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How To Run Load and Performance Testing Using Apache JMeter

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JMeter, an open-source desktop Java program, is one of the most powerful testing tools out in the market today. You can use the application for load testing and measuring performance. This potent tool allows load simulation of several scenarios and produces performance data in various formats, including but not limited to CSV, or XML, and graphical output. JMeter is compatible with every operating system that supports Java 6 or above.

Load testing using JMeter

Apache JMeter load testing helps to understand if a web application can handle its load requirements. The testing process also reveals whether the overall server is functioning correctly or not under a heavy load.

Performance testing using JMeter

This testing method helps test static and dynamic resources. JMeter performance testing also gives you the access to discover regular users on your website and offers different graphical analyses under the scope of performance testing. The process of performance testing using JMeter involves both load testing and stress testing an application.

How to do load and performance testing using JMeter?

The first thing to do, even before you start the test, is to determine the following:

  1. What is the normal load or the average number of users who visit your website?
  2. What is the heavy load or the maximum number of people who visit your website?
  3. What is your target for these tests?

Once you have these three answers clearly documented, it is time to commence the testing process.

Here is the entire process is broken down into individual steps for doing load and performance testing using JMeter:

1. Adding a thread group:ย 

ย Open up JMeter and select Test Plan. Right-click on this option and add a new Thread Group. In the control panel of this new Thread Group, insert these properties of the Thread-ย 

A. Number of users connecting to the target website (Number of Threads)

B. Number of times you want to carry out the testing process (Loop Count)

C. The ramp-up period, i.e., the number of seconds to delay before starting the following user.

2. Adding elements of JMeter:ย 

A. The HTTP Request Defaults element is your next destination used to set the standards values of HTTP requests into the entire test design. In test cases where more than one HTTP request is sent to the same server, this configuration element comes in handy.ย 

You can add this element by right-clicking on a selected thread group and then clicking on Add. Select Configuration Element from the options and then click on HTTP Request Defaults. In the HTTP Request Defaults control panel, add the target websiteโ€™s address in the Server Name or IP box. Once you set the server, it is automatically taken as the default server for all the other items under the same thread group.

B. Next comes adding the HTTP Cookie Manager and HTTP Request Sample. For websites that use cookies, HTTP Cookie Manager can be used in the thread group to support them. You can find this feature from the same Configuration Element menu mentioned previously.

Now it is time to add HTTP Request Sampler to the thread group. This refers to the page that each user (thread) will access. Select a thread group and click on Add. Move to Sampler and then select HTTP Request. Here, in the HTTP Request box, put down the Path and the final thing that you would want the users to request.

3. Graph result:ย 

With JMeter, you can get results in graphical format. Right-click on Test Plan and click on Add. Then select Listener and then Graph Results. You can also select the Table listener according to what is best suited to your convenience.

4. Running the basic test plan and interpreting the results:ย 

First, save the test plan by going to File and then Save. Press the Run button on the toolbar (or click ctrl+R) to start the tests. Regardless of which Listener you choose, the test results will appear in real-time.

To fully assess a website under test, two primary aspects should interest you: throughput and deviation. Throughput refers to the ability of a server to manage the heavy load. A higher throughput indicated better performance. Deviation indicates how the performance varies in comparison to the average. You want the Deviation value to be as small as possible.

Even though these are the standard steps to achieve successful JMeter load and performance testing, the results are subject to variation, depending upon several factors like your internet speed, CPU power, RAM, etc.

To sum up

JMeter is a potent tool to find out what changes are required for your website server to improve its performance and remove the glitches in the way. However, if you are too apprehensive about trying it out yourself, hand the job over to any software testing company for the most accurate results.

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