Best load testing tools for performance QA featured image

Best Load Testing Tools For Performance QA In 2020

Tools To Test Your Application In Real World Conditions

Load testing is a kind of Performance Testing that determines a system’s performance under real-life load conditions. This testing helps determine how the application behaves when multiple users access it simultaneously.

Load testing usually identifies:

  • The maximum operating capacity of an application
  • Determine whether the current infrastructure is sufficient to run the application
  • Sustainability of application with respect to peak user load
  • Number of concurrent users that an application can support, and scalability to allow more users to access it.

Load testing is a type of non-functional testing. A load test is a type of software testing which is conducted to understand the behavior of the application under a specific expected load. Load testing is performed to determine a system’s behavior under both normal and at peak conditions.

These tools help performance/load test a site or application.

Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best Load Testing Software

This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best load testing tools and other performance testing tools.

These network testing tools can help with your load testing processes. 

The Best Stress Test Tool List

Best load testing tools for automated performance testing

  1. Apache JMeter
  2. Wapt
  3. WebLOAD
  4. Neotys Neoload
  5. BlazeMeter
  6. Load Impact
  7. LoadFocus
  8. Parasoft Load Test
  9. Akamai CloudTest
  10. TestPlant eggPlant Performance

Load Testing Tools FAQ

Still, have questions about website load testing and other app performance monitoring? Start here. 

What is load testing?

Load testing is the process of putting stress on a system (number of concurrent users, for example) and measuring the response. This type of performance testing is done in order to spot bottlenecks in the system that might inhibit performance after launch or during high-use periods. 

What’s load testing vs stress testing?

A load test sets a certain level of performance weight on a tool in order to gauge the response under these controlled circumstances. A stress test is designed to push the system until it breaks, in order to figure out the maximum the system can handle. 

What are load testing tools, and what do they do?

Load testing tools are software that simulates “real world” load environments to place upon apps or websites in a controlled, safe environment. Load testing tools will monitor and report on the performance of the app or website in these simulated use environments in order to identify slowdowns or issues.

What are the best open-source load testing tools?

There are plenty of options for open source load testing software; for example, Apache JMeter, Taurus, The Grinder, and Gatling. 

Not looking for load testing tools? Check out our other lists of top QA software:

  1. Need some help with QA automation? Be sure to check out 10 QA Automation Tools You Should Be Using In 2020.
  2. Want to optimize your defect tracking processes? Try these 10 Defect Tracking Tools To Keep Your QA On Track.
  3. Server monitoring dragging you down? Read up on the Top 10 Server Monitoring Tools & Software of 2020.

Website Load Test Comparison Criteria

What are we looking for when we select network stress test tools for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria: 

  1. User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive?
  2. Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? 
  3. Features & Functionality: 
    1. Realistic user simulation – Does the tool accurately reflect real-life user and load actions?
    2. Scripting language – Does the tool work with different scripting languages?
    3. Device testing variety – Can the tool test both mobile- and web-based apps?
    4. Reporting and analytics – Are the reporting tools robust, customizable, flexible, and visually appealing? Can they be exported into different, popular file types for review? 
  4. Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
  5. Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible?

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Overviews Of The Load Testing Software

Here’s a brief description of each of the website testing that is featured on this top 10 list. 

1. Apache JMeter – Open source software and a pure Java application designed to load test functional behavior and measure performance.

apache jmeter screenshot
Modify a thread group to automate actions after errors.

Apache JMeter may be used to test performance both on static and dynamic resources. It can be used to simulate a heavy load on a server, group of servers, network or object to test its strength or to analyze overall performance under different load types.

As a free-to-use load testing tool, Apache JMeter earned a favorable evaluation in the Value for Cost considerations per the review criteria outlined above. 

A con to note is that it can be used only on web applications and that complex scenario cannot be done using the JMeter thread group.

Apache JMeter is a free, open-source testing suite.

2. WAPT – Employs a universal performance test design approach by recording real-life web sessions from a browser or a mobile application. 

WAPT screenshot
Design a test sample with load agents. 

WAPT lets users design or run tests locally or in the cloud. Users are enabled to create tests using a browser or a mobile application; employ remote, distributed and cloud-based testing; launch server and database performance monitoring; and more.

