Tools for Load-Testing and Benchmarking Web Servers

A wide range of packages is available for load-testing and benchmarking. In addition to, which is focused, free, and complete with source, there are benchmarking-oriented software packages such as SPECweb96 and WebBench, which are available for free at the URLs listed below.

Moving up the price scale are load-testing tools from commercial software vendors. At $129, the least expensive is Portent from This package is written in 100-percent Java. At a midrange in price is PerformanceStudio from Rational, which starts at $10,000. At the high end of the spectrum is SilkPerformer from Segue Software, which starts at $50,000.

What do you get for your money? High-end packages claim greater scalability, letting you simulate 10,000 users generating tens of millions of hits per day. Test results are kept in a repository that allows analysis of data over a period of time. Repository results are integrated with realtime monitoring of the live system and presented in an integrated graphical user interface. Often there's support for protocols such as HTTPS and SSL, as well as FTP and SMTP. There's also support for analyzing processing that occurs further down the pipeline from the point of entry into the site, by analyzing protocols such as IIOP and ODBC. -Editors Portent

Mercury Interactive Astra SiteTest

Platinum Final Exam WebLoad

RadView WebLoad

Rational PerformanceStudio7.1

Segue Software SilkPerformer

SPECweb96 benchmark

ZD WebBench 2.0