Load testing is the process of putting demand on a software system or computing device and measuring its response. Load testing is performed to determine a system’s behavior under both normal and anticipated peak load conditions. It helps to identify the maximum operating capacity of an application as well as any bottlenecks and determine which element is causing degradation. When the load placed on the system is raised beyond normal usage patterns to test the system’s response at unusually high or peak loads, it is known as stress testing.
The load is usually so great that error conditions are the expected result, but there is no clear boundary when an activity ceases to be a load test and becomes a stress test.
The term “load testing” is often used synonymously with concurrency testing, software performance testing, reliability testing, and volume testing. All of these are types of non-functional testing that are part of functionality testing used to validate suitability for use of any given software.
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