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Jmeter vs Loadrunner: Which App Is Better for Performance and Load Testing

Feb 21, 2020
10 min read

Performance testing is necessary for evaluating the response time, scalability, reliability, speed, and resource usage applications and web services under their expected workloads. The software market currently has various performance testing tools.

Nevertheless, when we speak of performance testing tools, Apache Jmeter and Micro Focus LoadRunner (former HP LoadRunner) are the two names that automatically come to mind. Both these tools work well for detecting bugs and finding limitations of software applications by increasing their load. But in this article we also would like to tell about our in-house tool PFLB Platform.

A smart way to discover which tool is suited for your business needs is to compare the key features of Jmeter vs Loadrunner vsPFLB Platform. In this article, we discuss the key differences between Jmeter, Loadrunner andPFLB Platform.

What is Jmeter?

Apache Jmeter is easily one of the most used performance testing tools for developers which can help you perform web service testing. It is available in open-source format, which makes it highly accessible to software businesses of all sizes. Furthermore, the performance testing tool supports a 100% Java scripted desktop application and also tests the functional performance of web applications.

What makes this Jmeter unique is that it’s extremely versatile despite being open-source. The tool is compatible with a number of protocols 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.

At the same time, Jmeter is compatible with email protocols such as IMAP(Server), POP3(Server), and SMTP(Server). These protocols help you reinforce security standards in used email transfer within your application. The option of using shell scripts and native commands during testing procedures makes it easier to implement during testing procedures.

Moreover, Jmeter offers software testers the opportunity to test their applications for both dynamic and static resources, such as queries, servers, logs, scripts, and files. Similarly, testers can also inspect applications heavy load applications and evaluate their robustness and performance against varying load types.

In terms of user interface
Apache Jmeter beats many software testing tools. The application offers users an intuitive and fast GUI supported by sophisticated multithreading capabilities.

Lastly, Jmeter is also highly extensible and therefore, compatible with a number of third-party integrations and plug-ins. These plug-ins and third-party tools provide you with additional software testing features. Ultimately, the robust nature of Jmeter makes performance testing extremely easy across several servers, testing platforms, and browsers.

Jmeter Features in Performance and Load Testing

Apache Jmeter has the following key features.

  • GUI Design and Interface
  • Result Analysis and Caches
  • Highly Extensible Core
  • 100% Java scripted
  • Pluggable Samplers
  • Multithreading Framework
  • Data Analysis and Visualization
  • Dynamic Input
  • Compatible with HTTP, HTTPS, SOAP / REST, FTP, Database via JDBC, LDAP, Message-oriented middleware (MOM), POP3, IMAP, and SMTP
  • Scriptable Samplers (JSR223-compatible languages, BSF-compatible languages, and BeanShell)

Pros and Cons of Jmeter Application

Jmeter is a robust performance testing tool with several amazing features. However, the application still has many pros, as well as cons.

Jmeter advantages

Here are some key advantages that stand out the most.

  • Available free of charge
  • Data extraction in popular response formats, such as JSON, XML, HTML, etc
  • Command-line interface for high-level configuration
  • Test recording for native applications and browsers
  • Easily integrated with plug-ins and third-party tools
  • Readily available plug-ins for visualization and data analysis
  • Specialized for Java
  • Easy to install
  • Highly extensible
  • Highly portable
  • Unlimited load generation capacity
  • Excellent support community

Jmeter disadvantages

Although the Apache Jmeter has several benefits, it also has a few shortcomings, which are mentioned below:

  • Doesn’t support JavaScript so it doesn’t support AJAX requests by extension
  • Memory consumption for the application can be high when used in GUI mode
  • 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
  • Less proficient than paid performance testing tools such as Loadrunner

When Do You Need to Use Jmeter?

Web applications are designed and developed on a mass scale all-around the world. With so many options available, users only go for software applications that give them the best results. Therefore, your web application has to be optimized for maximum performance in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Apache Jmeter is the perfect performance testing tool for web application testing. It offers users various capabilities for performance testing and integration. Therefore, you cannot only evaluate the functional capabilities of web services and apps, but also measure load strength and compatibility across several platforms.

