Load Testing Vs. Stress Testing

The software testing world is based on numerous types of tests that each and every one of them has a different purpose and is executed in different stages. Since there are a large number of tests, sometimes confusion comes up between various tests and it’s hard to put a finger on the differences between them. Two test types that cause common confusion between them are Load Testing and Stress Testing. Although both tests are related to Performance Testing, there are several differences that will help you distinguish between these two valuable tests.

Load Testing vs. Stress Testing

What is Load Testing?

Load Testing is intended to check how the system will perform under a large number of users at the same time for a bounded time frame to simulate a real-life situation. The number of users we simulate is similar to the number of the anticipated load volume of users in real-life. The tester would mainly like to check the system response time, discover bottlenecks, and find bugs such as code issues and memory leaks.

This testing is also designed to identify what is the number of users the system could handle before the performance will take a hit. Load tests are also helping companies in reducing the cost of failure and increasing customer satisfaction. There are plenty of QA testing tools for all the different testing types, thus, you can use a dedicated load testing tool such as JMeter.

Advantages of Load Testing

  • Helps to uncover bottlenecks and detect bugs in the system
  • Reduce the risk of system downtime
  • Lower the cost of failure
  • Increase customer satisfaction and improve the user experience

What is Stress Testing?

Stress Testing's purpose is to examine the behavior of the system when there is an extreme load that is over the breaking point. This is a non-functional test and aimed to check the stability and robustness of the system. In stress testing, the tester wants to figure out how the system is recovering after a crash, if the data is corrupted, and if there are any security issues.

Due to the importance of finding the bugs and defects the stress testing is helping to discover, it is important to perform this test and ensure there are no security and user data leaks issues.

Advantages of Stress Testing

  • Understand the breaking-point of the system
  • Helps to figure out how the system is recovering after a crash
  • Find security issues, data corruption, and other bugs
  • Discover the stability and robustness of the system

Comparison Between Load Testing and Stress Testing

Load Testing Stress Testing
Definition To check how the system will perform under a large number of users that is similar to the expected number of users in real-life situations To check the behavior of the system when there is an extreme load that is over the breaking point
Purpose Stimulate an authentic real-life situation of normal load, uncover bottlenecks, and detect bugs in the system code Figure out how the system is recovering from a crash and identify bugs that occur in extreme situations
Type of Testing Performance Testing Performance Testing
Testing Attributes Responding time, server throughput, identify the breaking-point Stability and robustness of the system, security leaks, corrupted data
Limit Till the breaking-point Over the breaking-point
Advantages
  • Helps to uncover bottlenecks and detect bugs in the system
  • Reduce the risk of system downtime
  • Lower the cost of failure
  • Increase customer satisfaction and improve the user experience
  • Understand the breaking-point of the system
  • Helps to figure out how the system is recovering after a crash
  • Find security issues, data corruption, and other bugs
  • Discover the stability and robustness of the system

Summary

Briefly, both load testing and stress testing are under the large umbrella of performance testing, and though there are some similarities between them they are two very different tests. The load testing on one hand is intended to check the normal load of users in a software system. Stress testing on the other hand is designed to test the system under a heavy number of users that exceeded the system’s breaking point.

Those two tests have a meaningful impact on the software and it is important to execute them correctly in order to identify defects and issues that will harm the system both in security aspects and user experience aspects. To manage those tests and all other different types of tests effectively, you can use a test management platform, such as PractiTest that will help you trace and orchestrate all the different tests you perform on your software to ensure you release quality products that satisfy user’s expectations.

Free Trial

14 day free trial, no CC required