Synthetic testing

Simulate critical paths in your website and monitor the performance

What is Synthetic testing?

Synthetic Testing is a method used to measure critical website paths such as "Add to cart", "Sign up", "Forgot password" and more complex paths in your website or web application. Using our no-code builder you can easily set up the steps of the test. Once set up, you get continuous testing of your paths, both if they work or not, but also how they perform over time.

Test my website
Test overview

How does synthetic testing work?

Synthetic testing works like a pretend test for a website. We create computer programs or bots that act like someone visiting the website and see how it performs.

Imagine the website is a playground, and the synthetic tests are like friendly robot kids playing on the swings and slides. These robot kids follow specific instructions, like clicking on links, loading pages, and waiting for things to load, just like real people would.

Here's how synthetic testing works step by step:

  • Creating the Robot Kids: We program the friendly robot kids, which are like computer programs, to visit the website. Each robot kid has its own set of instructions to follow.
  • Giving Instructions: We tell the robot kids what to do, like which pages to visit and what buttons to click. We can even make them act like they are using different devices, like smartphones or computers.
  • Testing from Different Places: We can send the robot kids to visit the website from different locations around the world. This helps us see how the website performs for audiences in different countries or regions.
  • Watching the Robot Kids Play: The robot kids start visiting the website and doing what we told them to do. They record how fast things load, if any errors happen, and other important information.
  • Getting Results: After the robot kids finish playing on the website, they come back with a report. This report tells us how well the website did during their visit, like how quickly the pages loaded or if there were any problems.
  • Making Improvements: If the robot kids find any issues or areas for improvement, we can use this information to fix the website. It's like getting tips on how to make the playground even better for real kids!

12 reasons why synthetic testing is important

  1. Early Detection of Issues: Synthetic tests can identify performance issues, errors, or downtime before anyone encounters them. By catching problems early, website owners can address them proactively, preventing negative impacts on browsing experience.
  2. Consistency and Reliability: Synthetic testing provides consistent and repeatable results since the tests are carried out in a controlled environment. This allows for accurate comparisons and tracking of website performance over time.
  3. Global Performance Evaluation: By running tests from various locations around the world, synthetic testing provides insights into how a website performs in different regions. This helps optimize content delivery and ensure a positive browsing experience from various countries.
  4. Device-specific Optimization: Synthetic tests can be conducted using different devices and browsers, allowing website owners to optimize their site for specific platforms and ensure a seamless experience across various devices.
  5. Data-driven Decision Making: Synthetic testing generates objective data and performance metrics that guide website owners and developers in making informed decisions about optimizations and improvements.
  6. Validation of Performance Enhancements: After implementing optimizations, synthetic tests can validate whether the changes had the desired positive impact on website performance.
  7. Competitor Analysis: Synthetic testing allows businesses to compare their website's performance against that of their competitors. This helps identify areas for improvement and benchmark their site's performance in the industry.
  8. Cost-effective Testing: Synthetic testing provides a cost-effective way to continuously monitor website performance without relying solely on real-world traffic, which can be resource-intensive.
  9. Crisis Management: Synthetic tests can help detect sudden issues or outages, enabling swift responses to minimize downtime.
  10. A/B Testing and Feature Rollouts: Synthetic testing can validate the effectiveness of A/B tests or new feature rollouts with controlled and repeatable scenarios.

Want to take PageVitals for a spin?

Page speed monitoring and alerting for your website. Get daily Lighthouse reports for all your pages. No installation needed.

Start my free trial

Challenges and benefits of synthetic testing

Challenges of synthetic testingBenefits of synthetic testing
1. Artificial Environment: Results may not exactly reflect real-world experiences, as synthetic tests simulate visits.1. Controlled Testing: Synthetic tests provide consistent and repeatable results, allowing for accurate comparisons and analysis.
2. Limited Real World Insights: Synthetic tests cannot capture the nuances of human interactions, emotions, or feedback.2. Proactive Issue Detection: Synthetic testing helps identify performance issues and errors before there are encountered, minimizing frustration.
3. Dynamic Content Challenges: Websites with dynamic content (e.g., personalized elements) might be difficult to accurately simulate in synthetic tests.3. Comprehensive Analysis: Synthetic testing evaluates various aspects of website performance, from load times to processing delays, providing a holistic view.
4. Cost and Resource Intensive: Running synthetic tests from multiple locations and devices can be resource-intensive and may incur costs.4. Cost-effective Testing: Synthetic testing reduces the reliance on expensive usability studies for testing, making it a cost-effective solution for continuous monitoring.
5. Difficulty in Mimicking Diversity: Synthetic tests may not fully represent the diverse audience, leading to potential blind spots.5. Geographical and Device-specific Insights: Synthetic testing can simulate different visitor profiles, devices, and locations, offering valuable insights into various browsing experiences.
6. Limited Real Network Conditions: Synthetic tests use predefined network conditions, which may not fully represent the complexity of real-world networks.6. Load Handling Assessment: Synthetic testing allows businesses to evaluate how their website performs under various loads and stress scenarios.
7. Difficulty in Testing All Scenarios: It may be challenging to cover all possible scenarios and interactions in synthetic tests.7. Early Issue Identification: Synthetic testing helps identify performance bottlenecks and errors, enabling timely improvements and crisis management.
8. Dynamic Web Technology Challenges: Websites using complex technologies (e.g., Single Page Applications) might pose challenges in synthetic testing.8. Multifaceted Insights: Synthetic testing includes different types of tests (e.g., accessibility, SEO, transaction testing), providing a multifaceted view of website performance.
9. Risk of Misinterpreting Results: Without proper context, interpreting synthetic test results might lead to incorrect conclusions.9. Data-driven Optimization: Synthetic testing results, when analyzed with context, help make informed decisions and prioritize optimization efforts.