Top 10 Best Load Testing Tools 2021

Load testing helps you determine how your system performs under different loads. It is essential to test software performance in realistic environments, identify underlying vulnerabilities, and ensure software quality. Without load testing, it’s difficult to mitigate the risks of your software crashing after the release.

Effective testing is all about choosing the best load testing tool, which is just right for you. Top performance testing tools help simulate virtual users and execute test scripts. As the software market is full of various options ranging from open-source to premium, it’s difficult to find the best load testing tool for your business. In this article, we will share our list of top software load testing tools and take a closer look at their pros and cons.

Table of Contents

1. Apache JMeter

Apache JMeter is simply one of the best free load testing tools for developers. It is the most popular tool, too, so we’re giving it the first place, and it is beyond dispute. It supports a 100% Java-scripted desktop application and tests functional performance of web applications, as well.

Since Apache JMeter is available in an open-source format, it is highly accessible to software businesses of all sizes. The testing tool is extremely versatile, despite being open-source. It is compatible with several web and networking protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, LDAP, SOAP, and TCP. Since the application has a Java-oriented system, it also offers compliance with JDBC and Message-oriented middleware (MOM) through JMS.

The option of using shell scripts and native commands for testing procedures makes it easier to implement.

Lastly, you can use JMeter to test applications for both dynamic and static resources. Therefore, users can utilize resources such as servers, logs, queries, scripts, and files during testing. At the same time, testers can also inspect applications under heavy load and evaluate their robustness and performance against different load types.

Pros

    • GUI Design and interface
    • Result analysis and caches
    • Highly extensible core
    • 100% Java-scripted
    • Easy-to-use plugin manager
    • Multithreading framework
    • Data analysis and visualization
    • Dynamic input

Cons

    • Doesn’t support JavaScript, so it doesn’t support AJAX requests by extension
    • After a certain limit, high memory consumption causes errors for a large number of users
    • Can be difficult to test complex applications using JavaScript or dynamic content such as CSRF tokens

Protocols

    • HTTP
    • HTTPS
    • XML
    • SOAP
    • Java-based protocols
    • FTP
    • JDBC
    • LDAP
    • POP3, IMAP, SMTP

Pricing

Free or Open Source

Best For

Apache JMeter is one of the best open-source load testing tools for businesses of all sizes. The tool gives its users various useful testing features for free and users can customize it according to their needs.

2. LoadRunner

Micro Focus LoadRunner, previously known as HP LoadRunner, is a highly sophisticated software load testing tool that detects performance issues in web applications. Nevertheless, it is not limited to testing web applications or services. It is also optimized for testing ERP software and legacy system applications, as well as Web 2.0 technologies.

Moreover, Load Runner is the tool to test old-fashioned proprietary protocols, so we believe that the second place in this list is nothing but fair for it.

LoadRunner enables software testers to have complete visibility over their system’s end-to-end performance. It is specialized in detecting bottlenecks before the application enters the implementation phase. Thus, users can evaluate each component individually before it goes live.

Similarly, LoadRunner is helpful when detecting performance gaps before implementation or an upgrade of a new system. At the same time, it provides users with highly advanced predictive features to forecast expenses for up-scaling application capacity. Due to accurate predictions of expenses related to hardware and software, it is easier to improve the capacity and scalability of your application.

Pros

    • Accurate detection of system, end-user, and code-level bottlenecks
    • Discovers root cause of application performance issues
    • Reduces cost of application downtime stemmed from performance issues
    • Allows performance testing of existing legacy applications with new technologies
    • Enables testers to test mobile applications
    • Reduces software and hardware costs by forecasting software capacity and scalability
    • Enables software teams to configure intelligent service-level agreements before their product goes live
    • Gives users shorter test cycles to expedite application delivery
    • Offers effective tool utilization tracking
    • Browser-based access to global test resources
    • Optimal usage of load generator farm

Cons

    • Extremely expensive (see our comparison article Jmeter vs Loadrunner)
    • Uses a lot of memory and crashes if the system cannot meet its computing requirements
    • May have compatibility issues
    • Usage license is based on the number of virtual users

Protocols

LoadRunner supports all kinds of protocols related to its services.

Pricing

Community Edition

Virtual user days

Volume Pricing

Get 50 virtual user licenses for life

Gives you the option to add more virtual users

Contact vendor for quotation

Free

Starts at $1.40 per virtual user day

Best For

Micro Focus LoadRunner is a highly sophisticated and versatile load testing tool optimized for testing various platforms. However, due to its price the tool is more suitable for medium- to large-sized organizations.

