What Is Cross Browser Testing And How To Perform It: A Complete Guide

Cross Browser Testing for the Complete Beginner: Cross Browser Testing verifies if an application works as expected across multiple browsers and degrades gracefully. Testing the compatibility of your application with different browsers is the process.

On several occasions, I have encountered an issue with a website and was told to use another browser by the technical support? Although I earn my living working in the software industry, I feel like a total idiot when I do so. 

You must have experienced this, haven’t you?

I always end up thinking ‘why didn’t I think of that? I asked myself. But it turns out it’s not my fault; the website wasn’t thoroughly tested for cross-browser compatibility, and I have just discovered this error.


What Is Cross Browser Testing And How To Perform It: A Complete Guide

You have probably noticed that some websites don’t work well on some browsers, and we assume the website is broken. Nevertheless, it opens up just fine when you open it in a different browser. A website’s compatibility with different browsers can therefore be explained by this behaviour.

The information on a web page is interpreted differently by each browser. Because of this, some browsers may lack the features that your website is trying to display and may cause your website to appear broken.

As shown below, the error messages displayed on both browsers are not identical. Taking a close look at the text, you can also see that the colour, font, etc., have changed.

Several browser options are available with the advancement of technology, and it’s not enough to make a website work in one browser.

You should allow users to access your application using any browser they choose. Consequently, it is important to test your website’s compatibility with different web browsers. Among the most common browsers used are Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.

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With that background story in mind, I am sure you can all guess the topic of today’s discussion – Cross Browser Testing.

We are going to focus on the basics, as is our general practice at STH. In our opinion, any concept makes a lot of sense when we ask the basic questions “What, why, how, who, when, where”.

Let us do just that as we go.

What is Cross Browser Testing?

#1) Cross-browser testing means checking your site or application in multiple web browsers and ensuring that it works as intended and consistently across them without any dependencies or quality compromises.

#2) This applies both to mobile and web applications.

#3) What types of applications are undergoing this process? Applications targeted at customers should be considered. The question that comes to mind at this point is, “Aren’t all applications client-facing?” Indeed, they are. Yes, they are. I’ll give you an example.

Applicant 1: An application developed for keeping track of a company’s inventory within the company

Application 2: The company’s products may be purchased by end-users through this application

  • Given that it is impossible to control what browsers, platforms, and versions end-users are going to use, it would be best to test Application 2 for browser compatibility.
  • If, however, all computers inside the company are Windows 8 computers with Chrome browsers, then it is unnecessary to look for or check anything else with respect to Application 1.

How to Perform Cross Browser Testing?

Let’s talk now! Are you using a tool or are you doing it manually?

Multiple machines, multiple operating systems, multiple browsers, and multiple machines can be done manually, but that brings with it multiple problems, multiple investments, and multiple challenges.

Manual Method

An organization defines browsers that an application must support in this case. Using various browsers, testers rerun the same test cases and observe the application’s behaviour, reporting any bugs found.

It is not possible to test this type of application on all browsers and also, the application may not be tested on all major browser versions.

It is also time-consuming and costly to perform cross-browser checks manually.

Automated Method

The basic principle of cross-browser testing is to run the same set of test cases on different browsers multiple times.

Automating repetitive tasks is the best solution for this type of work. Therefore, using tools makes this testing more cost-effective and more time-efficient. Therefore, there are a lot of tools available in the market to help with this process.

Based on the tool itself and the licensing type, we can assist with any or all of the following:

  1. Using their VPN (Virtual Private Machine) you can try out your Java, AJAX, HTML, Flash and other pages on remote machines and see how well they run. While most of these are secure, you should proceed with caution since you are submitting your information to a third party.
  2. Screenshots showing how the pages and links appeared in multiple browsers are provided for the pages and links submitted. The screenshots are static, of course.
  3. The operation on one browser is synchronized on all browsers and the results are presented browser-by-browser.
  4. Multiple screen resolutions for a page.
  5. To transport a problem for further analysis, a video or screenshot is recorded when one is encountered.
  6. Mobile and web apps are generally supported
  7. A test can also be performed on private pages requiring authentication.
  8. Testing can also be done for local pages within a private network/firewall.

Recommended Tools

#1) LambdaTest

Cross Browser Testing

Cross Browser Testing: Users of LambdaTest can analyze the performance of a website or web application on 2000+ different browsers and operating systems utilizing a cloud-based cross-browser testing platform.

