Test your Ion property

Thorough testing of your application delivery from the ​Akamai​ edge network is required for every application.

One purpose of testing is to make sure that all existing content functionality is preserved. Another key task is to check the configuration because incorrect configuration settings can break various functions on your site or application. Additionally, Ion should increase the performance and availability of your content; testing provides a baseline for the increased performance and to test against settings that might yield further gains.

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If you have existing testing procedures for application and content releases, you should follow them when testing edge network content delivery.

The test plan you use should at least accomplish the following:

  • Deliver your site or app in multiple browsers.

  • Perform critical and common functions on your site.

  • If applicable, view images and download content.

  • Recreate functions and transactions that a typical end user would perform.

Test using your actual hostname

Depending on your content, you can complete all testing by using the actual hostname of your content or application without affecting live end users. We recommend this practice.

Do this by changing the "hosts" file on a local computer to point your website or application hostnames to an IP address of an ​Akamai​ edge server. The hosts file controls the DNS resolution of the browser and overrides production DNS records.

Get your hosts file

Based on your operating system, you may be able to find your host file as follows:

  • macOS. Navigate to /etc/hosts
  • UNIX/Linux. Navigate to /etc/hosts
  • Windows. Navigate to \system32\drivers\etc\hosts

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The above paths are only examples of where this file might be found. Please see your operating system's user documentation for the appropriate location of the hosts file.

Get an edge server IP address

You can resolve an edge hostname using a command-line DNS resolution tool such as "nslookup", "dig", or any web-based IP lookup tool.

For example, if you resolve an edge hostname that we've provided to you, such as www.example.com.edgesuite.net&mdash, you might obtain the following resolution:

example.com.edgesuite.net. IN CNAME a1234.g.akamai.net.a1234.g.akamai.net. 20 IN A 80.67.64.114a1234.g.akamai.net. 20 IN A 80.67.64.116

The two IP addresses in the resolution are edge servers. Include either one of them for testing in your hosts file.

Set up for testing

To actually set up for testing, you need to complete multiple tasks.

HTTPS custom certificates: Push the edge certificate to staging

If you're going to use a custom certificate for the end user to edge server connection, you need to push it to the staging network before you test your HTTPS delivery.

By default, when you create a CPS-managed certificate, it is automatically deployed to the production network. To test the cert, you need to manually push it to the staging network. This is done in Certificate Provisioning System.

Activate your property on the Staging network

To perform actual testing of your Ion property, you need to activate it on the Staging network in ​Akamai Control Center​.

  1. Select the appropriate ​Control Center​ account using the drop-down in the top right.

  2. Access Property Manager configurations associated with the selected ​Control Center​ account. Go to > CDN > Properties.

  3. Filter the results of the Property Groups table by inputting the desired Ion property name in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

  4. Click the Property Name.

  5. In the Manage Versions and Activations content panel, click the applicable Version <#> link to access it for testing.

  6. Click the Activate tab.

  7. Click Activate v<#> on Staging.

  1. Any warnings carried over from the configuration will be displayed as Validation Messages. You can click Cancel and edit the Configuration to acknowledge them.

  2. Optionally, add descriptive Notes and/or use the Notify via email field to define e-mail address(es) that will receive notifications in the event of a Property file change (separate multiple entries with a comma--",")

  3. Click the Activate v<#> on Staging button.

  4. Monitor the Activate tab to track progress. You can also click the "View Details" link to review settings and information regarding the Property. The version should be active in the testing environment in about ten minutes.

Point your browser to edge servers

For testing, set up your local browser to target an applicable edge server to access your property.

  1. Select the appropriate Control Center Account. Use the top-right pull-down in the header to select the account.

  2. Access Property Manager configurations associated with the selected Control Center Account. Go to > CDN > Properties.

  3. Filter the results of the Property Groups table by inputting the desired Ion property name in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

  4. Click the Property Name.

  5. In the Manage Versions and Activations content panel, click the applicable Version <#> link to access it in the Property Manager Editor.

