No matter what the season, your e-commerce site’s performance relates directly to revenue for your company. When your site is slow - or, worse, fails - you directly lose money.
Luckily, three key types of load tests can help you fortify your site against everyday load - and seasonal peaks (like Black Friday). These three tests will make your e-commerce site perform better.
Here’s what we recommend: Baseline Tests, Stress Tests, then ongoing “TEAR” testing.
Your first test should be a baseline test. A baseline test helps you understand performance under optimal conditions with low simulated, virtual users (VUs). This is especially important when you’re testing for the first time or using a new load test tool.
When you set up your testing schedule with your CI / CD tools, establishing minimum performance makes it easy to set pass/fail thresholds for automated testing. (For a concrete example of how to set this up with CircleCI, see our article here.)
Run a baseline test anytime there’s a new project, a major update, or any other significant change to code. (We recommend you run one with your nightly builds to identify issues early.) It’s a low-impact way to identify any major performance issues without in-depth performance analysis and tuning.
After baseline test(s), try a stress test. With these, you’re trying to test your site’s performance under stress, increasing the load step by step. With a stress test, you learn what could happen when everything goes wrong (or very very right) - how your site or app performs when a huge level of users visit. It helps you identify what the worst case scenario is - and where the weak points in your code or systems are.
This is especially important with your e-commerce site. Not only does site performance relate directly to revenue, but seasonal peaks or busy days can (and hopefully will) happen. Under a stress test, you can better plan for Black Friday or sudden product popularity.
Iterate as you step up to different simulated, virtual user (VU) levels, fixing any performance issues along the way. The idea is to go until something breaks, fix it, and keep going. (Find more example configurations here.)
Iterative Tests (TEAR)
After these efforts, we suggest you continually verify your project’s performance with load tests. As with every test, our customer success team recommends you “TEAR” into your load tests. TEAR means Test -> Evaluate -> Adjust -> Repeat.
After each test, especially your scheduled tests, evaluate the results. Did the test pass your minimum performance levels? If not, adjust accordingly: which piece of code or system element changed? Then, as with all tests, repeat regularly.
You may also want to more regularly schedule stress tests to make sure your site can handle traffic peaks and the resulting increased revenue.