Here are the steps I do to load test a website:

  1. Load Impact
    1. Load Impact is a website load testing service that is in the cloud.  It allows you to test the performance of your website.  It is on demand and allows you to purchase credits for your loading testing jobs.  A free accounts gives you a few, free monthly credits.
    2. User Scenarios
      1. Create a “Pages” user scenario that include a sample of all the major sections of the website including blogs and forums.
      2. Use the  Recording feature
    3. Create 3 test configuration that each only use 1 credit
      1. Sitename-Home-VU120-10min
        1. VU is short for Virtual User and a good way to just see if the website can handle a large volume of users
        2. 10 minutes is the minimum run time
        3. 120 users was the max before the run cost 2 credits
        4. Use an auto-generated user scenario
      2. Sitename-Pages-SBU40-10min
        1. SBU is short for Simulated Browser User and use multiple concurrent network connections and causes more stress on the web server.
        2. 40 users was the max before the run cost 2 credits.
        3. Uses the “pages” user scenario.
      3. Sitename-Home-SBU40-10min
        1. Use an auto-generated user scenario
    4. Test results
      1. Look for spikes or growth in the user load time.  Flat graphs are the best.
      2. Print the result pages to PDF for future results.
  2. Individual web page load testing
    1. The following four sites are good to test the amount of time along with other factors that a web page takes to load.
      1. WebPageTest
      3. Pingdom Tools
      4. Load Impact Page Analyzer

Here is a great article to check if a website is safe and legitimate.