  6. In the Property Hostnames content panel, locate and make note of the Edge Hostname.

  1. Look up that hostname's IP address, and copy it to your clipboard using one of these methods:

    • Windows: Open a new command prompt, and perform an "nslookup" of your edge hostname.
    • MacOS: Open a new terminal, and perform a "dig" of your edge hostname.
  2. Open your local hosts file in a text editor. Based on your operating system, you may be able to find your host file as follows:

    • Windows: Navigate to \system32\drivers\etc\hosts
    • macOS: Navigate to /etc/hosts
    • UNIX/Linux: Navigate to /etc/hosts

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The above paths are only examples of where this file might be found. Please see the relevant user documentation for the location of the Hosts file for your selected operating system.

  1. At the end of the hosts file, add an entry for your website that includes the edge hostname's IP address (which you found in Step 7) and your property's domain. For example: 1.2.3.4 www.techpubs-video.com

  2. Save and close your hosts file. All requests from your computer to your domain will now go to an edge server.

    • This applies to your local system, only.
    • To undo the redirection to the edge server, remove the new entry from your hosts file.

Confirm that your machine is pointed to an edge server

You can run through these steps to verify that your machine is pointing to an edge server.

  1. Open a new browser window, and clear your cache.

  2. Open the HTTP analyzer plug-in that you already installed.

  3. In your browser, go to a page you want to test.

  4. View the return headers in the "HTTP analyzer" (or equivalent, based on the browser in use), and check if the "X-Cache" entry is present:

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Server: Apache/2.4.9 (Unix) OpenSSL/1.0.1-fips
    Last-Modified:Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:28:37 GMT
    ETag: "6795-3j012d0468q42"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 13162
    Content-Type: image/gif
    Cache-Control: max-age=603241
    Expires: Mon, 14 Apr 2021 16:48:38 GMT
    Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2021 17:04:37 GMT
    X-Cache: TCP_MEM_HIT from b128-48-122- 38.deploy.akamaitechnologies.com (AkamaiGHost/6.15.0.3-12528292) (-)
    X-Cache-Key: /L/16428/676192/4j/orign-example.com/KMK/ samplepicture.gif?348531
    Connection: keep-alive
    
  5. Use this table to interpret the results:

Did the page load as expected?Is the X-Cache entry present?Result
YesYesSuccess! You're ready to test.
NoYesYou reached an edge server, but something isn't working. The value of the X-Cache entry might help you identify the problem.
YesNoYou reached the origin server, not the edge server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.
NoNoYou have not reached either the edge or your origin server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.

You're ready to test

Your browser should now show your property with Ion applied.

Now, test your property just as you would if you were testing on the origin server. Be sure to check key functionality, such as logging in, using the shopping cart, etc.

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When developing tests, don't use edge hostnames to request content. Edge hostnames are only used to resolve requests to your property hostname, to get your content from the edge network.

If you're using Site Failover

If you've enabled the Site Failover sub-rule, you should test it using settings in its companion sub-rule, Simulate failover.

To test using this sub-rule:

  • Your property needs to be on the staging network.

  • A request needs to include breakconnection: <value> in the Request header. The <value> variable represents whatever you've set for the Simulate failover sub-rule's Criteria. This defaults to Your-Secret-Here.

Check out Test Center

If you already have a property in place, successfully delivering content to your end users, a change to that property could negatively impact or even break delivery. We've always recommended that you thoroughly test any changes you make on our staging network before going live to production. Testing this way typically required setting up a manual environment to do so. Now, ​Akamai​ offers Test Center.

What is Test Center?

Test Center is a testing tool that checks the effect that configuration changes will have on your web property. It helps you ensure that your changes aren't behaving unexpectedly before you activate them in production. It helps prevent issues caused by misconfiguration and insufficient testing and increases your confidence in the safety and correctness of your changes.

The application lets you run two types of tests:

  • Functional testing. This lets you check if the configuration changes work as expected.
  • Comparative testing. This lets you compare the behavior of your hostnames between the current and new configurations.

It was designed as an addition to your existing tests and workflows, and not as their replacement. It's available as a user interface in ​Akamai Control Center​ and as an API.


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