hey for load testing http applications

short

hey is a HTTP load tester CLI tool to benchmark HTTP requests to a HTTP end-point. Get it at GitHub


Today we will be taking a look at a small utility called hey. You can use hey to load test HTTP applications or generate load for a web application. This comes in handy when you want to simulate use or check what your app does when it receives 1000s of requests.

Warning: Using a load test on website that you do not own or have permission to test can result in you being banned or blocked

Installation

Installation on macOS with brew is really easy, just run:

brew install hey

For other installation options, check out: Hey Installation

Usage

So, we are going to run this against a local docker container, just to be sure that we don’t mess with anyone’s website.

Setting up a container

This is pretty straight forward. Start Docker and run the following command to start it in the background:

$ docker run --name webserver -p 8080:80 -d nginx

To make sure it’s running we can check using the docker ps command:

$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE     COMMAND                  CREATED         STATUS         PORTS                                   NAMES
c2c829348c89   nginx     "/docker-entrypoint.…"   3 seconds ago   Up 3 seconds   0.0.0.0:8080->80/tcp, :::8080->80/tcp   webserver

Now you can also start a tail on the container to see your load test in action:

docker logs -f webserver

Example output:

172.17.0.1 - - [25/Oct/2022:15:12:18 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 615 "-" "hey/0.0.1" "-"
172.17.0.1 - - [25/Oct/2022:15:12:18 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 615 "-" "hey/0.0.1" "-"
172.17.0.1 - - [25/Oct/2022:15:12:18 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 615 "-" "hey/0.0.1" "-"

Using hey

So let’s get testing. hey supports some great arguments like -n (number) the amount of requests to send, -c (concurrently) for the number of workers to run concurrently and -z (Duration) to perform a test over x time. All options can be found on Hey Usage

Examples

I’ll be showing some common usages

Example 1: One hundred (100) requests

Let’s fire up some requests. First up, 100 request using 5 concurrent workers:

$ hey -n 100 -c 5 http://localhost:8080

Results:

Summary:
  Total:	0.0448 secs
  Slowest:	0.0089 secs
  Fastest:	0.0010 secs
  Average:	0.0022 secs
  Requests/sec:	2231.3041

  Total data:	61500 bytes
  Size/request:	615 bytes

Response time histogram:
  0.001 [1]	|■
  0.002 [34]	|■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
  0.003 [60]	|■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
  0.003 [0]	|
  0.004 [0]	|
  0.005 [0]	|
  0.006 [0]	|
  0.007 [0]	|
  0.007 [0]	|
  0.008 [0]	|
  0.009 [5]	|■■■


Latency distribution:
  10% in 0.0016 secs
  25% in 0.0017 secs
  50% in 0.0019 secs
  75% in 0.0021 secs
  90% in 0.0022 secs
  95% in 0.0087 secs
  99% in 0.0089 secs

Details (average, fastest, slowest):
  DNS+dialup:	0.0002 secs, 0.0010 secs, 0.0089 secs
  DNS-lookup:	0.0002 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0041 secs
  req write:	0.0000 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0002 secs
  resp wait:	0.0019 secs, 0.0009 secs, 0.0038 secs
  resp read:	0.0000 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0002 secs

Status code distribution:
  [200]	100 responses

Example 2: Five (5) requests with csv output

Dump the results to csv output:

$ hey -n 1 -c 1 -o csv http://localhost:8080

Result:

response-time,DNS+dialup,DNS,Request-write,Response-delay,Response-read,status-code,offset
0.0087,0.0047,0.0042,0.0001,0.0019,0.0001,200,0.0016

Example 3: Thirty (30) seconds of requests

Now we are going to use the duration (-z) option:

$ hey -z 30s http://localhost:8080

Results:

Summary:
  Total:	30.0082 secs
  Slowest:	0.1231 secs
  Fastest:	0.0010 secs
  Average:	0.0070 secs
  Requests/sec:	7096.5514

  Total data:	130967325 bytes
  Size/request:	615 bytes

Response time histogram:
  0.001 [1]	|
  0.013 [199692]	|■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■
  0.025 [12165]	|■■
  0.038 [868]	|
  0.050 [159]	|
  0.062 [47]	|
  0.074 [11]	|
  0.086 [9]	|
  0.099 [1]	|
  0.111 [1]	|
  0.123 [1]	|


Latency distribution:
  10% in 0.0035 secs
  25% in 0.0045 secs
  50% in 0.0061 secs
  75% in 0.0085 secs
  90% in 0.0115 secs
  95% in 0.0140 secs
  99% in 0.0212 secs

Details (average, fastest, slowest):
  DNS+dialup:	0.0000 secs, 0.0010 secs, 0.1231 secs
  DNS-lookup:	0.0000 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0069 secs
  req write:	0.0000 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0025 secs
  resp wait:	0.0069 secs, 0.0009 secs, 0.1230 secs
  resp read:	0.0001 secs, 0.0000 secs, 0.0431 secs

Status code distribution:
  [200]	212955 responses

Limiting requests

Now, as you can see, we just fired off 212955 requests. That might be a bit of overkill. To prevent this, we can use the -q (Rate limit) and -c option. We will perform a load test of 5 seconds and use -c to limit ourselves to 2 workers, and we will set a limit of 5 request per second per worker:

$ hey -z 5s -c 2 -q 5 http://localhost:8080

This results in 50 requests being made:

...

Status code distribution:
  [200]	50 responses

Wrapping up

So that’s hey. A super simple HTTP load tester. You can use hey to do some advanced things like posting code, testing authentication and other things. Take a look at the readme


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