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Why Scalability Matters for Your App

Building an app is an extensive process. From a fresh idea to a marketable product, the journey is filled with ups and downs. So, when you (hopefully) build that successful app, the last thing you want is for it to hit a dead end.

However, that’s, unfortunately, the way it usually goes. You might think that accelerated growth is totally positive, as users are downloading your app at a record rate. But, an app that isn’t designed and developed to seamlessly handle this explosive growth will eventually end up being a failure.

Consider this: is your app, as it stands today, able to scale up to exponential growth? If you have any doubts, you need to seriously consider this scalability issue.

What is app scalability?

Scalability is the ability of your app to handle a growing number of customers, clients and/or users. It also pertains to the ability of your current or future developer to maintain the app. Consider the possibility that your app isn’t currently scalable. If it’s not, be prepared to scramble to add necessary additional features without the flexible coding that keeps your app running smoothly.

What are the benefits of a scalable app?

You need to start your whole development process with scalability as a priority. After all, you want to assume rapid success when your app hits the market, and you certainly don’t want your hot product going belly up at the worst possible time. Here are some benefits:

-Maintain a good user experience for your app over thousands of users

Viral marketing can result in instant success—and a huge influx of traffic. But it’s usually a bit unpredictable. If your app is scalable, then you can accommodate this rapid growth with zero downtime—and without sacrificing user experience. When it comes to your marketing campaign, you can be confident about your app’s reliability.

-Take advantage of holidays and other events (Olympics, Christmas, Black Friday, etc.) when app usage increases

You can scale up and offer special deals for the holidays and other events—or, just be well-prepared for a quick increase in traffic. Scaling for a “Christmas” type moment can be frightening—you’re forced to confront the design decisions you made in the early stages of the app. If your app has hidden weaknesses, a massive new group of users will reveal them.

-You won’t be tied to the original developer

You won’t be held hostage by code so intricate that it can only be maintained by the developer who created it. You’ll be flexible, and able to hand off the project to other developers if necessary.

-More potential for growth, a higher ROI, and more positive user feedback

Wise app development allows for rapid growth. With comprehensive scalability testing, you can identify bugs and glitches before your users do…saving you hundreds of bad reviews.

How to determine if your app is scalable

Your app needs to be scalable from the start, way before it’s launched to the public. And the only way to truly know if the app can handle rapid scaling is by extensive testing. The reason scalability testing is necessary is that you need to know if your app can handle the enormous workload ahead while avoiding costly glitches and constant updates. The only way to truly know it’s ready is to consistently and comprehensively test it.

Imagine taking a car to market without testing its durability, performance, brakes, and its ability to take tight turns. What if the safety features weren’t good enough to protect people in accidents? What if the engine doesn’t start on the showroom floor? Your brand would be tarnished.

Applications are the same way. Even if your customers want all the benefits of using your app, they’ll be turned away by simple scalability and performance issues.

Load testing is the process of putting demand on an app and measuring its response. No matter how many tests you run, load testing is really the only one way to determine if your software can handle the actual demands your thousands (or millions!) of end users will place on it.

Load tests are specifically designed to assess response times and resource usage, while clearly pinpointing your app’s breaking point.

Performance testing refers to testing done to analyze and improve your app’s performance. This sort of test is conducted to determine the status of your app’s active performance by carefully examining data mined from the testing process, and making your resource consumption optimal.

Scalability testing refers to performance testing centered around understanding the scalability of an application. The goal is to determine the breaking point when the application stops scaling, and find the reason for it.

Plan to scale from the beginning

Before you start the development phase, you should be prepared to answer these important questions:

  • How many users would you expect to use your new app within the year?
  • Do you have a data collection plan?
  • How long can all your customers fit on one server?
  • What can you do when you have more customers or data than that?

By assuring that your app is fully scalable from the beginning, you can absorb exponential growth with a minimum of downtime, all while optimizing user experience.


Scalability is crucial for your app’s success. When your app is scalable, it can accommodate growth, provide a good user experience for new users, and give you a better ROI. If you want to serve thousands or even millions with your app, you need to plan for it from the beginning.

The ultimate purpose of scalability testing is to push the current app beyond its breaking point. Your team can then pinpoint that crucial moment, reverse engineer the problem, and make the app scalable and functional.

Are you building a scalable application? Scaling an existing app? What challenges have you faced so far? Shoot us an email at [email protected] and let us know!

Want more great tips to help you build a successful application? Subscribe below!

Author: @keswanberg

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