The 15 Best Performance Testing Tools to Improve Your Site in 2021

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In May of 2021, Google made Core Web Vitals a direct ranking factor which means website performance and user experience has never been more important.

In order to figure out how the website performs, there are numerous performance testing tools that you can use and get all kinds of data. Also, it’s important to know for what are you actually using testing tools.

Performance testing tools can be speed tests, load tests, stress tests, pretty much any tool that simulates real-life situations and provides you with data you can use to optimize your processes and performance in general.

Eventually, you will need the knowledge to read the data, but for this article, we’re going to cover the best performance testing tools to improve your site.

The Best 15 Best Website Performance Testing Tools

Let’s take a look at some of the best performance testing tools that can help you to decide which to choose based on your testing needs.

1. Google PageSpeed Insights

google pagespeed insights new performance testing tool homepage

Unsurprisingly, one of the first solutions comes straight from Google — Google PageSpeed Insights. 

With this amazing software, you can see exactly how Google sees your website in terms of loading time, overall performance, and issues that may occur.

Also, don’t find it surprising if results from Google PageSpeed Insights don’t match other testing tools’ results. The reason for this is that Google PageSpeed Insights is testing your website using a 3G connection so results may vary. Given that website, performance has a big impact on SEO, the most useful way to gauge how Google views your site’s performance (which is no longer just loading time will be using Google PageSpeed Insights and the Core Web Vital metrics it produces). 

Pricing: Google PageSpeed Insights is a completely free tool with no membership plans.

2. GTMetrix

gtmetrix performance testing tool homepage

GTMetrix is an amazing and very popular website testing tool and with it, you will be able to get a ton of insight into how your site is performing.

The most popular option GTMetrix has is definitely “waterfalls” which can show you the exact process of what’s happening when someone is opening your site and that way you can actually see what’s slowing down your website.

Pricing: GTMetrix has a free plan that can satisfy the needs of most users. However, if you need even more data, they have a lot of plans starting from $10 per month.

3. Pingdom

pingdom performance testing tool homepage

So, Pingdom also analyses load speeds, and just like with its successors you can use it to learn how to make your website load faster.

The special thing that Pingdom has is that it automatically traces your performance history. So every month when you go and test your website, you can see whether the changes you’ve made have increased the performance of that webpage, and the loading speeds for it.

What you can also do with Pingdom is choose different locations around the world to test your website from.

So, if you’re based in the US, you’re looking at your website from Austin, it’s hosted in Houston, the page load speed are naturally gonna be quicker than if somebody’s looking at your website in London, for example, because it’s gotta cover that extra distance.

Pricing: They offer free testing, but if you require a monitoring tool or simply more data, you can choose some of their paid plans.

4. Nibbler

nibbler performance testing tool homepage

Nibbler is run by a company called Silktide, and they’ve also got a

The premium version of it is called InSites.

Their report is quite different from Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and Pingdom as they tend to focus on digesting the entire website and providing you with tips and tricks on how to improve.

They are not just testing performance in terms of speed but also in terms of SEO, where they review links that your website is getting and grade them accordingly.

Pricing: Nibbler allows you to run up to 17 free tests, and after that, you’ll have to switch to their premium version called InSites, which starts at $99 per month.

5. W3C Validation Tool

w3c performance testing tool homepage

Indifference to other performance testing tools, W3C Validation Tool will check your website’s code in order to make sure that your website complies with formatting standards.

Benefits of validating your website with W3C Validation Tools may be but are not limited to:

  • Improved SEO rankings
  • Better coding practices
  • Improved user experience
  • Making your website browser friendly
  • Detecting coding errors

Pricing: W3C Validation tool is free to use.

6. WAVE Accessibility Tool

wave accessbility tool performance testing tool homepage

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool that identifies ways to make your website more accessible to people with disabilities.

While it is true that WAVE can identify many accessibility errors automatically, you should identify any accessibility issues manually.

Even though this tool may not be important as speed and load performance testing tools, it will most certainly help you improve the user experience for users with disabilities.

Pricing: WAVE is completely free to use.

7. WebLOAD

radview webload performance testing tool homepage

WebLOAD is an enterprise-scale load testing tool that can create proper and real-life scenarios, even in complex use cases. It is mostly used by performance testing services with complex and heavy user load requirements. 

You can use WebLOAD to conduct stress and load testing on any web-based software by generating load from on-premise systems and the cloud. It supports different technologies including web protocols to enterprise applications. It can work with different integrations like Jenkins, Selenium, and other applications that support continuous load testing for DevOps. 

