Siege is a useful load testing tool to add to your performance testing tool kit. From the website: "Siege is an HTTP load testing and benchmarking utility. It was designed to let web developers measure their code under duress, to see how it will stand up to load on the internet. Siege supports basic authentication, cookies, HTTP, HTTPS and FTP protocols. It lets its user hit a server with a configurable number of simulated clients. Those clients place the server 'under siege.'"
Load testing is useful for testing the performance of your site, and the infrastructure that it runs on. There’s nothing worse than having one of your blog posts end up on Hacker News and then having your site crumble under the load. Siege can simulate activity on your site, and you can then use your site from your browser as you normally would, while your siege is running and really get a feel for how your site responds under load.
This blog post will cover installing Siege on OS X and Linux, and running a basic load test with Siege.