Exploring Online Web Browsers for Selenium Testing: Advantages and Limitations

Exploring Online Web Browsers for Selenium Testing

Selenium is a tool that automates web browsers for testing web applications by executing tests across various browsers. While Selenium primarily supports local web browsers, there are also options for testing on web browsers online. In this blog, let us explore the advantages and limitations of web browsers online for Selenium testing.

Web Browser Testing with Selenium

Web browser testing with Selenium is necessary to ensure the functionality of web applications across different browsers and cloud platforms. Selenium provides effective capabilities and features to provide effective web browser online testing to validate application behavior across different browsers.

Capabilities of Selenium for Web Browser Online Testing

Selenium offers effective web browser online testing capabilities to interact with web elements and simulate user actions programmatically. Some key features and functionalities of Selenium for web browser testing, such as

  1. Cross-browser Testing: Selenium WebDriver testers can run test cases on different browsers simultaneously to ensure effective cross-browser testing is effectively achieved. Using one test script, testers can run the script through different browsers to detect and correct browser-specific problems.
  1. Browser Configuration: Selenium provides APIs to customize browser configurations like setting preferences, managing cookies, handling pop-ups, and adjusting browser window size. This flexibility allows testers to simulate various user scenarios and environments.
  1. Element Locators: Selenium WebDriver offers a range of locators to identify web elements on a page. Testers can utilize these locators to interact with specific elements during test execution across different browsers.
  1. Actions API: Selenium’s Actions API includes mouse motion, keystrokes, drag and drop, and other related options. This ability perfectly imitates user behavior with browsers of different environments.
  1. Screenshot Capture: With Selenium, the automation tester can take snapshots of web pages while executing test cases to provide visual inspections and comparisons across various browsers. Screenshots can help ascertain layout issues, rendering variations, and other visual or performance-related behavior in different browsers.
  1. Headless Browser Testing: Selenium supports headless browser testing that allows you to execute tests without requiring a graphical interface to be launched. Headless browsers can conduct unit tests. These browsers are efficient for pipelines like continuous integration and automated testing due to their faster execution time.
  1. Integration with Testing Frameworks: Selenium allows for integration with some of the most popular cloud testing frameworks like JUnit, TestNG, NUnit, and PyTest, which lets the project organize, handle, and execute test cases easily. Establishing this integration extends automated test-driving abilities even more and requires less manual effort, contributing to collaborative testing.

Best Practices for Web Browser Online Testing with Selenium

Here are some of the ways to maximize the effectiveness of web browser testing 

  • Test Strategy: Create a detailed test strategy that specifies which browsers, versions, and platforms to test user demographics and business needs.
  • Parallel Execution: Implement parallel test execution using Selenium Grid to reduce test execution time across multiple browsers and platforms.
  • Cross-browser Compatibility: Continuously verify application functionality and appearance on different browsers to maintain a consistent user experience for all users.
  • Test Maintenance: Maintain test scripts and ensure they remain compatible with the latest version by updating WebDriver binaries and handling browser-specific changes or updates.
  • Test Data Management: Use parameterization and data-driven testing techniques to execute test scenarios with varying input data across browsers to enhance test coverage.
  • Error Handling: Set up mechanisms to handle browser-specific errors and display clear error messages for debugging and fixing issues.
  • Continuous Integration: Automate web browser tests in the continuous integration process to get quick feedback on application quality and ensure compatibility across browsers.
  • Cloud Testing: You can utilize cloud testing platforms like LambdaTest and conduct Selenium tests across various web browsers online. LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that runs manual and automated tests at scale. The platform allows you to perform real-time and automation testing across 3000+ environments and real mobile devices. 

Advantages and Limitations of Popular Web Browsers Supported by Selenium

Choosing the right web browser online is crucial for ensuring compatibility, reliability, and efficiency in your selenium testing process. Here are some popular web browsers supported by Selenium, along with their advantages and limitations

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a popular web browser for Selenium testing. It offers several advantages with a few limitations.


  • It’s widely used and fully supported by Selenium, making it a reliable choice for testers.
  • Chrome is known for its fast and stable performance, which provides a smooth browsing experience.
  • It offers extensive developer tools and debugging capabilities which help identify and fix issues during testing.
  • Chrome has a large ecosystem of extensions and plugins that enhance its testing capabilities with additional features.


  • Chrome tends to consume more memory than other browsers, which can impact the performance of tests when running multiple instances.
  • Frequent updates to Chrome may sometimes cause compatibility issues with Selenium, requiring testers to stay vigilant and update their WebDriver accordingly.
  • There are limited customization options created explicitly for automated testing in Chrome.

Selenium provides effective support for automating Google Chrome browsers. To use Chrome with Selenium, you can instantiate ChromeDriver using the following syntax:

// Set path to ChromeDriver executable (if not in system PATH)
System.setProperty(“webdriver.chrome.driver”, “path/to/chromedriver”);

// Set Chrome options (e.g., headless mode, specific user profile)
ChromeOptions options = new ChromeOptions();
WebDriver driver = new ChromeDriver(options);

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is a popular web browser for Selenium testing and offers its own set of advantages and limitations.