  • WebLOAD offers website load testing, cloud load testing, continuous load testing, etc.,
  • You can test heavy traffic loads, constraints, performance bottlenecks, report weak points in your web application. 
  • It offers analysis reports for performance data that help users to identify bottlenecks. 
  • WebLOAD supports XML, HTTPS, and HTTP network protocol.
  • Automatically enters dynamic values such as enable scripts and session IDs and enable scripts to execute with different virtual clients. 

Pricing: They offer a free trial option for up to 50 users. You will have to contact their sales team to get a quote.

8. Neoload

neotys neoload performance testing tool homepage

Neoload is a performance testing tool that will help you with test design automation, maintenance, and analysis for Agile and DevOps teams. Neo load integrates with continuous delivery pipelines to support performance testing across the life cycle, from component to the full system-wide load tests.

  • Automated test design enables 10 times faster test creation and updates than traditional solutions 
  • Integration with CI servers for automated test runtime 
  • Collaboration that is shared test scripts and reports in real-time and after test completion through an on-premise web interface 
  • 70 different localizations available for hybrid on-premise and cloud load generation
  • Protocols supported are HTTP, HTTPS, SOAP, REST, Flex push, AJAX push

Pricing: Neo load offers a wide range of subscription-based licensing and their policy is pay-as-you-grow. For exact numbers, you’ll have to reach out to them.

9. Load Runner

loadrunner performance testing tool homepage

Load runner is a software testing tool from Micro Focus that is used to test applications, measure system behavior, and performance under load. 

  • it lowers the cost of distributed load testing
  • scale from single projects to a full-scale testing Center of Excellence that consolidates hardware, standardizes best practices, and leverages global testing resources
  • Reducing the risk of deploying systems that do not meet performance requirements through the use of effective enterprise load testing
  • Lowering hardware and software costs by predicting system capacity
  • Fast and accurate identification of the root cause of app performance problems
  • effective tool utilization tracking is also available
  • the browser-based access to global test resources an optimal usage of low generate the farm is also present
  • all protocols supported

Pricing: Load Runner has a free trial on all solutions.

10. LoadView

loadview performance testing tool homepage

LoadView is one of the most popular performance testing sites. It works on the basis of on-demand and is a fully-managed load testing and stress-testing tool. The testing done by the LoadView is performed in real browsers, which totally separates it from all other common performance testing tools. And the result you get after testing is real close to what the actual user will do and is highly accurate. 

LoadView is a fully cloud-based testing tool that can be deployed within minutes. It also lets you create multi-step scripts simulating user interaction with your website or application.  

  • In LoadView, you can define duration, users, behavior in various scenarios and simulate users with load injectors from 30 different global locations. 
  • It offers three load curves: Dynamic Adjustable curve, Goal-based curve, and Load Step curve, to check infrastructure limits, scalability, and check traffic spikes. 
  • All the run tests are performed behind a firewall as LoadView provides secure IPs which you can use and configure.
  • Supports different internet applications like Silverlight, HTML5, Java, PHMP, and Flash.
  • You can easily share performance metrics and reports.

Pricing: Basic pricing starts at $199 for 1000 concurrent users.

11. StressStimulus

stress stimulus performance testing tool homepage

StressStimulus is another popular performance testing tool as it can handle complex testing scenarios that is not possible for other performance tools. Usually, it works automatically by fixing playback errors through its autocorrelation feature. StressStimulus records users’ actions before replaying them to emulate changing usage patterns.

  • Keeps track of load impact on the responsiveness of the software and the server infrastructure. 
  • Provides in-depth performance metrics.
  • Detects hidden concurrency errors.
  • It can be used as a Fiddle independent or add-on tool.
  • It has an end-to-end test wizard which covers all steps and reduces the learning curve.

Pricing: Basic pricing starts at $0 and goes up depending upon the number of users.

12. Apache JMeter

apache jmeter performance testing tool homepage

Apache JMeter is an open-source tool, which is used for load and performance testing. It allows you to analyze and measure the performance of different web applications including networks and servers. 

Apache JMeter is based on Java that is mainly used to test web performance. 

  • It has a user-friendly GUI which makes it easy to use and needs less scripting as compared to other performance testing tools.
  • It has a fully-featured IDE which allows easy creation of tests, debugging, and recording.
  • It supports Java, HTTP, HTTPS, SOAP, XML, FTP, and other different protocols. 
  • It can integrate with different open-source libraries, like, Maven, Gradle, etc.,

Pricing: Apache JMeter is an open-source tool and is free to use.