Some of the most exemplary elements of the software are the usefulness of auto-parameterization of most dynamic values, the extensibility via Javascript, and point-and-click recording capabilities. 

The WAPT interface, as seen from the associated screenshot, comes across quite dated in the color, look, feel, and even text orientation. For those used to modern tech UI, it may be a bit of an eyesore; thus, they lost a few points per the UX review criteria.

WAPT starts at $700 and has a free trial.

3. WebLOAD – Test with powerful recording and scripting, correlation, drag-and-drop building blocks, parameterization and response validation.

WebLoad screenshot
Monitor load size per second with the dashboard. 

WebLOAD generates a test script in JavaScript, with the flexibility to add a wide range of protocols and easily extend to additional protocols as needed. The recording is transparent and automatic with any web technology, including HTTP/HTTPS (SSL, TLS) and more.

This tool does particularly well with building any simulated load for load and performance testing in an intuitive and easy way. Additionally, the play and record features are useful for tracking results. 

As the only tool with no pricing information available, WebLOAD lost some points in cost transparency, meaning their review results for Value for Cost dropped a bit. 

WebLOAD offers pricing upon request and has a free trial.

4. Neotys Neoload – Design code-less load performance test scripts for large, complex applications using a graphical user interface.

neotys neoload screenshot
Track performance trends and release health. 

Neotys Neoload helps to design, maintain and run performance tests as code and analyze results within continuous integration pipelines using pre-packaged plugins for CI/CD tools and the NeoLoad API. Easily set up testing resources as needed.

This tool has a clean, colorful, and strategically organized user interface that makes returning to the software for each task a pleasure. Thus, they scored well in the UX segment of the evaluation process. 

One critique of this software to be wary of is that the charging mechanism on the cloud is not atomic in nature and has a dependency on a local machine. Additionally, the project gets harder to manage as the script grows.

Neotys Neoload starts at $6024/month and has a free 30-day trial.

5. BlazeMeter – A shift-left testing platform for enterprises that need API, GUI functional & performance testing, mock services, and API monitoring.

blazemeter screenshot
Compare max users to latency with visualizations. 

BlazeMeter allows for Selenium functional testing with no coding necessary. Simulate thousands or millions of virtual users from over 55 geo-locations, leveraging your favorite open source tools: Apache JMeter, Selenium, Gatling, Grinder, Locust and more.

This tool scores well in the Features – Reporting and Analytics segment of the evaluation criteria, as status report types and assertion types are very useful when creating test scripts. Reporting and graph features are very accurate, making them a key component of the software. 

A downside of this tool is that Blazemeter does not integrate well or easily with Jmeter if you started with or intend to incorporate that tool at all. 

BlazeMeter starts at $99/month and has a freemium version of the software.

6. Load Impact – LoadImpact, soon to rebrand as k6 Cloud, is a cloud service used to load test the performance of websites, apps, and APIs.

load impact load testing tool screenshot
Thresholds, checks, and requests in one dashboard. 

LoadImpact is a cloud service to load test the performance of websites, apps, and APIs that has specifically focused on API load testing in the new k6.io app, with a completely revamped Test Builder. Plus, they have an improved browser session recorder and an improved results page.

A standout component of this software is it’s easy to support of various ‘cl technologies’. Additionally, the reporting, graphs, and pictures are aesthetically pleasing and very readable. 

This tool would benefit in some better help sections/training documents in order to outline the different components of the software and website. They lost a few marks in the evaluation for Usability but this certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, as many aspects of the tool are intuitive anyways.

Load Impact starts at $99/month and has a free trial.

7. LoadFocus – No-code testing to find out how many users your website or API can handle; easily run tests within the browser from multiple locations.

load focus screenshot
Check response time, performance score, and resources. 

An easy and cost-effective way to test your websites, mobile and web applications, web services and APIs with features like load testing, website speed testing, mobile emulation, automated website testing, SEO/PWA/speed monitoring, and software consultancy services. 

LoadFocus has a very reasonable price-per-month, scoring them favorably in the Value for Cost section of the evaluation review as far as paid load testing tools are concerned. 

