How to Test Your Website on Multiple Browsers: Four Solutions Compared

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remote access, it is much snappier. You can use the same techniques that Browserstack does to test mobile sites as well.

If you have a Mac, a free download of xCode includes the iOS Simulator, and an Android development kit is free on any OS. VirtualBox, Parallels, and VMWare are all good virtualization tools, and with them you can make your one computer switch between whatever operating system and browser that you need. One potential difficulty for Windows users is that it is more difficult to virtualize a Mac in Windows than it is to virtualize windows on a Mac. If you wish to test iOS devices, then you need to either begin with a Mac or run the iOS simulator inside of a virtualized Mac.

Summarily, the Lunascape browser is the fastest tool for testing a website, essentially allowing a quick test of IE, Firefox, and Chrome in quick succession, but it is also the least thorough, having only the underlying engines as similarities. The other options are all more thorough, but each has its own difficulties. Browsera essentially gives you some automated error detection and allows you to examine a web page across each browser side by side by expanding the thumbnails, but it does not allow you to interact with the web pages. Browserstack is a powerful solution, but the lag inherent in its cloud-based solution may frustrate a user. Finally, local virtualization can easily be considered the ideal solution, but also the most expensive and difficult to initially set up, requiring licenses for each OS you wish to use as well as a fairly powerful computer.

 

  Works for Mobile Testing Has a free version Has a paid premium version Works with Mac Works with Windows
Lunascape X X X
Browsera X
BrowserStack X
Local Virtualization *

* VirtualBox is a free option, but you still need access to licence keys for the OS you will emulate to do so legally.

 

User Comments

2 comments
Mike Feeney's picture
Mike Feeney

Very timely article as I am looking at different tools for cross-browser testing. I was playing a little with IE Tester (IE only) and the noticed it didn't have many favorable reviews. Also been taking a test drive of BrowserStack. I have already used up the free 30 minutes and will need more time on that to see if it is worth it.

June 28, 2013 - 9:09am
Kevin Dunne's picture

Robbie, 

 

Great article - we see a number of our customers using BrowserStack in particular, but I am excited to explore these other options as well. 

 

One thing I wonder is - how do you guys manage the results of this testing?  Are you just setting up a test case for each page tested under each browser and then passing them for each page that loads correctly?

In the interest of full transparency, I work at a company that provides a test case management solution.  I am looking to better understand if testers doing compatibility testing are looking to track these results over time and see trends in what particular pages looked like from build to build and browser to browser, or if these tools are mostly leveraged as more of a "sanity check" and the results are only documented in the case of failure. 

Looking forward to reading more of your stuff in the future!

Kevin

August 20, 2014 - 12:32pm

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