15 Highly-Useful Resources for Cross Browser Testing
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?
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Thats really cool. You suggest soooooo many tools for browser testing 🙂
Browser shots has always been an awesome tool for me, but I will definitely use some of the ones you’ve mentioned up there.
Thanks for sharing 😀
Superb. Very useful Stuff.
Thanks for sharing..
I use 2 virtual machines (1 for IE6 and 1 for IE7), and I have a dual boot with WIn7 & Ubuntu so I can check the site on different OS
I also use browsershots as an extra.
you didn’t mention http://www.browsrcamp.com/ for testing in a MAC environment
I was going to include BrowserCamp but when I tried it I kept getting a message that it couldn’t process the request (the free service). I tried with several different URLs but none worked.
Awesome roundup, I used browser labs quite often with the redesign I just did on Creativeoverflow. It worked out well.
For IE testing I use a WinXP virtual machine and IE Collections, which installs multiple version of IE on one operation system! .. Works like a charm for me!
Anyway a good list – but I don’t hink those tools are really helpful when working on a websites html, since you online see the screenshot and can’t experiment with values (like IE developer toolbar or firebug of course)
Sorry – forgot to include the link: http://finalbuilds.edskes.net/iecollection.htm
Thanks for sharing.. 😉
Some great browser testing resources here. I’ve only used IE Tester but I run Windows XP using Virtual Box on my Mac and can test all my sites in IE6 + 7. I will have to look at the other sites and see how they compare. Thanks a lot for sharing these with us.
Thanks for the list!
Currently I’ve been using Browser Sandbox to test my webpages and it does it’s job whit occasional hiccups, but then again all computers have those =)
The trouble with online services is they don’t generally play well with a pre-production site you’re developing behind your corporate firewall. For cross-browser testing I usually use the latest Firefox, Chrome and Safari on my host system plus a series of virtual machines for the different versions of IE. But I hadn’t heard of Expression Web Superpreview before — that one by itself is enough to make this post worthwhile. Thanks
I’ve just come across this post, Awesome! I didn’t realise there were so many browser testers out there. Currently I duel boot my Macbook and use IETester, anybody used these regularly enough to warrant them a good alternative?
Alanc – We support testing sites behind the firewall with both our interactive live testing environment and the automated screenshot tool. You can read about it in our FAQ at http://crossbrowsertesting.com/faq/can-i-test-my-development-and-test-websites-or-do-they-need-be-publicly-accessible
Great post. I didn’t even knew these online-apps existed. I fell for Adobe’s sollution at first, but it’s a bit “loaded”… at least that’s the feel I get when using it. I sellted for BrowserShots in the end (still wondering how they handle their bandwith usage.)
Anyway: as I allready said – it’s a great post that definitly makes me evolve into a girl that starts thinking geek (at least a bit). Thanks!
has anyone got any experience of the browser selection on safari (using developer tools)
It SEEMS like it changes how it renders the page, you can select different IE browsers, different firefox browsers, different versions of safari, and opera too.
However not having lots of browsers to compare it with, I don’t actually know whether it shows you haw the page will look in these other browsers, or what???
if it does, then what an excellent tool to have built into your browser!
Any ideas anyone?
Thank you for this extensive list of cross browser testing options.
I represent Multi-Browser Viewer and I do feel that it differentiates itself from the other products on the list in two main areas:
1. Standalone, Sandboxed browsers – Actual browsers like IE6, Chrome and Opera but with no extra installs needed. Allows you to conveniently view your site in any browser.
2. Widest range of screen capture browsers – more browsers than any of our competitors.
Please give Multi-Browser Viewer a try and let me know what you think. We are continually improving the product and appreciate any feedback. A free trial is available at http://www.multibrowserviewer.com/download.asp and if you would like to purchase a license use the complimentary 20% Discount Coupon: MBV-NB4K (valid for a limited time only).
I use IE tester mostly, but I think it still has some bugs in it when I installed it at win7 …
Nice post! for my sites I use Selenium IDE and Selenium GRID for functional testing. Of course IETester comes in handy in my everyday work.
Very useful for testing websites, thanks for sharing!
I also live by using Mac os for ff and safari and parallels for ie and windows versions of ff and safari
Good list, by far from being comprehensive. Did you check BrowserSeal – http://www.browserseal.com ?
It has some nice features, for instance in addition to static screenshots it allows you to interact with the site with all ther supported browsers
Thanks for the highly useful tools to check cross browsing compatibility..Browsershots is also a great tool..!
Does anyone know of a tool that works with password protected sites? (i.e. have to log in to see the site/page)
Multi-Browser Viewer includes 17 standalone, sandboxed browsers (so IE6, 7 and 8, Safari 3.2 and 4 can run alongside each other), this allows you to browse pages on your local machine, intranet as well as log into secure pages and then see actual functionality.
Browsercam, Litmus and perhaps crossbrowsertesting offer screen capture testing log in facilities too. Your site would need to support a traditional html post login from a outside domain though.
All 4 the above options offer a free trial, so play around and see what works for you.
Currently BrowserSeal supports basic and digest http authentication
Browsershots is also a great tool..!
Thanks for this!
One option you hadn’t mentioned is a Windows package called Utilu IE Collection. It allows you to run stand-alone, independent, versions of IE5,6,7,8 & even Beta-9.
For more info I’d suggest checking out the review I’ve written on it:
At WebDepend, we use CrossBrowserTesting.com when we need to test a website in a particular web browser from anywhere and Multi-Browser Viewer when office-based.
This combination of tools allows us to browser test websites in detail from anywhere.
Other tools are useful but we find CrossBrowserTesting and Multi-Browser Viewer to be best, as they both allow to actually use the website and browse from page to page rather than just receiving screenshots of the page you are checking.
Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.
I came across this one and I found it really cool and useful. http://www.multi-browser.com