10 Helpful Resources for Cross Browser Testing

by Steven Snell

October 19, 2008 in Resources

Every web designer knows that browser differences can create plenty of headaches. Finding and fixing problems can be difficult if you’re not equipped with the right tools. In this post we’ll take a brief look at 10 of the leading resources for making your browser testing less time consuming and more productive.

Browsershots

Browsershots is a popular free service that will provide screen shots of a page from just about any browser from all of the common operating systems. All you have to do is enter your URL and select the browsers and operating systems that you want to test. Browsershots will then enter your information into the queue, and in a few minutes you should have the screen shots.

There is a paid option that will give you priority over the free requests. When the service is busy it can take a while to get the free screen shots, but you can pay $15 per month for priority processing.

BrowserCam

BrowserCam provides several different services for browser testing. There is a browser capture option that will give you screen shots from any browser and any operating system. There is also a device capture option for working with Blackberry and PDAs. The Remote Access service will test JavaScript DHTML, forms and other dynamic functionality on any platform.

BroswerCam is a paid service with options for daily, monthly, or yearly. They also offer a free trial that will allow you to test the screen capture service by getting up to 200 screen captures within the 24-hour trial.

NetMechanic Browser Photo

Brower Photo from NetMechanic is a paid service that will allow you to test different versions of Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Safari on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can test on various screen resolutions as well.

Browser Photo has a nice print-friendly feature that will help you to show clients or bosses how you’ve test the site and how it appears on different browsers. You can get Browser Photo for $15 for one-time use, or $150 per domain per year for unlimited use.

Litmus

Litmus provides testing on all major browsers and also produces bug reporting to help you identify and correct any errors. Once the testing is complete you can produce a compatibility report to share with clients. In addition to website testing, Litmus also offers testing of HTML emails in all major email clients, and also runs your messages through spam filters and identifies any problems so you can get more of your messages read.

There is a limited version of Litmus available for free. Additionally, there is a day pass with full access (minus spam analysis) for $24, an individual subscription for $49 per month, or a team subscription for $199 per month.

IE NetRenderer

IE NetRenderer is a free tool that’s great for testing websites in Internet Explorer, typically the most troublesome browser. With IE NetRenderer all you have to do is choose a version of IE and enter the URL that you want to test, and you’ll instantly get a screen shot of the page being tested.

BrowserCamp

BrowserCamp allows you to test the compatibility of your design with Mac OS X browsers. You can quickly enter the URL that you want to test and get a full length screen shot at several different screen widths. Additionally, for full testing you can pay $3 for a two-day subscription, or $99 for a one-year subscription, with a few options in between.

IE Tester from DebugBar

IE Tester from DebugBar s a free web browser that allows you to have the rendering and JavaScript engines of IE8 beta 2, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process.

CrossBrowserTesting

CrossBrowserTesting.com will allow you to test your website, including AJAX and JavaScript. The service is free for less than 5 minutes per session, or you can buy credits for additional minutes. There are no monthly subscription fees, just pay for what you use.

ieCapture

ieCapture is a free tool for getting screen shots from websites in Internet Explorer. It’s very simple, just enter a URL and in a moment your screen shot will appear.

iPhoney

iPhoney is a free iPhone web simulator for designers. To use iPhoney you’ll have to download the program, but there is no cost.

For design and development tutorials please see:

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Brandon Cox

    Oct 20th

    An excellent list – always looking for help here. Thanks!

  • Steven Snell

    Oct 20th

    Brandon,
    I’m glad it can help.

  • Dado

    Oct 20th

    Great list.

  • Paul Anthony

    Oct 20th

    Great stuff,

    Especially like the link for iPhone – will be useful in weeks to come.

  • Aaron Irizarry

    Oct 20th

    Great list thanks!

  • Noura Yehia

    Oct 20th

    I didn’t know about a couple of tools here. Specially the iphoney and the iecapture tools.
    Excellent resource Steven :)

  • yar man

    Oct 20th

    iPhoney only scrunches the browsers. it doesnt’ accurately render the page in anything close to the same way as the iPhone. Just compare to see how some sites may look fine on iPhoney but be broke on iPhone.

  • Shannon Snow

    Oct 21st

    IE Net Render and IE Tester are my two favorites. Litmus looks pretty awesome for checking html emails in different email clients but I haven’t tested it yet. Some of the others I haven’t heard of though.. I’ll have to check them out!

  • Marcuss Zilgalvis

    Oct 22nd

    Well done, just what we needed!

