A test of a computer system and its applications by running under a full complement (full load) of transactions or users. A load test can be real or simulated by testing software. Most commonly collects various performance related measurements based on tests that model varying loads and activities that the application is expected to encounter when delivered to real users. Often focuses on ?how much? can the application handle.
Any testing designed to understand the effects of subjecting the product to various loads.
Verifies the acceptability of the target-of-test's performance behavior under varying operational conditions (such as number of users, number of transactions, etc.) while the configuration remains constant.
Measuring a system's performance and resource utilization under load (usually heavy load).
Load Tests constitute what are considered to be expected real-world loads, from best-case to worst-case. Heavy load scenarios test a system at and beyond the worse expected demand.
A load test is a replication of the real-life use of a Web application, performed in order to assess how the application will work under actual conditions of use. The test is performed under expected conditions, most often prior to application deployment. It should measure the stability, responsiveness, and throughput of the application. To guarantee a realistic simulation of the workload created by real users, the test environment must be as close to the actual environment as possible. A good load test should generate the different types of traffic expected, in the volumes expected, using actual computer hardware and software.
From "Load Testing for eConfidence" by Segue∞