Repost: How to Keep Up With the Holiday Rush

The following is an article on load testing by Stephanie Klaiber.

"It’s almost that time of year again. Holiday shoppers looking to stay at arm’s length from the seasonal mall madness will undoubtedly turn to the Internet to make their gift purchases. In fact, ShopperTrak predicts national retail sales will rise 3% during November and December this year as compared to the same time period last year.

In order to keep up with this expected spike in website traffic, there are a few steps ecommerce companies should take to ready their site. In order to help, we’ve rounded up the top eight load testing and website monitoring tips to help ecommerce sites stay on their “A-game” this holiday season.

1. Start load testing now. Procrastination can be a worrisome habit. Put off today what you can do tomorrow, and you may find your ecommerce site has crashed. According to IBM report, Act, Don’t React: A Proactive Business Continuity Solution Protects your Revenues and Reputation, the average revenue loss per hour of downtime is $1.01 million—a price tag your business cannot afford.

2. Set objectives. Look at industry trends and establish what is “acceptable performance” for your organization. Example Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) before load testing can include:

90% of pages should load in 4 seconds or less
All business transactions should take less than 1 minute to complete
Category search should take no more than 6 seconds to complete
3. Use real browsers. Thanks to cloud computing, it is now cost effective to load test and monitor a website using real browsers. Real browsers let you create more life-like site traffic, unlike virtual browsers that simply mimic a browser’s http request / response sequence. You’ll come away with a clearer view of your end user’s experience.

4. Test beyond the firewall. The most frequently visited parts of your site are the most important to test: applications supporting your home page, browsing, product selection, checkout and exit. Without external testing, you’re only getting half the picture.

5. Revisit frequency: Consider increasing your monitoring frequency to make sure nothing goes unnoticed. You need to be notified immediately if there is any change in your website’s behavior.

6. Collaborate. Advertising and special promotions will affect traffic to your website. Coordinate with your marketing department to ensure your website can handle traffic upticks caused by marketing campaigns.

7. Document. Establish a holiday preparation process and document all of your load testing and monitoring activities. That way you’ll have all the records you need to perform a post-mortem and improve for next year.

8. Choose the Solution that Works for Best You. When working with load testing providers, you typically have two choices: (a) on-demand services that let you run tests 24/7 or (b) full-service testing, which normally includes a dedicated engineer. If you have the resources and expertise on staff, and require greater flexibility for when you test, on-demand is a good choice (Tip: See if you can get started with a free trial.) If you could use additional expertise with testing and analysis, including professional recommendations and reporting, then full-service load testing is the way to go.

Visit http://www.browsermob.com for more information about our on-demand load testing solutions or http://www.webmetrics.com for more information on our performance monitoring and full-service load testing solutions."

A well written article by Stephanie Klaiber on load testing.