Spike Testing For Beginners

Spike Testing is a performance testing type used to test applications with extreme increments and decrements in load. Spike testing’s main aim is to evaluate the behavior of applications under sudden increments or decrements in user load and determine recovery time after a spike of user load. It is performed to estimate the weaknesses of applications.

Step to initiate Spike Testing

  • Firstly determine the max user load capacity of your  application
  • Now prepare the environment for testing and configure it to record performance parameters.
  • Apply expected load to your application using a performance tool of your choice
  • Swiftly increase in load to the system for a set period.
  • Slowly reduce the load back to its original level.
  • Analyze the performance graphs. 


  • The ability for developers to avoid the breaking of an application when user loads unexpectedly rise beyond maximum levels.
  • It determines the consequences related to unexpected spikes in end-users.
  • Discover how much an application can perform past its intended load.


  • The requirement for a specific, independent testing environment.
  • The high cost of money, resources, and time.

Example Spike Test Scenarios

  • If an eCommerce shop offers exclusive sales, such as on Black Friday, with great discounts. 
  • A favourite TV show is streamed while a web application is live. 
  • If a flash sale goes on the web of a regular auction. 
  • If the website’s unique material goes viral over the Internet. 
  • For development, a new system is launched and many users choose to use the system. 
  • A power outage can cause a device to lose access to all users. Both users then log back into the server concurrently after the outage problem has been fixed.

Recovery Scenarios on Spike Loads

  • Use cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure to increase server capacity in tandem with the user load.
  • Do not allow access to some users so that system does not face a heavy load. Thus protects the design from the threat of an excessive burden.
  • However, the site admin allows users to join the system to warn that they may face a slow response because of heavy load. This may result in an adverse effect on system performance. The user will be able to work with the system.

Best Spike Testing Tools

Apache JMeter

JMeter is an automation testing tool which performs load test, functional test, regression test, on different technologies. It supports various types of applications, protocols, and servers like  SOAP, TCP, FTP. SOAP, LDAP MOM, shell scripts, Mail Protocols, Java objects, database.

spike testing


  • It is open-source software.
  • Interactive and straightforward GUI.
  • It is highly protractile.
  • The test plans are stored in XML format.
  • It is platform-independent.
  • Best API automation tool.


It is free to use.


Loadrunner is a  solution for Performance Testing by Hewlett-Packard (HP). It is one of the best-automated tools for Performance Testing and has occupied almost 50 percent of the market share. Loadrunner simulates hundreds of virtual users into your application, monitor different performance metrics, and isolate another client and server bottlenecks.

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  • Cloud Testing.
  • Root Cause Analytics.
  • Supports a Wide Range of Apps.
  • Continuous Testing.
  • Mobile Testing.
  • Interactive User Transaction Simulation.


  • VIRTUAL USER DAYS-$0.56/virtual user day
  • ENTERPRISE EDITION-Contact vendor


What is the main aim of spike testing?

The main goal of spike testing is to see whether the system responds to the unexpected rise and fall of the user load. Spike testing helps you to determine system performance when there is a sudden high load. Another goal is to determine the recovery time. Between two successive spikes of load, the system needs time to stabilize. The recovery time must be as low as possible.

What are the examples of spike testing scenarios?

An eCommerce store, launching special deals with great discounts such as on Black Friday.
A web application is live-streaming a favorite TV program.
When several contents of a site go viral over the Internet.
A new system is released, and multiple users want to access the system.

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