional
and/or regression tests against the system. The goal of background
testing is to test functionality in more realistic conditions,
i.e., with a realistic background workload, like it will have
But some sources treat Performance testing as a general category
instead of Load testing. This approach is oriented on test results
(test measures timings) while the using of Load testing as a
category is concentrated on test nature. We do not follow this
approach but it rather widespread so it should be mentioned.
For example Rational Unified Process defines these terms as
Performance testing is a class
of tests implemented and executed to characterize and evaluate
the performance related characteristics of the target-of-test
such as the timing profiles, execution flow, response times,
and operational reliability and limits.
Included within this class are :
Load testing - Verifies the acceptability
of the target-of-test's performance behavior under varying operational
conditions (such as number of users, number of transactions,
etc.) while the configuration remains constant.
Stress testing - Verifies the
acceptability of the target-of-test's performance behavior when
abnormal or extreme conditions are encountered, such as diminished
resources or extremely high number of users.
- Performance testing is the overall process,
- Load testing checks that the system will support the expected conditions,
- Stress testing tries to break it
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