  • Firefox is known for its strong support for web standards and compatibility. It follows the rules well, making it a reliable choice for testing websites.
  • It’s open-source and encourages developers to improve Firefox and create helpful extensions.
  • Firefox offers tools and extensions for easier website testing and development.


  • In some situations, Firefox can be slower than Chrome when handling heavy web pages or scripts.
  • Updates to Firefox may sometimes cause problems with Selenium, so testers need to be aware of compatibility issues.
  • While Firefox is good with most web technologies, it may have limited support for some advanced features.

Selenium provides strong support for automating Firefox.

To use Firefox with Selenium, you need to set it up using special commands

// Set Firefox options
FirefoxOptions options = new FirefoxOptions();
options.setProfile(new FirefoxProfile(new File(“path/to/user/profile”)));
WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based version) is another browser commonly used for Selenium testing. It offers distinct advantages and faces certain limitations.


  • It utilizes the Chromium engine to ensure better compliance with web standards. This engine is known for its compatibility.
  • The Chromium-based Edge offers improved performance and stability, providing a smoother browsing experience.
  • Edge integrates with Windows operating systems and developer tools to make it convenient for testers.


  • Compatibility issues may arise with certain versions of Selenium, requiring testers to stay informed about compatibility updates and adjustments.
  • Edge may offer limited customization options specifically designed for testing environments.

Selenium supports automating the Microsoft Edge browser to use its advantages in their testing workflows. To use EdgeDriver with Selenium, the following syntax can be used:

// Set path to Microsoft Edge WebDriver executable (if not in system PATH)
System.setProperty(“webdriver.edge.driver”, “path/to/msedgedriver”);

// Set Edge options (e.g., headless mode, specific user profile)
EdgeOptions options = new EdgeOptions();

WebDriver driver = new EdgeDriver(options);


Safari browser online is the default web browser for macOS and iOS devices, and Selenium supports SafariDriver, which comes automatically installed with Safari on macOS. This integration simplifies the setup process for Safari testing with Selenium.


  • Being the default browser for macOS and iOS, Safari offers a familiar environment for testing applications on Apple devices.
  • It tightly integrates with the Apple ecosystem and developer tools, making it convenient for testers working within this environment.
  • Safari generally performs well in automated testing scenarios to provide reliable results for testers.


  • Safari may have limited support for Selenium compared to other browsers, limiting the functionality available for testing.
  • Safari lacks support for extensions, which can limit customization options for testers.
  • Updates to Safari may occasionally disrupt compatibility with Selenium, requiring testers to stay vigilant and ensure their tests continue to work effectively.


Opera is a web browser that offers several advantages for Selenium testing alongside a few limitations.


  • Opera provides a fast browsing experience, making it efficient for testing web applications.
  • It has built-in features like ad blocker and VPN, which can enhance the testing environment and improve productivity.
  • Opera is compatible with Chrome, simplifying Selenium testing as Chrome-compatible features can be utilized.
  • In automated testing environments, Opera tends to be relatively stable and provides consistent results for testers.


  • Opera has a smaller user base than other browsers like Chrome and Firefox, which may result in fewer community resources and support.
  • It offers limited developer tools and extensions compared to Chrome and Firefox, restricting customization options for testers.
  • Updates to Opera may occasionally disrupt compatibility with Selenium, requiring testers to stay updated and adjust their testing setups accordingly.
  • For Opera testing with Selenium, the OperaDriver establishes communication between the Selenium script and the Opera browser.

Syntax to use OperaDriver

WebDriver driver = new OperaDriver();

Additional configurations for Opera

// Set path to OperaDriver executable (if not in system PATH)
System.setProperty(“webdriver.opera.driver”, “path/to/operadriver”);
// Set Opera options (e.g., headless mode)
OperaOptions options = new OperaOptions();

WebDriver driver = new OperaDriver(options);

Common Challenges in Web Browser Online Testing

Web browser online testing with Selenium presents various challenges that testers often encounter. Below are some common challenges.

  • Network Dependency: Web browser online testing relies on stable internet connections, and network issues can disrupt test execution.
  • Limited Control: Testers have limited control over the online browser environment compared to local browsers, which may affect test consistency.
  • Security Concerns: Testing on online browsers may raise security concerns due to data privacy and confidentiality.
  • Cost Implications: Subscription costs for online browser testing platforms can increase, particularly for large-scale projects.
  • Browser Versioning: Online browsers may update frequently, leading to versioning issues that affect test compatibility.
  • Limited Customization: Some web browser online testing platforms offer limited customization options, restricting the ability to create tests to specific requirements.


Online web browsers offer advantages for Selenium testing, such as cross-browser capabilities, platform independence, scalability, simplicity, and accessibility. However, they also have limitations like network dependency, limited control, security concerns, cost implications, and restricted customization. Testers must carefully consider these factors to assess suitability. Despite challenges, online web browsers can enhance cross-browser testing efficiency. It’s crucial to address associated risks to maximize benefits in Selenium testing.