3. Boomq.io

Boomq.io is the new generation load testing tool which allows running complex tests in the cloud to anyone interested in load testing. You can be a marketer, product or project manager, developer or, naturally, a performance engineer: anyway, you will find boomq.io really useful.

We put it on the third place in the list, since it is super handy to compare the results of the tests, and trend reports help to localize the bottlenecks really quickly.

Boomq.io provides an easy-to-use instrument for marketing specialists. It allows import of load profile data from Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrika and other sources, retrieves statistical information and lets you run performance tests without any coding or other engineering. You don’t even need to know any programming languages.

Developers and performance engineers will find boomq.io handy for conducting performance tests in the cloud. They can use a full suite of testing tools, such as HAR/Insomnia import, request definition, parameterization and correlation running in the cloud as SaaS service. You can also manage and reuse tests, centralize the assets, compare the results between the tests, see trends across time and share results and reports. No need to worry about infrastructure deployment, though.

Product and project managers will find it easy to analyze the results of the recurring tests online using detailed web-accessible dashboards. 

Overall, boomq.io represents a new generation of performance testing products which allow users to easily create, plan, run and execute tests in the cloud using a simple and straightforward web interface.

Pros

    • Easy-to-use web portal for all your performance testing needs
    • Ability to define emulated user actions without coding
    • Easily build your profile based on statistics from Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrika, etc
    • Record your tests in any browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, via HAR import
    • Import your requests from functional testing tools, such as Insomnia or Postman
    • JMeter plugin to easily upload your work into cloud and support your existing workflows
    • Easily shareable test results through a web report
    • Detailed and visual test-to-test comparison
    • Easy to read SLAs immediately indicating the test status
    • Trending of the multiple test results, giving a high-level overview of the multiple SLAs over multiple test-runs
    • Ability to run the tests and receive results through a modern API, which could be easily called from your favorite CI/CD conveyor (GitHub. Gitlab, CircleCI etc) or any other system

Cons

    • At this point Boomq.io only supports HTTP(-s)-based protocols
    • If your test environment is not accessible over WAN, you will need to buy an Enterprise license of boomq.io to deploy it in your own environment

Protocols

    • HTTP
    • REST
    • SOAP

Pricing

Demo

Standard (monthly)

PRO (monthly)

Enterprise

1 concurrent test

1 concurrent test

Multiple

Ask vendor for

quotation

10 users max

200 users max

5000 users max per month


15 minutes max test duration

60 minutes max test duration

48 hours max test duration

5 test runs total

10 tests per month

1000 tests per month

Free

$50

$400


Boomq is a cloud-based subscription solution, so you only pay for what you use. A free license allows up to 5 test runs, while pricing for more tests starts at $50 per month. You save money, as there is no need to hire staff, and product operations are included into the subscription cost.

Best For

Are you testing a website, API or an app? Use load testing platform boomq.io to accelerate your testing cycles by a magnitude. If you don’t have any experience in performance testing, it’s all right: you don’t need it with boomq.io.

The rest of the tools are listed according to how frequently we use them in our testing experience. Since we provide load testing and performance testing services, you can trust us that the tools listed below do deserve your attention, too.

Have a project in mind?

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Drop us a line to find out what our team can do for you.

4. Gatling

If you are familiar with Scala, Gatling is a code-based open source load testing tool just right for you. It allows you to simulate thousands of requests and get a complete report of the execution, with just a few load generators. You can also embed continuous integration processes using Jenkins. For long term projects, consider using a Gradle, Maven or SBT Gatling project. 

After the testing is completed, you get an automated report, which is dynamic and colourful. All that is left is to analyze it.

Pros

    • At high loads, Gatling can be more productive than other free load testing tools, especially when testing websockets
    • Handy if you are developing on Scala
    • Official and unofficial plugins for testing Kafka, RabbitMQ, JDBC, etc.

Cons

    • Easier to create a script manually than to use an existing recorder
    • No distributed startup out of the box
    • If you have no experience with Scala, the entry threshold for full use of Gatling will be higher than for other load testing tools.

Protocols

    • HTTP(s)/1
    • JMS
    • SOAP
    • MQTT
    • HTTP/2
    • JDBC
    • WebSockets

Pricing

Demo for 5 days

Scout (monthly)

Scale (monthly)

Corporate (monthly)

No hosting

1 user account

10 user accounts

10+ user accounts

Duration: 1 hour

Duration: 24 hours

Duration: 24 hours+

Free

69

276

1380

Best For

Gatling was created to write tests in Scala, so for that purpose it would be just perfect.