Selenium automation tests can be run on a scalable, secure, and reliable cloud-based Selenium grid, allowing users to test public or locally hosted websites and web applications live, via cross-browser interaction.

#2) CrossBrowserTesting

Cross Browser Testing

A company called SmartBear provides CrossBrowserTesting. With CrossBrowserTesting’s cloud-based real device lab, you can make sure every web experience is perfect, on any device and browser. Say goodbye to VMs and device labs. Test on 2050+ real desktop and mobile browsers using Selenium, visual, and manual tests.

Are you a non-technical user looking to speed up your testing? You can record live tests and run recorded tests in parallel using the Record & Replay feature.

#3) Selenium

Cross Browser Testing

Web-based applications are well tested with Selenium. Selenium allows you to run the same test case multiple times using different browsers simply by changing the browser that is used for running the test case.

#4) BrowserStack

Cross Browser Testing

Test applications across a variety of browsers, operating systems, and mobile devices with BrowserStack, a cloud-based platform for web and mobile testing.

#5) Browserling

Developers and designers can use this live interactive service to test websites effortlessly. In order to provide quick access to all the most popular browsers on the most popular operating systems, Browserling provides quick links to the most popular browsers.

To summarize “how” to cross-browser test

#1. The number of visitors helps determine which browsers to test.

#2. To determine which parts of the application or if it needs to be tested at all, a detailed analysis should be done on the AUT (Application under test) itself. A site should be tested on multiple browsers, including those with different features, but again, time and costs need to be considered. The best approach is to test 100% on one browser per platform and just test the most critical/common features on the other.

#3. Then, after deciding “What” to test and “Where (browsers)”, infrastructure decisions need to be made – do we acquire tools or do we do this manually etc. Keeping costs in mind is also essential. There are many factors to consider, including reliability, risks, security concerns, people to collaborate with, timing, acceptance criteria, and schedules for fixing issues and defects.

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#4. Test your system. Validating the efficiency of the system can be accomplished using regular functional testing test cases. There is no need for look-and-feel/rendezvous test cases.

An online bank transfer was the operation I discussed at the beginning of this article that failed me. Whenever I tried to perform the transfer, a servlet error appeared regardless of how many times I tried. I logged into my bank account and selected the amount for transfer as around one lakh.

The test script for the transfer operation will look as follows if it is selected for browser compatibility testing.

  1. You can access your online banking account by logging in
  2. Choose the account from which the transfer will be made
  3. Amount to be transferred: 100,000
  4. Click “Transfer” after selecting the payee
  5. Success is expected: The transfer should go smoothly
  6. All of the browsers will be used in this test.

I should point out that this does not differ from a functional test case. You can read more about non-functional testing in this article.

#5. In the event that the design team was not involved in the testing process, report the results to them. There will be changes.

When is the best time to do this?

The best results come from testing early on. It is therefore recommended to start using it as soon as the page designs are available. Alternatively, it can be used once the site is fully functional and integrated.

It is still possible to perform a cross-browser test once the application is in production if a cross-browser test was missed during the design, development and quality assurance phases. This is the most expensive and riskiest option.

Where is browser compatibility testing performed?

The typical answer to this question would be a development, quality assurance, or production environment. However, this does not guarantee cross-browser compatibility and is irrelevant (if I may say so). You can implement it in any one or all of them.


Here are a few points to keep in mind: 

  • Now that I’ve been teaching quality assurance for a while, I see what’s coming next, and that is – the question, is it functional and non-functional testing? I believe it is both.
  • Cross-platform testing also shouldn’t be confused with Multi-Platform testing, which tests your application across multiple platforms like Linux, Windows, Mac, etc. Although the two often have to be integrated as some older applications cannot be tested on all platforms. There may be browser version differences based on the platform version.
  • As software environments, browsers, and devices are constantly changing, browser Testing should be included in the regression testing suites so that there are no unpleasant surprises.

In addition to standard testing, cross-browser testing is also helpful for improving the quality of an application.

By providing users with consistent experiences across browsers and operating systems, cross-browser testing prevents a bad impression on them.

Fixing bugs early in the development process is cost-effective, and the same applies to defects found during testing.

In addition to making your business better, this testing results in happy customers and a happy you!

It is yet another demonstration of the multi-dimensional nature of the QA field and the fact that there is something for everyone.

Comment or ask a question below. Please let us know what you think!

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