One weakness of the tool is that communication between the user and the LF team could be clearer and better implemented. For example, there have been some complaints about not receiving confirmation emails and other expected communication items. 

LoadFocus starts at $22.60/month and has a free 14-day trial.

8. Parasoft Load Test – Load testing module that enables users to take SOAtest functional test projects and leverage them for performance testing.

parasoft load testing tool screenshot
Use the navigator and test case explorer for any CPU load test.

Parasoft Load Test enables users to take SOAtest functional test projects and leverage them for performance testing. The Load Test Continuum (LTC) web-based reporting app makes performance testing a part of the CI/CD process and implements performance test automation.

One of the best parts of the software is that minimal experience/training is needed to get started. Users can easily pull from Excel or XML files, as well, and automating the APIs is intuitive. 

With a rather hefty up-front cost, Parasoft Load Test lost a few marks in the Value for Cost section of the evaluation criteria, as the price tag may deter some. It is important to note that the cost listed below includes the enterprise edition, desktop licenses, and training for a team of 5.

Parasoft Load Test starts at $50,000 and has a free trial.

9. Akamai CloudTest – Stress test the environment for your site or app and design your test at any scale or stage of production and interpret the results

akamai cloud test screenshot
Monitor peak traffic spikes and slowdowns.

CloudTest from Akamai allows you to safely simulate your largest events in production with precise control while producing a live analysis of what your site or app is capable of on your big day and helping you drill down to the source of any performance bottlenecks.

A highpoint of the software is that the software requires low resource allocation for high-performance results, which can be vital if you are working on sub-optimal systems or hardware. 

Akamai CloudTest definitely has a formidable learning curve and is not necessarily ideal for users who are new to load testing ecosystems. The tool lost a few points in the Usability segment of the evaluation criteria. 

Akamai CloudTest starts at $1300/user/year and has a free 30-day trial. 

10. Eggplant – Performance and load testing to ensure responsive and scalable application experiences for your app.

eggplant load testing tool screenshot
Simulate virtual users at both the application UI and the network protocol levels.

Eggplant Performance provides user-centric performance testing that’s simple to use with the unique ability to simulate virtual users at both the application UI and the network protocol levels, making it a solution that gives you an understanding of the UX impact at scale.

Usability is perhaps the most satisfying element of the eggplant experience, as it is relatively easy to pick up and run with as a new user. The software scored favorably in the Usability category of the review criteria outlined previously. 

A few cons to note are 1) the tool, on occasion, reports false positives since it works based on the OCR engine, and 2) it works better on macOS than on Windows. 

Eggplant starts at $3400 for one test stream and has a free demo. 

Other Web Testing Options

If you’re still looking for a PC stress test online, here’s a few more load tester tools that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy ap testing tools, check these out.

  1. Micro Focus LoadRunner – On-premises, project-based application performance and load testing that identifies the most likely cause of performance issues.
  2. Silk Performer – Easily simulate any size peak-load and avoid costly investments in stress testing hardware and setup.
  3. IBM Rational Performance Tester – Validates the scalability of web and server applications and identifies the presence and cause of system performance bottlenecks.
  4. Pureload –  test all or part of the Network Functions (NF) in the 5G RESTfuls service architecture and simulate traffic from one or several NFs.
  5. Loadster – Load test your web application with thousands of synthetic users to optimize performance, reduce costs, and help prevent downtime.
  6. Smartbear LoadUI Pro – Create and manage load testing for REST & SOAP APIs, databases, and microservices right inside your CI/CD pipeline.
  7. Tricentis Flood – Establish cloud-based performance labs at the fingertips of every developer and tester for on-demand load testing.
  8. Gatling – Use either an open-source or enterprise version of this load testing tool to help anticipate any slow response times or crashes. 
  9. Web Performance – Their app can help with simple local tests with simulated users all the way to 1,000,000 cloud-generated users. 
  10. Rigor – Continuous monitoring and alerting equip you to track common, mission-critical flows from the end-user perspective. 

What Do You Think About These Load Testing Tools?

Have you tried out any server load testing tools listed above? Which load testing tools do you use to simulate a heavy load or other real-world risks? As a Website tester, which loads testing tool would you recommend? Be sure to mention it in the comments.

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