Introductory and Essential Performance Testing Guide to the Beginners

Performance Testing | How to Create a Performance Test Plan

Hello there!!

I’m excited to share my learning experience with you in this exciting new blog post so that you may better comprehend the area of performance testing.

I was curious about the performance testing team’s work and the nature of their job until a few years ago. In my previous organization, it was a distinct vertical with a completely different reporting structure from the Quality Assurance domain. Later, I ran into some of my friends and understood some basics about the work they do. I got an opportunity to taste different flavors of testing starting with functional, ETL, EDI, Automation, and API Testing. 

Last year, I started researching performance testing in depth to implement it, as it is no longer a luxury. Web applications and APIs require adequate performance testing for a variety of reasons.

Imagine trying to order anything from an e-commerce website. You notice that the application is taking a long time to load the page fully. Also, putting in a single order takes forever. Will you use it again in the future? Do you even refer to this site to relatives or friends? I got the answer. So, you can see how being bug-free alone cannot be used to determine the quality of software/applications, right? We’re getting there slowly. To be a highly available application, it must work properly and be thoroughly tested. In this article, we’ll go over the fundamentals of performance testing, including what it is and some commonly used buzzwords and methodologies.

What is Performance Testing?

Performance testing is the process of evaluating the speed, scalability, and stability of a software application under a variety of conditions. To ensure that a software application meets its performance requirements, it is important to understand and use the different terminologies and techniques associated with software performance testing. 

It aims to provide visibility on the potential performance bottlenecks, as well as identify any potential errors and failures. As such, it is essential to validate the production performance of these systems before release onto the live environment.

It can take many forms. For example, system performance testing evaluates the system’s overall speed and efficiency in responding to user inputs. Similarly, web application performance tests assess a web application’s response time and resource consumption when exposed to increased load from multiple sources of traffic. Load testing ensures that an application can support a large number of simultaneous users by simulating many different user requests at once. Also please remember that performance testing is a type of non-functional testing. 

Why Performance Testing is Necessary?

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.” – Vince Lombardi

The importance of application performance cannot be overstated. Performance testing is essential for ensuring that your applications are running at optimal performance and can handle the demands of your users.

It can help you identify weak points in your application that could lead to slowdowns or crashes.

It can also assist you in identifying possible bottlenecks and addressing them before they become a nuisance. By doing so, you can guarantee that your application runs smoothly and effectively, giving your users a better experience. Start with performance testing to ensure that your apps are performing properly and providing the greatest user experience possible.

In brief, performance testing is essential for businesses since it gives vital insights to guarantee that systems are running optimally, before deployment.

Performance Testing Terminologies & Techniques

The performance testing phase of the software development life cycle is vital. It assesses the performance needs of a system while keeping the end user in mind. It employs a few technical jargons as part of its routine, which we should understand and master so that we don’t feel intimidated. When you work directly with the performance team or have the chance to begin understanding performance testing, the following are a few technical terms you may hear:

Non-Functional Requirements (NFR): NFRs are the list of requirements that define how a system should behave/work. This encompasses aspects such as performance, security, maintainability, scalability, and usability. They essentially give the necessary checks and balances to the functional needs. For example Usability, Scalability related requirements are called Non-Functional Requirements. 

Virtual users: A virtual user is a replica of a real user. During testing, we cannot have multiple real users, so we emulate users. The virtual user mimics an actual user by strategically navigating through the system, sending requests and collecting data at the same time. 

Bottlenecks: Broadly stated, a bottleneck is a point at which an issue arises. When it comes to performance testing, a bottleneck is a resource that limits or restricts the system’s performance.


Scalability: Scalability is the capacity of a system to modify its performance and cost in response to changes in application and system processing demands.

Latency: Latency is the amount of time it takes for a data packet to move from one location to another.


Throughput: Any application software’s efficiency is measured in throughput. It is calculated as the number of work requests that the program can handle in a certain amount of time. It is a crucial measurement while running a performance test on the application software that is being researched.

Response time: Response time is a measure of how quickly a system or application reacts to a user request.

Response Time

Saturation: Saturation occurs when a resource is subjected to more load than it can handle. It’s the maximum utilization of that resource. 

CPU Utilization: CPU utilization is the time it takes for the CPU to process/execute tasks. As we learned in school, the CPU is the computer’s brain, and this is one of the essential metrics computed during performance testing.

Memory Utilization: Memory Utilization is the memory utilized to process a request.

Concurrent Users: Multiple users log-in to the program and perform different tasks at the same time.

Performance Testing Terminology-Concurrent User

Simultaneous Users: Multiple users log-in to the application and do the same tasks all at the same time.

Performance Testing Terminology-Simultaneous User

Think time: The user pauses for a time before taking each action. So, while testing with virtual users, we must account for this time while executing the scripts to simulate real-time scenarios/environments.

Performance Testing Terminology-Think Time

Peak time: Anticipated busiest time for the server is called Peak Time. The amount of requests to the server is at an all-time high. For a theme park, weekends and public holidays are peak time.