5. K6

K6 is a modern open source load testing tool designed primarily for developers. Its main goal is to check site performance. The backend of the tool is written in the Go language, whilst the scripts themselves are in JavaScript. If your load testing budget  is not that big, but you still need to do the tests, your engineers can conduct load testing by themselves using K6. Afterall, simplified load testing is better than no load testing at all.

The tests are run in console mode, and test results are also output to the console by default, but plugins for displaying results as Kafka, Datadog, InfluxDB, JSON and StatsD are available.

K6 has not only an open source version, but also a dense cloud version with additional functionality and load scaling.

Pros

    • Integration with CI tools
    • Ability to create custom metrics
    • Developers will enjoy EaC

Cons

    • No possibility of distributed startup
    • Supports only testing of websites
    • Websocket connections sometimes get stuck
    • No support for the Go language
    • Aimed at developers

Protocols

    • ​​HTTP/1.1
    • HTTP/2
    • WebSockets
    • gRPC

Pricing

Demo

Developer (monthly)

Team (monthly)

Pro (monthly) 

Up to 50 load tests

1200 tests per year

2400 tests per year

2400 tests per year

200 virtual users

1000 virtual users 

5000 virtual users 

Free

$59

$339

$1199

Best For

Developers who are interested in testing and want to write high-performance code, as well as businesses that are unable, for the moment, to organize independent testing.

6. LoadNinja

LoadNinja is an easy-to-use load testing tool that allows users to create sophisticated load tests without any scripts. As a result, users can reduce their testing time by 50% and replace load emulators with real browsers.

The tool provides options for actionable browser-based metrics, which lets you evaluate the performance of your application. You can also debug in real-time, identify performance problems, and capture client-side interactions quickly.

LoadNinja also enables teams to enhance their test coverage without the need to compromise on software quality. It helps users minimize complex and time-consuming procedures, such as script translation, script scrubbing, and dynamic correlation. With the help of this testing tool, software testers don’t have to spend time creating test scripts and can focus on building scalable apps.

Pros

    • Hosted in the cloud
    • Real browser load test execution at scale
    • VU Debugger debugs tests in real time
    • VU Inspector manages virtual user activity in real time
    • Browser-based metrics with analytics and reporting features
    • Scriptless load test creation & playback

Cons

    • Completely relies on AJAX, which relies on JavaScript; so it doesn’t work if JavaScript is disabled or not supported
    • Dynamically displayed and loaded data is not a part of the application page
    • Asynchronous nature of AJAX causes latency issues
    • Expensive

Protocols

    • ​​HTTP
    • HTTPS
    • SAP GUI Web
    • WebSocket
    • Java-based protocol
    • Google Web Toolkit
    • Oracle forms

Pricing

Starter (Monthly)

Pro (Monthly)

Premium (Monthly)

Enterprise

100 users

1000 users

2500 users

Contact vendor for a quotation

8 load hours

8 load hours

8 load hours


$249

$779

$1,009


Best For

LoadNinja is an excellent software testing tool for web developers and software testers who want to implement scriptless testing procedures. However, the pricing plan makes it more suitable for medium- to large-sized businesses.

7. WebLOAD

WebLOAD is an enterprise load testing tool that allows its users to generate reliable, real-world load scenarios. It is a reliable tool that even works for complex systems and provides users with advanced features, such as performance insights or smart analytics. At the same time, the tool is based on a flexible platform that offers built-in support for several technologies, as well as integration with a number of tools ranging from performance monitoring to CI/CD pipelines.

Pros

    • Powerful correlation engine
    • Generates load on premises or in the cloud
    • Supports every major web technology
    • Automatic bottleneck detection
    • Flexible test scenario creation

Cons

    • Complex
    • Expensive
    • From time to time the record functionality has a race condition that causes lines to be recorded out of order

Protocols

    • ​​Native JavaScript scripting
    • HTTP
    • HTTPS
    • XML
    • Enterprise applications
    • Network Technology
    • Server Technologies

Pricing

    • ​​Free trial
    • Quote-based plan

Best For

WebLOAD is a comprehensive load testing tool that enables businesses of all sizes to test websites, applications, and enterprise-level applications.

8. BlazeMeter

BlazeMeter is a software testing vendor that provides performance and load testing services. The service hosts an innovative and comprehensive Continuous Testing Platform that enables enterprises to shift left. The web-based interface of the application is useful for creating static load tests and using JMeter scripts to execute dynamic load tests.

BlazeMeter is famous for fully utilizing the best open-source load testing tool – Apache JMeter. It provides various enterprise features to the free platform. In other words, users can gain access to many advanced features, such as application performance monitoring (APM), real-time reporting, distributed testing, and integration with developer tools for continuous integration (CI).

