Stress testing is a form of performance testing and a critical part in the development of any network, software, or computer program. It is primarily done in a lab environment prior to release of the product to ensure it maintains a high performance rate.
This is done by placing the object of the test in artificially generated unfavorable conditions to measure its performance, typically based on the number of reoccurring system crashes or other such errors.
The artificial adverse conditions may include but are not limited to trying to access one Web site as many times as possible and as fast as possible. Hacking the system and converting it into what’s called a “zombie.” This is then used to send out waves of spam. Using malware like viruses and Trojans to infect the computer, intentionally slowing its performance. That creates a lot of multitasking by having the system try to run more than one complex and high resource applications all at one time on a single console, bombarding the system with pointless junk mail and useless messages.
If the object continues to perform initially then the conditions are intensified. After all, it wouldn’t be called a stress test if it were easy would it? The system is pushed to its limit with careful, incremental increases of the individual stresses. All the time this is going on performance is being carefully analyzed and evaluated based on a variety of different factors.
Any system will eventually break down after enough of this sort of treatment. To borrow a sports term the stress test is more about endurance. It is designed to see how the system will perform in the worst possible circumstances to expose flaws in its internal workings or simply establish a base line for performance.
Stress testing is definitely a time intensive undertaking; however its importance cannot be understated. Developers use such information to create systems that fail slowly and steady. This may sound defeatist but nothing in invulnerable, especially in the continuously upgrading world of technology. This sort of system maintains core functionality making it easier to locate the problem and correct it before the damage becomes irreversible.
How Stress Testing Relates to Nonprofits
The information about should show you that stress testing is important, but what if you’re not a big business? What if you’re a smaller company or a nonprofit that doesn’t have a lot of money to spend? Is load or stress testing worth doing? The truth is that yes, it is worth doing! It’s even more important if you don’t have a high quality server because you need to ensure then that it’s well-optimized.
The truth is that it’s not easy to find hosting for nonprofits, and even harder to optimize a slow server. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, but it will definitely take some work. Is it worth doing? Absolutely, because the people who are interested in your cause will be better able to view your site and learn about you message if it’s working well and not loading slowly. So, hopefully now after reading this page you better-understand the importance of not only stress testing a more popular website, but also something smaller like a nonprofit site.