Peak Load: Peak Load is the highest expected load during the peak hours (peak time). The expected number of people at the park during evenings and holidays (peak time) is called peak load. 

You won’t be as intimidated the next time you hear these buzzwords.

Types of Performance Testing

Also, there are several types of performance testing, such as load testing, spike testing, endurance testing, and stress testing. 

Load testing is the most common type of performance test and helps to simulate real-world traffic loads on a system or application. Load Testing is used to measure the response time for a given set of users or transactions. 

Spike Testing helps determine how the system behaves when there’s a sudden increase in user requests or transactions. Spike tests measure the response time of an application when presented with unexpected bursts in traffic or usage. 

Endurance (Soak) Testing evaluates the performance of an application over extended periods. Endurance tests measure how an application performs over extended periods, while stress tests measure how an application performs under extreme conditions, such as high or low temperatures or very high data volumes

Stress Testing helps identify the breaking point of an application under extreme conditions, such as high traffic or resource utilization.

Volume tests allow developers to measure the impact that large amounts of data can have on system performance.

How to Develop a Successful Performance Test Plan?

This guide will go through the many steps of creating a performance test strategy/plan, as well as the various types of tests and methodologies for developing test cases. Also, we will provide you with advice on how to develop an effective test strategy that will help you succeed in your software engineering projects.

In general, what is required for a Test Plan? I’m sure you’ve made or seen one in your career. We frequently overlook the importance of a strong test plan. A testing plan is produced in the same way as a functional testing strategy. Aside from the standard portions of a test plan, this concentrates on the questions listed below.

  • What kind of performance testing is required?
  • Are there any known issues with the application?
  • What will be the Performance Testing Methodology?
  • What are the tools used in the testing process?
  • What exactly is the list of non-functional requirements (NFR)? How many of these are connected to performance?
  • What data and metrics will be collected?
  • What is the project’s technology stack?
  • How will we document the test results?

Aside from that, understanding the general architecture of the project offers you a better grasp of how to troubleshoot or evaluate bottlenecks.

Below are a few important and standard sections in your performance test plan. Sections can be added or tweaked based on the project requirements.

  • Introductions
  • Project Overview
  • Application Architecture
  • Testing Scope (Requirements)
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Tools Installation and Config setup
  • Performance Test Approach
  • Performance Test Execution (Including the types of testing to be covered)
  • Test Environment details
  • Assumptions, Risks, and Dependencies

Tools & Resources to Make Testing Easier and Faster

Performance testing is an important part of the development process, but it can be time-consuming and difficult. Fortunately, various tools and resources are available that make performance testing easier and faster. From automated regression tool comparisons to online load testing services to software performance monitoring tools, there is something for everyone. With the right combination of these tools, you can reduce the time spent on performance testing and ensure that your product or service runs as smoothly as possible.

Some of the common tools used for performance testing are:

1. Apache JMeter – This open-source Java-based performance testing tool is used to measure and analyze load test results.

2. Loadrunner –  A comprehensive tool used to simulate user activity and analyze system performance under various load conditions, currently owned by Micro Focus.

3. Gatling – This tool is used to measure and analyze performance metrics for web applications. It has both open source and enterprise versions.

4. Locust – This is an open source, easy to use, scriptable and scalable performance testing tool. The scripts are written using Python which makes it easy for the developers to adapt and use.

5. LoadNinja – It’s an enterprise tool maintained by Smartbear. It is a cloud-based load testing and performance testing platform for web applications and web services.

Choosing a tool:

We will look at several tools for simplifying and automating the process of doing performance testing on software applications. Performance testers may assist in guaranteeing that an application satisfies its specifications and performs effectively in real-world circumstances by knowing the foundations.

Similar to choosing an automation tool, selecting a tool is decided on various factors. 

  1. Capabilities of the tool
  2. Whether it’s open source or licensed
  3. Whether it will fit the project requirements
  4. Existing team skill set can be used or the team needs to be trained
  5. Resources available for that tool
  6. Market needs and trends

There are already numerous tools accessible to understand and execute performance testing in your projects. 


Convincing the stakeholders to perform this testing can be a herculean task. You can start small. Also, if possible, begin doing this as a value-added to your existing projects. And this can assist you and your team in adding a new skill to your Tester’s hat.

Being from a functional background if you were hesitant, I believe this blog has helped you to start learning and implementing performance testing. 

It is usual to execute performance testing too late, leaving no time for the process to offer benefits, which it will invariably do if given the time and chance.

The ultimate goal of this blog is to give you a brief idea about Performance testing. Performance testing and engineering is such a vast topic and an equally interesting one. 

So the next steps would be, 

  1. Research more about the topic and pick an open-source tool and get your hands dirty
  2. Try to implement it in your project whether it is for Web or APIs. 
  3. Educate the team about the importance of performance testing.

Happy Performance days to you and your team!!

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