Chriselle Sy | 08 Aug, 2023

13 Best Performance Testing Tools in 2024 [Free + Paid]

In today’s digital landscape, rock-solid user experience (UX) has become paramount, making it essential to ensure optimal performance under various load conditions. But how can you achieve this? That’s where performance testing tools come in.

These software testing tools have become an essential aspect of modern software testing for assessing the performance, scalability, and reliability of software, applications, and websites.

With the right performance testing tool, organizations can measure response times, resource usage, throughput, and stability, while also proactively addressing issues before they impact end-users, whether that’s vulnerabilities, handling peak demand, or preventing slowdowns and downtime.

It’s no wonder that various tech professionals, including quality assurance engineers, system administrators, and IT operations departments, have come to depend on this type of software testing, whether they work in e-commerce, banking, healthcare, gaming, or many other business sectors.

As a rule of thumb, if high performance and scalability are critical for your business success, performance testing tools are essential for you!

That’s why we’ve researched the space to find the 13 best performance testing tools you need to use in 2024, including a range of free and paid options. Let’s dive in!

13 Best Performance Testing Tools in 2024

1. Load Ninja

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Key Information

Pricing: 14-day free trial, then plans starting at $105

Platforms: Cloud-based and platform independent

Features:

  • Create scriptless load tests and playback
  • Scalable and real browser load test execution
  • Debug tests in real-time with VU debugger
  • Manage virtual users in real-time with VU Inspector
  • Cloud-based
  • Analytics and reporting features

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • WebSocket
  • SAP GUI Web
  • Java-based protocol
  • Oracle forms
  • Google Web Toolkit

Pros:

  • Simulates browser sessions
  • Developers can check user sessions to diagnose performance bottlenecks without server logs
  • User-friendly UI
  • Creating test scripts is easy

Cons

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No 24/7 support

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Our research indicates that LoadNinja is one of the best web application performance testing tools currently on the market. It is a cloud-based tool requiring no local setup whatsoever, which means getting up and running is easier than ever.

Like many tools for stress testing, LoadNinja is flexible and scalable, relatively easy to use, and offers robust analytics, metrics, and reporting features.

2. Apache JMeter 

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Key Information

Pricing: Free

Platforms: Any system that can run Java Virtual Machine

Features:

  • Allows test results to be generated in multiple formats like HTML, CSV, XML, JSON, or PDF
  • Multiple load injectors supported, managed by single controller
  • Supports all Java-based apps
  • Highly portable

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • SOAP
  • FTP
  • JDBC
  • REST
  • TCP
  • LDAP
  • JMS

Pros:

  • Fast run times
  • Uses few resources
  • Highly customizable
  • Free and open source

Cons

  • Limited reporting options
  • Identifying bottlenecks can be a tedious process

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Apache JMeter is an open-source tool that’s widely regarded as one of the best around. Our findings show that it’s flexible, scalable, and has a massive active community around it. It also has good metrics, analytics, and reporting tools. And the best part is, it’s free!

If you’re new to JMeter, we highly recommend this top-rated JMeter course on Udemy.

3. Kinsta APM

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Key Information

Pricing: Free with your Kinsta managed WordPress plan starting at $35/month

Platforms: Websites running on Wordpress

Features:

  • Perfect for identifying bottlenecks on WordPress sites without the need for third-party monitoring services
  • Designed to capture timestamped information about a WordPress website
  • Only recommended for WordPress sites

Protocols:

  • Unspecified

Pros:

  • Customer online support team resolves all site issues with 24/7 availability and a 100% solve rate
  • Free for every website that Kinsta hosts
  • Available in 10 languages
  • An excellent performance testing tool for WordPress sites

Cons

  • Requires you to have your WordPress website hosted on Kinsta
  • Restrictions with storage, CDN and monthly visits

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Based on our observations, KinstaAPM offers comprehensive APM (application performance monitoring) capabilities in real-time. 

It’s simple, convenient, and makes testing WordPress sites much easier, putting it in contention for the best performance testing tool — at least for WordPress-based websites!

