In this article we are going to discuss about Stepping Thread Group, another excellent feature provided by Apache Jmeter for better thread configuration. A standard thread group allows us to configure number of threads, ramp-up period and duration in liner manner. By using Stepping thread group you can configure increment of thread load by portions, setup the hold load time and also decreasing the user load by portions.

You must visit these links as well for reference:

5 must know features of Thread Group in Jmeter
Setup & Teardown Thread Group in Jmeter
Ultimate Thread Group in Jmeter


Now we will look at configuration & usage of Stepping Thread Group.

How to Configure?

Stepping Thread Group is the feature of Jmeter Plugin to test distributed load on server. Please follow below steps to get it installed for your Jmeter installation:

1) Download standard set of plugins from this URL: https://jmeter-plugins.org/

2) Extract the Zip file on desired location and copy the JAR file contained in lib\ext folder.

3) Paste the JAR file to $JMETER_HOME/lib/ext directory.

4) Also, copy all the JAR files contained in lib directory of the extracted location to $JMETER_HOME/lib folder.

5) Restart/Launch JMeter and it’s done.

How to Add Stepping Thread Group?

1) Open JMeter and right click on Test Plan.

2) Right Click on Test Plan > Add > Threads(Users) > jp@gc Stepping Thread Group.

Stepping Thread Group

You can also see more options added to the list like: “bzm – Arrivals Thread Group“, “bzm – Concurrency Thread Group“, “bzm – Free from Arrivals Thread Group” & “jp@gc Ultimate Thread Group“.

Understanding features of Stepping Thread Group

When you add Stepping thread group, you will see a screen like below with default configuration of:

Stepping Thread Group

– 100 Users target Load
– 0 second waiting after test initiation
– 0 thread load to initiate the test
– 10 threads added every 30 seconds with ramp-up of 5 seconds
– Hold the load for 60 seconds
– Now the Ramp-down starts with 5 threads every 1 second.

Well, the beauty of Stepping Thread Group is you can configure your own Performance Test. It will generate appropriate graphical presentation based on your configuration. You can easily understand the nature of execution and modify the way you want. We have already covered detailed understanding of Thread configuration terms in our previous articles so here we will try to understand them through example.

Example of Usage:

Let’s try to configure Thread scheduling for requirement mentioned below:

– Total Thread count should be 500.
– The Test should begin with delay of 20 seconds.
– Then kick start 20 threads immediately.
– Now add 50 threads every 50 seconds until all the threads(i.e 500 users) are up and running.
– After reaching 500 threads all of them should continue running for 100 seconds.
– At the end, ramp-down should be achieved with 20 threads every 20 seconds.

You can see all these parameters configured in below image.

Stepping Thread Group

Now you are ready to launch and monitor the test. To monitor the activities and make sure every thread is running as expected during the test execution you can use listener : Active Threads Over Time Graph.

Please share your experience with Stepping Thread Group with us through comments. Thank You for reading and May the force be with you!!


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