Pros

    • 100% Compatible with Apache JMeter
    • Create tests on any scale – up to 1 million concurrent users
    • Set up tests within minutes
    • Run scriptless tests or upload URL lists
    • Run tests from the cloud or on-premise
    • Run tests from multiple geo-locations
    • Simulate mobile testing from real devices
    • Facilitate team collaboration with script and report sharing
    • Multi-tool support
    • Integrations with leading CI and APM tools
    • Support and professional services
    • Real-time detailed reports on load test results
    • Set KPIs for tested app behavior
    • Desktop and mobile user experience monitoring

Cons

    • Very basic and shallow reporting
    • Expensive for user load volumes exceeding 1000 users

Protocols

    • ​​Same as for JMeter & Gatling (see above)

Pricing

Starter (Monthly)

Basic (Monthly)

Pro (Monthly)

Unleashed

50 concurrent users

1,000 concurrent users

5,000 concurrent users

Contact vendor for a quotation

10 tests

15 tests/month

6,500 virtual user hours/month


Free

$149

$649


Best For

BlazeMeter is an excellent load testing tool for organizations already using Apache JMeter. Regardless of the size of your business, you may find the tool useful.

9. NeoLoad

NeoLoad is a popular testing tool for web or mobile applications testing under heavy load. It is written in Java. NeoLoad has all the necessary functions to perform such tests and analyze the data obtained. By simulating a large number of vusers, NeoLoad allows you to analyze not only the response time of the system to incoming requests, but also to check the performance of the entire server infrastructure, including the databases and the web server.

The number of virtual clients in the load test, which is carried out using NeoLoad, can easily vary from 50 vusers (for free) to 100 thousand to half a million. 

NeoLoad’s cross-platform capabilities allow you to generate load on various platforms – Unix, Windows, Linux. 

Pros

    • Cloud integration, real-time monitoring, integration with real devices are supported not only on Android or iOS, but also on Windows Phone and Blackberry
    • Ergonomic interface reduces test execution time
    • Supports conversion of Selenium scripts
    • Performance monitors (CPU, memory, disk usage, etc.) are configured for your servers
    • Provides the ability to record any mobile application directly from any mobile device using proxy mode or DNS tunnel
    • HTTP traffic is recorded between the browser and the server

Cons

    • There is no DOM access page;
    • There are no means to create initial and final actions to record response time.

Protocols

    • HTTP/S
    • HTTP/2
    • Google Web Toolkit (GWT)
    • SOAP
    • WebSocket
    • RTMP
    • Microsoft Silverlight
    • Java Serialization
    • ‎Oracle Forms
    • Oracle Siebel

Pricing

Flexible: pay-as-you-grow policy.

Best For

If you need to load test an API or web app, NeoLoad can handle much of what you need.

10. Locust

Locust is an open-source framework written in Python. It’s easy-to-scale, since its architecture is event-driven. The code on GitHub is open, so the community is growing. 

Locust requires at least basic knowledge in the field of programming. Fortunately, the developers have prepared some very detailed documentation with a full description of the framework capabilities, as well as examples of code, tests, preparing Locust for a distributed load, launching via Docker, etc.

Pros

    • Detailed documentation that includes templates for quick application
    • Python support for your own implementations
    • Open source
    • Ability to run tests from any OS
    • Your own web server
    • Distributed load support
    • Built-in monitoring system
    • Not highly resource-consuming
    • No graphical interface, which can be useful if you are going to feed the load from a machine that does not provide access to GUI

Cons

    • Python programming skills required
    • Support only for the HTTP/HTTPS protocol out of the box
    • No built-in script recording capability

Protocols

HTTP/HTTPS protocol, but as the developers  assure, you can write your  own implementations relative to other protocols. They provide examples of tests for the XML-RPC and gRPC protocols.

Pricing

Free, open-source solution.

Best For

Primarily for those familiar with Python and in a hurry to conduct load testing for their service without having to deal with the specifics of testing on such complex tools as LoadRunner or JMeter. If there are protocols other than HTTP/HTTPS in your project or you are not familiar with Python, it is better to look towards other solutions for load testing.

Conclusion

When it comes to the best software load testing tool, there is no universal solution. If you want to find the best performance testing tool for your company, review each option closely and select the one that fits your needs the best.

Performance Lab is a software performance and load testing service dedicated to providing quality load testing to our clients. We have served over 500 companies across a wide variety of domains that range from finance and healthcare to retail and technology.

Using all our experience, we will make sure that your mobile application delivers the highest quality of service while outperforming its competitors.

Have a project in mind?

There is no better place for a QA solution than Performance Lab.
Drop us a line to find out what our team can do for you.

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