Winter is Coming, are you prepared?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas are all fast approaching and with these come heavy amounts of traffic. While these all may seem like a long way off, preparing early will only benefit you. With all these events less than four months away, be sure that when you start your tests that you leave enough time to fix any issues, these tests may reveal.

Testing before any big event is important for companies. However, not everyone can see its importance. As a result, companies have suffered a direct loss of sales, a harmed reputation and even customers choosing to leave or buying from a competitor.

Some of the most notable examples include:

However, you can avoid your site or app crashing in times of high demand, by following our seven simple rules.

Much load can you handle?

Much like Lt. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men you have to ask yourself are you ready for the answer before you ask the question. In this case, you don’t want to know how much load your website or app can handle you deserve to know.

You can determine what your current loads are, simply by taking an in-depth view of your analytics. When viewing your analytics, by sure to review how your site behaved at during the same periods in previous years. Now ask yourself, what would happen if the traffic to your website or app was to suddenly double, triple or even increase ten fold, could you handle these loads.

Teamwork makes the dream work

So now that you have determined how much load your site can handle, the next stage is to assemble your team and plan for your holiday sales.

It is the time to get everyone involved development, quality assurance, design, and marketing. Build a team for your event and share your goals for the campaign with them. Get them involved and inspired from the start, because this will be the team that will be running tests, and preparing your infrastructure, before you launch your sale.

Test, Test and Test again

At this stage, you have determined how much load your site can handle and you have assembled your team. Now it’s time to determine which tests should be carried out before your campaign begins.

Using the goals of the upcoming campaign, you will determine which tests you should focus on. Your team’s knowledge of where your app/website does and does not perform well will also be a factor in which tests should be carried out.

  • Load Tests: These tests will be performed to determine your sites/apps behaviour under both normal and anticipated peak load conditions.
  • Stress Tests: These tests will determine the ability of your site or app to maintain a certain level of effectiveness under unfavourable conditions. e.g a DDOS attack
  • Soak Tests: This a type of performance test that will test your website/app with a typical production load, over a continuous availability period, to validate the website/apps behaviour under normal use.
  • Spike Tests: The objective of this test is to verify the stability or your website/app during sudden bursts of activity to varying degrees of load over varying time periods.
  • Isolation Tests: These tests will break your website/app down into modules so that defects can be spotted easily in isolation. These tests will be repeated until the issue has been found and resolved.

Run the Tests

After deciding which tests you need carry out. RUN THEM. If your site or app can pass these tests and meet your goals of your campaign. Go again and keep going until you break something. You need to know much your app or website can handle before it stops working. It is better you know this, rather than wait for your customers to find this out for you. Knowing this will also be beneficial, should you suddenly get an unexpected boost in traffic, as it will allow you to solve any issue in real-time.

Fix the issues

Each of these tests should reveal bottlenecks/errors with your site/app. Determine what is needed to fix them and make sure you fix them. Set aside dedicated resources for this.

Run Your Tests Again

After fixing any issues your tests revealed. Run the test again so you can be 100% these changes implemented improved your website/app.

Don’t Stop Now.

Your campaign is over now and it was a resounding success But, your testing does not end now. This is the time to implement a continuous testing strategy. which will ensure that any change made to your site won’t have a knock effect to another part of the site. A continuous testing strategy will also ensure you are always prepared for the worst should it ever happen.

Originally published at on August 1, 2017.