jMeter, A Cross Platform Load Testing Tool

The online industry is competitive. Therefore, a developer should ensure that their website is performing optimally. There are numerous tools that a web developer can use for optimizing performance of websites and web services. Performance optimization usually involves identifying bottlenecks in your program and eliminating them. Load and stress testing allow a developer to generate traffic that simulates maximum traffic to a website or service. Both load and stress testing involve tracking a system’s performance under high load. However, there is a slight difference between the two. When load testing the developer will subject the system to the maximum traffic that the system was designed to handle. Stress testing will involve subject the system to traffic exceeding peak volume in an attempt to overwhelm its resources. Monitoring a system under peak load enables a developer to observe how the system behaves under load and therefore identify the bottlenecks.

There are various tools for load and stress testing that are available. If you have a basic IT knowledge, there are cloud services that are simple to use such as Blitz, Load Impact and Blaze Meter. However, these systems become expensive when you want to run extensive tests. You can use some open source tools that allow you to load test you website in-house. jMeter is such a tool. jMeter is a Java based load testing tool. Because it’s written in Java you can run it on any platform that has a JVM be it Windows, Linux or MacOS. jMeter supports many web protocols such as HTTP, AJAX and HTTPS. You can also test web services that use REST or SOAP. jMeter also has tests that simulate concurrent and multiple user web traffic.

jMeter is very user friendly and it is configured using a simple and intuitive GUI. Advanced users can configure their jMeter tests using XML files. The most interesting feature in jMeter is that of virtual users. Virtual users allow developers to test their websites by simulating many concurrent users. The number of virtual users depends on the hardware of the system and can even reach one million virtual users. After you have completed your tests jMeter will provide in depth reports that have performance metrics such as error rate, throughput and connection time.