Furthermore, software testers have the option to transfer testing tools for various servers and browsers. At the same time, Apache Jmeter offers robust features for running tailored tests on protocols such as HTTPS and HTTP for web, SOAP, POP3, JMS, and SMTP.  As a result, you can ensure that your web applications are high-performing and error- free.

At the same time, since the tool is available in an open-source framework, users of the tool can easily customize and develop features within the existing framework. This feature also gives software teams the freedom to create their structural test designs and infrastructure for web applications. The open-source framework also encourages developers to create an inclusive community of users.

Jmeter integrations

Apache Jmeter currently has the following integrations:

  • BlazeMeter
  • Maven
  • Visual Studio
  • Dynatrace
  • JSUnit
  • CloudGen
  • Jenkins
  • Meliora TestLab

What is LoadRunner?

HP Loadrunner (now Micro-Focus Loadrunner) is a highly sophisticated software performance testing tool that detects and prevents performance issues in web applications. It specializes in detecting bottlenecks before the application enters the implementation or the deployment phase. Similarly, the tool is extremely helpful in detecting performance gaps in before a new system is implemented or upgraded.

However, Loadrunner is not limited to testing web applications or services. The application is also optimized for testing ERP software, legacy system application, as well as Web 2.0 technologies.

LoadRunner Cloud on AWS is a great scalable cloud-based load testing service for the fast-moving agile teams.

Loadrunner enables software testers to have complete visibility over their system’s end-to-end performance. As a result, these users are able to evaluate each component individually before it goes live.

At the same time, Loadrunner also gives its users highly advanced forecasting features for forecasting expenses for up-scaling application capacity. By precisely forecasting expenses related to both software and hardware, it is easier to enhance the capacity and scalability of your application.

Loadrunner is not open source, and is owned the technology giant Hewlett Packard. Therefore, the code of the application is not available to users. However, since the application already offers many advanced and high-level testing features, it isn’t necessary to customize existing features.

Loadrunner Features in Performance and Load Testing

LoadRunner has the following key features:

  • Interactive User Transaction Simulation
  • Supports a Wide Range of Apps
  • Mobile Testing
  • Cloud Testing
  • Continuous Testing
  • Root Cause Analytics
  • Accurate Scalability Expense Prediction
  • Refined user interface
  • Enables users to test a variety of applications including mobile, .NET, Java, SOAP, Flex, HTML 5, ERP, legacy, GWT, Silverlight, Ajax, and Citrix

Pros and Cons of Loadrunner Application

Loadrunner is an advanced performance testing tool. However, like any product, the tool has both pros and cons.

Loadrunner advantages

Here are some key advantages that stand out the most.

  • Accurate detection of system, end user, and code-level bottlenecks
  • Determines root cause of application performance issues
  • Minimizes cost of application downtime stemmed from performance issues
  • Allows performance testing of existing legacy applications with new technologies
  • Enables testers to test for mobile applications
  • Minimizes software and hardware costs by forecasting software capacity and scalability
  • Enables software teams develop 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

Loadrunner disadvantages

Although LoadRunner is highly advanced and has several benefits, it also has a few shortcomings:

  • Debugging capability needs improvement
  • Extremely expensive
  • Uses a lot of memory and crashes if the system cannot meet its computing requirements
  • May have compatibility issues
  • Needs improvement in dump analysis and the subsequent results forwarding
  • Usage license based on the number of virtual users
  • Limited load generation capacity

When Do You Need to Use Loadrunner?

Loadrunner is unique because it gives users an accurate and wholesome image of an application’s end-to-end performance. As a result, users are able to detect and resolve performance bottlenecks immediately.

You can use the performance testing tool to emulate thousands of users simultaneously. As a result, your team can simulate real-life user loads on your application and prepare it for the live environment.

During testing, Loadrunner will collect data from key infrastructure components such as database servers and web servers. After the collection of data, the application analyzes the collected data in detail and gives useful insight behind why the application is misbehaving in a particular way. Therefore, users can easily identify the root causes of defects in the application.

At the same time, Loadrunner is highly versatile and supports a large number of applications. Therefore, developers can test a variety of applications, including mobile, .NET, Java, SOAP, Flex, HTML 5, ERP, legacy, GWT, Silverlight, Ajax, and Citrix.