4. LoadView 

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Key Information

Pricing: Free tier, then plans starting at $129/month

Platforms: Cloud-based, any platform

Features:

  • Real managed cloud-based browser load testing
  • Test script creation requires no code
  • Mobile browser and device compatibility testing
  • Helps to ensure scalability by enabling testers to identify bottlenecks
  • Offers performance metrics along with reporting features

Protocols:

  • Silverlight
  • Flash
  • Java
  • PHP
  • HTML5
  • Ruby
  • SOAP
  • REST

Pros:

  • Real browser-based testing offers more accurate results
  • Easy to use
  • Good metrics/analytics and reporting features
  • Good user experience and onboarding process, 24/7 support
  • Has a free tier

Cons

  • Some complaints of it triggering fake visitor statistics, messing with website analytics
  • On the expensive side

Why we chose this performance testing tool

LoadView offers real browser-based testing, which can provide more accurate results than synthetic methods used for testing. Based on our tests, it’s easy to use, has fantastic analytics and reporting features, and offers an excellent user experience overall.

5. Silk Performer

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Key Information

Pricing:

  • Online or on-premise licensing
  • Unspecified, must contact Micro Focus

Platforms

Features:

  • End-to-end diagnostics
  • Rapid simulation test launching using real web browsers
  • Includes built-in workflow wizards
  • Enterprise-class tool supporting an incredibly wide range of protocols

Protocols:

  • HTTP(S)/HTML
  • HTTP/HTTPS
  • Email
  • Flash
  • FTP
  • LDAP
  • TCP/IP
  • SOAP
  • .NET
  • Full list

Pros:

  • Not resource-intensive
  • Efficient test creation and asset reusability
  • User-friendly
  • Analyzes test load

Cons

  • Easy to learn but difficult to master
  • Finding manuals and documentation can be challenging

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Silk Performer is a comprehensive testing tool offering end-to-end diagnostics. From our testing, we found that it supports a ton of protocols and offers realistic load simulation, making it a fantastic performance testing tool for web application testing. It’s also great for mobile and enterprise apps.

6. Stress Stimulus

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Key Information

Pricing: Free tier; custom pricing

Platforms: See system requirements

Features:

  • Targets scenarios that may be difficult to test using other tools
  • Proprietary autocorrelation helps to automatically correct playback errors
  • Supports three scripting languages
  • Result analyzer

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • AJAX
  • WCF and binary WCF
  • SOAP
  • XML over HTTP

Pros:

  • On-premise or cloud application
  • Flexible and scalable licensing
  • Manual scripting is available but not required
  • End-to-end testing
  • In active development; quick updates and great support

Cons

  • Higher learning curve

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Stress Stimulus is a top contender for best tool for performance testing, particularly if you’re looking for versatility. Our findings show that it supports three scripting languages, though manual scripting is not required for end-to-end testing.

7. K6

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Key Information

Pricing: Free trial, then plans starting at $89/month

Platforms: Windows, Linux, and macOS, or cloud-based

Features:

  • Open-source
  • Cloud-based
  • Uses JavaScript for test case scripting
  • Developer-friendly APIs
  • End-to-end web testing
  • Load testing, chaos testing, etc.
  • Integrates with many dev tools

Protocols:

  • HTTP/1.1
  • HTTP/2
  • WebSocket

Pros:

  • Open-source with developer-friendly APIs
  • Tons of compatible outputs
  • Fits well into a CI workflow
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Only supports JavaScript/TypeScript
  • Lacks customization options

Why we chose this performance testing tool

If you’re looking for a tool that’s used by huge companies like Amazon, Sephora, Citrix, Microsoft, GitLab, and more, then our research revealed that K6 is the performance testing tool for you.

Known for its simplicity and ease of use, K6 is easy to fit into existing CI workflows. It’s also flexible and scalable, offers realistic simulations, and has an active and growing community.

8. StormForge

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Key Information

Pricing: Free trial, then custom pricing

Platforms: Web

Features:

  • Enterprise-grade PTaS (Performance Testing as a Service)
  • Machine learning optimization combined with performance testing helps users to understand results and automatically identify which optimizations to make for better performance

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • WebSockets
  • WebDAV
  • SOAP
  • LDAP
  • MQTT
  • AMQP
  • Jabber/XMPP

Pros:

  • Quick load test creation - as fast as three minutes
  • Easily scale loads
  • Automated and repeatable load tests integrate well into CI/CD workflows
  • Cloud waste pledge

Cons

  • Pricing structure is not readily available and could be more transparent

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Our findings show that StormForge excels in simplifying the testing process. It’s unique in that it provides users with intelligent recommendations using machine learning and advanced algorithms. 

