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How to Do WordPress Load Testing

May 20, 2022

Is your website ready to be launched? Or are you offering a great discount and expecting a massive influx of visitors?

All this sounds great. But this great news can turn sour if something goes wrong.

If you are running an ecommerce website via WordPress, you enjoy several perks that WordPress offers, but your website still needs to be tested for large-scale requests by active users beforehand.

With WordPress load testing, you can inspect your website’s behavior under different conditions. You can test a beta or final website to verify if it can handle the expected users and offer the desired functionality in aspects of:

  • Website loading speed
  • Network bandwidth
  • Storage
  • CPU
  • RAM

Read on to learn more about WordPress load testing, testing techniques, and testing scenarios.

WordPress Load Testing 101

WordPress load testing includes procedures to test a target website in specific conditions to see if the website offers desired use at the peak of its user load.

For example, if you are an ecommerce website owner, you would want thousands of customers on your website to order simultaneously without lag. Besides that, you may also wish for your product pages to load in under 3.5 seconds.

With load testing, you can test this and see if the additional users cause extra delay in responses or even result in server errors.

WordPress load testing simulates active users and replicates the real user behavior on the website. You can determine your website’s behavior in both normal and high-traffic conditions.

Besides that, you can understand the maximum operating capacity of the website and server and find any hold-ups in the service. You can also pinpoint the element causing the degradation of service.

Load Testing vs. Stress Testing

You may find load testing and stress testing being used interchangeably. However, both have their differences.

Load testing verifies the performance of a website or application under usual peak loads. It determines whether the system is equipped to deal with the expected number of visitors.

On the other hand, stress testing involves overloading the system with more user requests and actions than it’s designed. It determines the breaking points of the system.

Using stress testing, you can determine where the website or application requires scaling when the budget allows.

Why Do WordPress Website Owners Need Load Testing?

As a website owner, you need to ensure two things: constant availability of the website and a smooth user experience. Load testing helps you with both as it defines the maximum load a website can handle without significant performance degradation.

Load testing reveals which elements of a website and system are first to malfunction. This allows you to prepare accordingly. And you can rest assured that the website and server will handle everyday business and user activity without any issues.

Types of Load Testing

To test a WordPress website, you need to understand the types of load testing. Each load testing covers a specific behavior of the website and server.

Common load testing types are as follows:

  • Common load testing: Response time of website page is observed depending on the number of users.
  • Capacity testing: Determines how many users the website and server can handle before the response time falls below the required standards.
  • Stress testing: Determines breaking points and their reasons.
  • Soak testing: Inspects website and server problems during prolonged user activity by monitoring trends and changes in system behavior.

How to Load Test a WordPress Website

Irrespective of the load testing type you opt for, you need to follow some steps to conduct your load testing.

Here’s how you can load test your WordPress website.

Define Scenarios

Select a type of load testing from the above list. You can test your website’s performance in peak load, overload, or over prolonged intervals.

Set Up a Test Environment

Depending on the scenario selected, set up a test environment. The test environment should be as close to the production environment as possible in terms of hardware, network, and software specifications.

Implement Virtual Users With Various Tasks

Create virtual users and assign different tasks to them. You can employ scripts to get the virtual users to perform the required actions for the test session.

Conduct Test Session

Conduct your test session with the developed testing strategy and configured virtual users.

For a successful test session, ensure:

  • Randomized and variable user activity
  • Realistic simulations
  • Simultaneous activity of different actions by virtual users

Monitor Your Website

While the test scenario is running, over the website’s behavior via monitoring of website’s vitals like:

  • Run-time transactions
  • Resource usage
  • Network delay

(Optional) Make Tweaks

Make tweaks if you find issues you can fix quickly. For example, you can get a reliable hosting provider that provides optimized performance.

(Optional) Re-Run Tests

If you made tweaks to the system, re-running already defined test scenarios is a good practice to test the latest modification right away.

Load Testing Tools and Plugins

You can load test your website using open source tools, plugins, and software. They offer scalability and easy implementation of test use cases, with accurate results on a given web browser.

Free, open-source tools you can use include:

  • JMeter
  • Gatling
  • Locust
  • StressStimulus
  • Loader.io

Final Thoughts: How to Do WordPress Load Testing

With the above guide, you can load test your WordPress website and ensure it works as desired under off-peak and peak loads. Besides that, you can stress test your website to find its breaking points to find ways to improve your website in advance.

With Nexcess, you can avoid all this work and scale your website’s resources for discount seasons, traffic spikes, or whenever required.

Check out Nexcess Cloud Auto Scaling today.

Eugene Vance