You may know it by many names: load testing, stress testing, or concurrent testing. these are all terms synonymous with performance testing and reliability testing. This type of testing is used to ensure that a program or system can handle the load that it is designed to. Fairly simple, right?
The Ins and Outs
Technically, if you are in the middle of a load test and your program or software isn't ready to handle the capacity you are feeding it, then it becomes a stress test. The terms are often confused because of the fact that the same test can shift back and forth between the two types. Load testing is all about simulating an almost complete program's ability to maintain itself. "Is it performing well?" "Is my software doing what is intended under these circumstances?" Those are the questions a load test will help you answer.
Load testing will help you identify the lag your system may have, issues loading pages, and whatever else you think might go wrong when your system is under a sudden traffic onslaught. This all helps you determine your QOS performance, or Quality of Service. It bases it on actual customer behavior, giving you that much needed closure before launching your software or program to the public.
Your Software is Your Baby
The causes of slow performance are vast in number. It could have something to do with your software or application servers. Your database servers could be the culprit. It could even be your network, caused by latency issues and congestion. Those are just a few of the things that a proper load testing service will take into account to get your program or software on track for its launch date.
There has been so much time and effort put into perfecting your masterpiece, don't let anything get in its way. Be fortunate and grateful. A mother houses a baby for nine months, with no way of testing how her child will work once it is out in the world. You have the option to make sure your "baby" is perfect.
Ideally, you'll find yourself using one of the more popular load testing tools. These include (but are not limited to) WebLOAD, LoadView (official site) LoadComplete, Apache JMeter, and LoadRunner (corporate site). Find the one that suits you and your software best and test away.