StormForge also captures and analyzes real traffic patterns to provide more realistic workload simulations.

9. Postman

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Key Information

Pricing: Free tier, then plans starting at $12/month

Platforms: Cloud-based

Features:

  • An API platform for building/using APIs
  • Simplifies and accelerates every step of API lifecycle, streamlining collaboration
  • Features various API tools, including for testing

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • REST
  • SOAP
  • GraphQL
  • WebSocket
  • MQTT
  • OAuth and OAuth 2.0

Pros:

  • User-friendly, low barrier to entry
  • More affordable compared to other tools
  • Allows users to build and run their tests directly within Postman or via the Collection Runner, Newman
  • Cloud-based

Cons

  • Some basic licensed features are locked behind a paywall

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Postman, which is not a performance test tool per se, offers API testing tools to help users run performance tests on their APIs. Based on our observations, it allows users to write integration tests, functional tests, and more using the Node.js-based runtime, which supports common libraries and patterns to speed up test creation.

10. Opkey

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Key Information

Pricing: Custom pricing

Platforms: Web-based, requires JDK ver. 8 and up installed on your system

Features:

  • A SaaS-based tool for test automation
  • Requires no code for automation script building
  • BDD (behavior-driven development) supported
  • For native and mobile (web-based) app testing
  • Supports various plugins
  • Supports a variety of performance testing types

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • WebSockets
  • SOAP
  • AMQP

Pros:

  • Offers seamless end-to-end automation
  • Has 700+ keywords, making it possible to automate tests with 0 coding
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Has pre-built integrations

Cons

  • A slight lack of documentation
  • Some complaints of support being hit or miss

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Opkey helps to automate the testing process while also providing seamless end-to-end automation without the need to write a single line of code. 

Based on our research, this performance tool allows reusability for test cases, significantly reducing the amount of time and work necessary in the testing process.

11. WebLoad

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Key Information

Pricing: Free trial, then custom pricing

Platforms: Cloud-based or Windows and Linux

Features:

  • End-to-end load testing
  • Simulate realistic user scenarios for testing
  • Rich dashboards help with analysis and metrics
  • Integrations available
  • WebLOAD Recorder provides parameterization, correlation, response validation, native JavaScripting, messaging, and debugging
  • On-premise or on the cloud

Protocols:

  • HTTP/S
  • HTTP/2
  • HTML5
  • SPA
  • AngularJS
  • XML
  • React
  • Flex/AMF
  • WebSockets
  • SOAP
  • View full list

Pros:

  • Create complex scenarios using real-world user patterns
  • Wide range of testing platforms, such as desktop and mobile
  • Easy and efficient 
  • Play and record functionality
  • Good reporting features

Cons

  • Designed primarily for web apps, may not be as effective in other contexts

Why we chose this performance testing tool

WebLoad offers robust testing capabilities via the cloud or on-premise. It allows users to create complex test scenarios using real-world patterns, making the tests more realistic overall.

Based on our analysis, it offers fantastic metrics and monitoring features, customization options, and scalability. WebLoad is used by massive companies like Intel, eBay, NASA, AVG, Citrix, and more.

12. Tricentis NeoLoad

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Key Information

Pricing: Free trial, then custom pricing

Platforms: Cloud-based or on-premise via Windows, macOS, or Linux

Features:

  • Protocol and browser-based testing
  • Drag-and-drop tool allows for codeless test creation
  • Has CI/CD integrations
  • Receive real-time results
  • Automatic script updating
  • Full list of features

Protocols:

  • SOAP
  • SAP
  • RTMP
  • HTML5
  • Full list available here

Pros:

  • Excellent reporting tools
  • Receive results in real-time
  • More affordable than some tools
  • Codeless test creation
  • Relatively easy to use and learn

Cons:

  • Somewhat resource-heavy, needs a fair amount of RAM

Why we chose this performance testing tool

Our research indicates that NeoLoad is a highly-recommended performance testing tool thanks to its robust feature set. It offers drag-and-drop codeless test creation and CI/CD integrations, making it a convenient tool to use overall.

