Load testing and stress testing: What’s the main difference?

Learn why load and stress testing are essential components of software development now.

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The discussion of load testing and stress testing has been on the lips of both software developers and some non-techies. Therefore, much information has been given about what both software testing techniques represent, but not many people understand the main difference in testing methods.

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

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What is load testing?

Load test is a software technique used to evaluate the performance of a system when subjected to different load conditions.

For example, load testing can be used to check resource usage and response times when the software is in use. With load testing, software developers can now easily detect and fix system load downtime issues before launching their products.

What is stress test?

Stress testing evaluates whether the software performs well under adverse or extreme circumstances, such as high network traffic, high number of running processes, poor hardware or overclocking and demanding maximum resource usage.

Stress testing also determines the point of failure and recovery of the system when a specified limit is exceeded. Some problems that can be detected in the system during stress testing include synchronization problems and memory leaks.

What is the main difference between load testing and stress testing?

Load test Pressure test
Load testing tests how the application behaves when there is an increase in load. Stress testing ensures that servers do not crash under unexpectedly high loads for an extended period of time.
Load testing allows one to determine the upper limit of the system. Stress testing allows one to test how the system responds to heavy loads and how it recovers from failure.
The main features checked during load testing are server quality, response times, and peak performance. The main attribute tested in stress testing is the stable response time and system reliability at disaster levels.
The load limit is a breaking threshold in load testing. Limit load above breaking threshold in stress test.

Benefits of load testing

Identify performance issues before the product goes live

Load testing helps developers better understand how increased user volume affects system performance. With load testing, companies have the opportunity to enhance the user experience prior to product release by detecting performance issues.

Determine the system’s productivity

Load testing helps software developers get to know the top of their software products when setting user performance and optimization goals for their software.

Improved scalability

Enterprises 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 not.

Increase customer satisfaction

Load testing provides insights that optimize the user experience of the software even before it reaches the end consumer. This is important because user experience is a factor that can hinder software adoption.

Reduce breakdown costs

When the software is faulty after the launch, it will reduce the user’s confidence in the product. Fortunately, the cost of rebuilding this trust through software enhancements can be reduced or eliminated entirely if organizations require their software to be load tested before launch.

Ensure that the system meets performance standards

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

Benefits of stress testing

There are many reasons to apply stress testing. If a team eliminates stress testing in software development, they can expose their application to damage such as data leaks, loss, and security attacks. Here are the specific reasons for stress testing apps.

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Prepare teams for extreme situations

Stress testing allows teams to know which points of failure are most likely to occur and cause the most harm to the software. This knowledge is important for planning what to do if the software encounters such a situation.

Help maintain the stability of the project

If done properly, stress testing will provide the team with early warning indicators and information that help identify the majority of defects and protect the system against them. After stress testing, developers can better protect the software against scripts, bots, and DOS attacks.

In addition, stress testing helps to identify system weaknesses and improve system security before bringing the product to market.

Help map out alternative plans

Stress testing sessions focus on finding various issues, such as deadlocks, concurrency issues, inconsistent data, race attacks, and bottlenecks in synchronization. Additionally, data from stress testing can drive contingency and scalability plans.

Revealing 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 assist testers in determining the possible harm that shutting down the system could cause:

  • Ability to process
  • Disk Usage
  • Use Internet
  • stream distribution
  • Transaction success/failure
  • Deadlock

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