Furthermore, Loadrunner gives developers and testers extensive options for testing mobile applications. Using the performance tool, you can evaluate the performance of your mobile app in terms of device level, backend and network

Since Loadrunner also offers users features for cloud-based testing, you can perform quick, robust, and realistic load testing, from several geographic locations. You can also try to vary the website load and replicate the requirements of business applications with the help of the cloud.

LoadRunner integrations

  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • SiteScope
  • Selenium
  • HP Diagnostics
  • DynaTrace
  • AppDynamics
  • Jenkings
  • UFT

What is PFLB Platform?

PFLB Platform is the new generation product which allows running tests in the cloud to all audiences interested in load testing. You can be a marketer, product or project manager, developer or unsurprisingly performance engineer and you would be able to use PFLB Platform to achieve your goals.

For marketers PFLB Platform provides an easy-to-use instrument which integrates with Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrika to retrieve statistical information and run performance tests without any coding or other engineering.

Developers and performance engineers will find PFLB Platform handy for conducting performance tests in the cloud. They can have a full suite of testing tools, such as HAR/Insomnia import, request definition, parameterization and correlation running in the cloud as SaaS service without need to worry about infrastructure deployment etc.

Product and project managers will be happy to analyse the results of the recurring tests online using grafana dashboards. 

Overall, PFLB Platform represents a new generation of the performance testing products which allows to easily create, plan, run and execute tests in the cloud, using a simple and straightforward WEB interface.

PFLB Platform Features in Performance and Load Testing

Test profile creation

One of the most complicated steps in performance testing is to create a realistic load profile. PFLB Platform helps to solve this problem by importing statistical information from Google Analytics, Yandex.Metrika and other statisticals systems. That allows to reduce tedious hours of work in Excel to a few clicks and generate a very realistic profile.

Test editor

Nevertheless, once the profile is created users, especially technical ones, might want to adjust requests which are being sent to the system. PFLB Platform provides easy-to-use test editor which allow to create and edit all kinds of HTTP(-S) requests, including body, headers and parameters. 


Those requests could be parameterized with variables defined as multi-value CSV parameters or single-value global constants.


Sometimes parameter values described above need to be extracted from the responses. PFLB Platform allows to do so with regex, jasonPath and boundary conditions

Recording and imports

To simplify test creation you can record and import multiple requests using built in Chrome functionality (exporting requests to HAR) or import Insomnia package.

Pros and Cons of PFLB Platform Application

PFLB Platform is the next generation of performance testing products, trumping JMeter and Loadrunner in all aspects. 

PFLB Platform advantages:

  • Web interface
  • Ease of use
  • Integration with Google Analytics and Yandex Metrika
  • Import of HAR and Insomnia
  • Cloud deployment

PFLB Platform disadvantages:

  • Currently PFLB Platform supports performance testing of HTTP(-s) applications such as websites, API and apps
  • PFLB Platform doesn’t have a thick desktop client but this is resolved with export to JMeter standard JMX

When Do You Need to Use PFLB Platform?

Are you testing website, API or app ? Use PFLB Platform and accelerate your testing cycles by a magnitude. Don’t have experience in performance testing – you don’t need any with PFLB Platform. 

If you are testing some proprietary not web-based systems else stick with loadrunner or jmeter.

PFLB Platform integrations

  • Grafana
  • AWS Cloud Development Kit
  • GitLab ci/cd
  • Google Analytics
  • Yandex Metrika
  • InfluxDB
  • Stripe.com
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LoadRunner, Apache Jmeter and PFLB Platform are excellent performance testing tools depending on your testing needs. 

If you are looking for tool that gives you in-depth bottleneck detection and root-cause analysis as well as other advanced testing features, then you should consider Loadrunner.

With that said, for most software teams, Apache Jmeter is a reasonable option that gives them all essential performance testing features without charging them a single penny. The open-source platform has tremendous potential for customization and can help you tailor the performance testing tool to your needs.

And if you want to conduct performance tests in the cloud and with popular marketing metrics integration you could use new generation product PFLB Platform.

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