13. LoadNinja

loadninja performance testing tool homepage

LoadNinja lets you check out app performance issues with highly actionable and accurate data. It is pretty easy to use and gives results that are easy to read. It figures out and analyzes application performance data like asynchronous calls, navigation timings, processed resources, and strep times on your web interface and identifies problems using a machine learning assistant. 

  • LoadNinja is useful for testers, engineer teams, and product teams so that they can pay attention to developing their tool without spending all of their time creating scripts.
  • It lets you record client-side interactions, figure out performance issues, and correct them in real-time without losing text quality by removing translation, test scrubbing, and dynamic correlation efforts.
  • You can perform automated tests by using their Rest API or CI/CD plugins.

Pricing: Basic pricing starts at $1,439/year for 100 load hours and 100 virtual users.

14. SmartMeter.io

smartmeter io performance testing tool homepage

If you want to address the drawbacks of Apache JMeter, then SmartMeter.io will be a good choice. You don’t even need a proxy setup or browser plugin tool that helps you to create and record test scripts easily. It gives in-depth test reports and provides test run trends, test criteria assessment, and comparison analysis.

  • Supports CI/CD integration.
  • It provides an advanced response body extractor.
  • Gives GUI test runs and real-time results.
  • Develop numerous virtual users from different global locations using load generators.

Pricing: Basic pricing starts at $39/month.

15. Rational Performance Tester

IBM Rational performance tester performance testing tool homepage

Developed by IBM, it is an automated performance testing tool for web-based and server-based applications. It lets you conduct full environment analysis by identifying slowdown causes for J2EE interfaces and apps by using a product of IBM Tivoli. 

  • It supports different protocols like Citrix, Web HTTP, SOA, Weblogic, etc.,
  • Supports scriptless testing.
  • Large testing can be done easily by including different users.

Pricing:

You’ll have to contact them to get a quote.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of Performance Testing?

Performance testing plays an essential role in any type of development – a simple website or complex application. Some benefits of performance testing are:

  • Measuring speed, accuracy, and stability of your software/website
  • Identifying issues and discrepancies
  • Knowledge of what exactly needs to be optimized
  • Drastically improved user experience
  • Reduced cost of maintenance in the aftermath

What are the different types of performance testing?

These are the types of performance testing:

  • Load testing – check applications ability to perform under anticipated user loads
  • Endurance testing – make sure your software can handle the expected load over a long period of time
  • Volume testing – monitor overall system behavior when a large number of data is populated in the database
  • Scalability testing – determine software application effectiveness in scaling app to support an increase in user load
  • Spike testing – monitor software reaction to sudden large spikes in load generated by users
  • Stress testing – test the application for handling high traffic or data processing

What is the best performance grade for a website?

Depending on the tool you’re using, you should always aim for the highest possible score in order to achieve maximum performance. 

All tools have different evaluation criteria, so it’s impossible to tell you the exact number you should aim for as some use 0-100 scale, others A-F, etc.

How can you test a website’s performance?

Depending on your needs and type of performance, there are multiple tools you can use to test a website’s performance.

When it comes to the performance of the simple website you can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, Pingdom, Which Loads Faster, etc.

If you have an app going on your website you can use SmartMeter, WebLOAD, LoadNinja, SmartMeter, etc.

Basically, any of these tools will help you. You just have to figure out what you need help with!

Is Google PageSpeed Insights accurate?

Yes, in terms of website performance, Google PageSpeed Insights is considered an accurate performance testing tool. And this is especially true as it relates to user experience as it uses the Core Web Vitals metrics that are a confirmed Google ranking factor. 

Why is my website so slow?

There are multiple reasons why your website might be slow and some of them are

  • Bad (i.e. unreliable) hosting/webserver
  • Poor site development
  • Large, uncompressed images
  • No caching in place

We suggest using some of the tools mentioned above to identify true causes of bad website speed – GTMetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights will definitely help with pointing out problems and providing you with a detailed waterfall chart. 

If you’re looking to take complete control of your cloud infrastructure & ditch the busy work of managing servers – that’s exactly what we built RunCloud for. So that you can deploy with confidence, knowing your stack is constantly kept up-to-date, secure, and as fast as possible. 

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After Action Report — Start Using Performance Testing Tools

We’ve covered the very best performance testing tools there are — so now, the ball is in your court. It’s time to get started. We suggest focusing on a handful at a time because each of them assesses your site’s performance in different ways and therefore provides insights that require different types of work to be done (allowing different types of improvements to be made to your site’s performance and user experience).

What performance testing tools do you currently use? Join the conversation & let us know in the comments. 💬

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