You also get some great reporting tools, allowing you to receive real-time results. NeoLoad is also more affordable than other similar tools and is now available on-premise or as a cloud-based SaaS.

13. LoadRunner Professional

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Key Information

Pricing: Free trial, then custom pricing

Platforms: More information here

Features:

  • Reduce scripting time with its scripting/debugging engine
  • Autocorrelation engine for faster testing; IDE provided
  • Realistic user and business process emulation
  • Continuous testing
  • Built-in integrations

Protocols:

  • WebSockets
  • MQTT
  • RDP
  • HTML5
  • Citrix
  • .NET
  • Java
  • SAP
  • Oracle

Pros:

  • Record and replay features
  • Highly scalable
  • Supports majority of the industry-standard protocols
  • Great for enterprise-level testing

Cons

  • Can be costly
  • Vendor support could be better

Why we chose this performance testing tool

LoadRunner Professional is one of the best performance testing tools, especially for enterprise-level testing. This tool supports most industry-standard protocols, allowing for more versatility when it comes to testing.

Our findings also show that it allows for continuous testing and offers realistic user and business process emulation, which may allow for better test results overall. It’s also highly scalable, making it a great choice (if a bit costly) even for non-enterprise users.

How To Choose the Best Performance Testing Tools

When searching for the best performance testing tools, it's essential to consider several factors that align with your specific requirements and testing goals. To help us put this list together, we considered the following criteria:

  • Testing Objectives: We tried to identify tools that focused on load testing, stress testing, scalability testing, or a combination.
  • Testing Types and Protocols: We looked for tools for various systems, applications, or protocols that need to be tested.
  • Ease of Use: We evaluated the ease of use and the learning curve involved.
  • Scripting Capabilities: We looked for tools that support the most popular scripting languages.
  • Reporting and Analysis: We emphasized tools with strong reporting and analysis capabilities.
  • Community and Support: We assessed the tool's community and support resources, including active communities, forums, and user groups.
  • Cost and Licensing: We looked for a range of price points, including free and paid options with various licensing models.

Final Thoughts

Performance testing tools have become essential for assessing the reliability, scalability, and, naturally, the performance of software, applications, and websites. And with a greater emphasis than ever before on UX, optimal performance at all times is essential, even under extreme load conditions.

If you want to get ahead of any potential issues before they impact your users, whether that’s preventing slowdowns and downtime or fixing any vulnerabilities, you need to use the right performance tools.

To help you achieve and assure optimal performance, this article has covered the 13 best performance testing tools in 2024. This includes a range of free and paid tools for various testing scenarios, so whatever you want to achieve, there’s something for you on our list.

Want to level up your software testing skills? Check out:

The Best Software Testing Tutorials

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is a Performance Testing Tool?

Tools used for performance testing are software applications that help measure and evaluate the performance and scalability of a system or application under specific simulated conditions. By using these tools, testers can optimize and fine-tune the system and help ensure its stability even under unexpected loads.

2. Which Are the Best Performance Testing Tools?

With so many tools for performance testing available, it’s challenging to select just a few as the best. This is especially true given how testing requirements change on a case-to-case basis. However, the tools listed above include some of the best tools for performance testing available in 2024.

3. Why Is Performance Testing Important?

Performance testing is a vital part of the development process because it helps to ensure that apps, websites, or systems meet the required performance standards while still being able to handle unexpected user loads. Testing helps in identifying performance bottlenecks for later optimization, thus also helping to enhance user experience.

4. What Are the Different Types of Performance Testing?

Some of the main types of performance testing include load testing, stress testing, soak testing, spike testing, endurance testing, and scalability testing.

5. Which Factors Should You Consider While Selecting a Performance Testing Tool?

At the very least, you should consider your testing requirements, ease of use, flexibility and scalability, analytics and reporting features, compatibility and integration, and cost and licensing. We’ve factored the same criteria into our selections above.

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By Chriselle Sy

Chriselle is a passionate writer and graphic designer who graduated with a BFA in Information Design. She's passionate about tech and loves learning new things everyday.

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