Browser testing is one of the parts of the design and development process that is necessary but never really enjoyable. With the number of browsers and operating systems that are available, it can be a very time-consuming process to test your website in the environments of visitors. There are a number of tools and resources that have been created to help with this situation, and we’ll profile 15 of them in this post.
In 2008 I published a post of 10 Helpful Resources for Cross Browser Testing, but a lot has changed since then. This post provides an updated look at the world of browser testing and showcases some new products and resources that were not available a few years ago.
This post is supported by Webdesigner Depot, a popular web design blog covering tutorials, design trends, blogging and inspirational posts. You can visit WDD at webdesignerdepot.com and follow WDD on Twitter @designerdepot.
Resources for Cross Browser Testing
Adobe BrowserLab is a free resource that allows you to see how your site looks in a wide variety of browsers in Windows XP or Mac OS X (you will need an Adobe account). Once you’ve chosen a browser and an operating system you can enter the URL to see how it looks. You can view one at a time or side-by-side from two different browsers.
BrowserShots is a popular and free resource for getting screenshots from various browsers and operating systems. Enter a URL and wait a few minutes (sometimes longer) and your screenshots will load. Priority processing is also available that will cut out the waiting time and allow you to get as many screenshots as you want of any site. The price is $29.95 per month.
Litmus produces screenshots from major browsers on Windows and Mac OS X, plus there are features for bug tracking and testing private sites. Litmus also includes features for testing emails in various email clients. A limited free plan is available, and paid plans start at $39 for 14 days.
Browsera is a bit different from many of the other resources listed here because it runs reports and sends you the details. It detects differences in a site’s rending in browsers to make your testing a bit easier. Browsera can also test private pages protected by a login. A limited free plan is available and paid plans start at $39 for 14 days.
CrossBrowserTesting is a premium service (with a one-week free trial) that allows you to pick a browser and an operating system and test a site. This allows you to test a live website rather than just producing a screenshot, and automated screenshots are another feature. The Basic Plan offers 150 minutes of testing for $19.95 per month.
The Browser Sandox is a free tool that allows you to run any of the major browsers on your system. Click on the browser that you want, it will open and you’ll be able to test any website live in that browser (note: this service does not appear to work in Chrome).
Expression Web SuperPreview
Microsoft’s Expression Web SuperPreview is a free download for Windows. Web SuperPreview is a standalone application that will allow you to test in various browsers and operating systems.
IE NetRenderer is a convenient, free resource for testing in IE5.5 – IE8. Simply choose the version of IE that you want and enter a URL. You’ll be able to see the full length of the page, but you can’t interact with the page in the browser.
BrowserCam allows you to test a site live (as opposed to screenshots) in any brower and operating system. It also includes features for testing on mobile devices, and testing emails. There are a number of different plans to choose from based on your needs and the length of subscription that you want. A 24-hour free trial is available that will allow you up to 200 screen captures.
Multi-Browser Viewer is software (Windows) that can be purchased to help with testing your sites and designs. It offers 16 virtualized browsers and 48 screenshot variations. You can run any of the browsers quickly and easily. A single-user license costs $129.95 and 14-day free trial is available.
NetMechanic’s Browser Photo will provide you with screenshots from a wide selection of browsers and operating systems. Browser Photo is available for $150 per domain per year, or $15 for one-time use.
Test iPhone is a free iPhone simulator that allows you to preview how pages will look on an iPhone, and you can also interact with pages through the simulator. Note: if you want to access a mobile version of a site you will need to enter the URL of the mobile site.
iPhoney provides a 320 by 480-pixel canvas (powered by Safari) so you can test sites as they may appear on mobiles (it is not an iPhone simulator, just an appropriately-sized browser). iPhoney is available for free download from MarketCircle.
IETester from DebugBar is a free web browser (Windows) that allows users to test websites in IE8, IE7, IE6, and IE5.5.
ViewLike.us isn’t a tool for testing your site in different browsers, but while you are doing your browser testing you may also want to test at various screen resolutions. With ViewLike.us you can choose a resolution and enter a URL to see how it looks. It’s a quick way to test a page or site for a variety of resolutions.
What’s Your Process for Browser Testing?
What tools and resources do you use in your own design and development work?
This post is supported by Web Designer Depot
Webdesigner Depot is one of the most popular web design blogs in the world. It covers tutorials, design trends, blogging as well as inspirational posts. It’s run by Walter Apai, a web designer from Vancouver, Canada. The blog is a great resource for both beginners and advanced designers looking to expand and improve their knowledge. The site is visited by Fortune 500 companies and is used as a reference by many design schools. Visited by almost 2 million readers per month, WDD is a prime resource for both graphic and web designers. Visit WDD at webdesignerdepot.com. Follow on Twitter: twitter.com/designerdepot. Subscribe to RSS feed: webdesignerdepot.com/rss.htm.