    Cheers*

  • geetha

    Oct 22nd

    10 Helpful Resources for Cross Browser Testing – Makes testing Simple.

  • Eric

    Oct 26th

    Very usefull! i’ve used one of the sites above and it works very fine!

  • Jennifer Farley

    Nov 3rd

    Superb collection – very helpful for designers and developers, thanks.

  • Laura

    Nov 7th

    Has anyone heard of a tool which checks your emails in different email clients AND browsers?

  • Steven Snell

    Nov 7th

    Laura,
    I’m not aware of anything like that. Working with html email can be extremely frustrating.

  • szuman

    Dec 30th

    thanks :)

  • Juan

    Mar 15th

    Great info. Saved me a lot of time of needless searching. Thanks!!

  • Personalized Kids Wall Art

    Mar 17th

    I use IE Net Renderer all the time when I don’t have a PC sitting next to my mac. It’s great because the screenshots only take about 30 seconds to generate compared to Browsershots 10~20 minutes.

  • Alfred Devanesan Samuel

    Mar 23rd

    great stuff i mean list. some of them are paid versions

  • karasssa

    May 23rd

    Great list. Thank you!

  • Janesh

    May 29th

    Thanks for sharing the list.
    We will be using a selected service soon
    Janesh

  • tapetki

    Jun 5th

    Excellent list, very helpful resources. Thanks

  • Ray

    Jun 17th

    someone mentioned about testing for html emails.

    Just build it as a page, stick it on the server and then use one of these tools to test it from the domain it is on.

    simple.

  • faryl

    Jun 19th

    Awesome! (Also noticed the question about emails. Campaignmonitor.com has a service for a nominal fee, as well resources on email client/CSS compatibility.)

  • Samalah

    Jul 29th

    Excellent info – Thanks! IE Tester is VERY handy!!

  • Rob Buti - Chicago SEO

    Jul 31st

    Do you have any that are free of charge? I used one about a year ago and it was totally free, I can’t remember the name though.

  • WAMPvn

    Aug 1st

    Very nice application.

  • Phil Smith

    Aug 3rd

    Cloud Testing – http://www.cloudtesting.com/ – offer a functional website testing tool that allows you to test your websites from the cloud. Enterprise users can download an agent which allows access to your local resources, i.e. inside your firewall/network.
    It is based on Selenium, and allows you to capture scripts in the Selenium IDE plugin for Firefox, and then upload onto our servers for running.

    We currently support the following browsers:

    Firefox 2, 3 & 3.5
    Internet Explorer 6,7 & 8
    Safari 3.2 & 4.0
    Chrome 2 and 3
    Opera 9.6 and 10.0

    With all of the above we capture full screenshots (i.e. of the browser window, not just the OS window), store the HTML and details of components on each page, along with timings and HTTP request and response headers. All of this is available to view via the results portal – http://portal.cloudtesting.com/

    A free 7 day trial is available.

  • Jacob Nelson

    Aug 5th

    A Very Useful List

  • Andrew Jhonson

    Aug 20th

    To rescue the web designers from this aching job of testing browser compatibility in different browsers there are few websites which offer this service. On these websites you can check the compatibility of your website in all desired browsers. You can find these websites at http://www.bestpsdtohtml.com/7-awesome-resources-to-test-cross-browser-compatibility-of-your-website/

  • Demiurg

    Aug 28th

    One more browser screenshot tool for your list – http://www.browserseal.com

    It is currently in beta, but it is probably the fastest screenshot tool available, especially for sites with scrollbars.

    Free beta version is available for download

  • Justin Hunter

    Oct 27th

    Great list.

    If you have a simple web site, the above resources are great (and probably sufficient). But what if you have a site that allows people to take several different actions (e.g., search, put things in the shopping cart, pay for things with credit cards, etc.) In that case, most software testing teams become extremely inefficient. They’ll tend to test the same kinds of paths through the application the same way in each of the different kinds of browsers. Reusing scripts and only changing the browser type is both very common and extremely inefficient. It is an extremely inefficient way to find defects for the same reason that if you want to avoid stepping on a land mine when you are walking through a land mine field, you’d be well-advised to step in footprints that mark where people have already stepped.

    To maximize coverage in a minimum number of tests, a test design tool like Hexawise can be extremely helpful. Numerous proof of concept pilots (several of which included cross browser testing elements) have shown that using Hexawise will more than double the number of defects found per tester hour.

    More information about this approach can be found here: http://hexawise.com/intro_movie

    Thanks.

    - Justin
    Founder of Hexawise
    Blog: http://hexawise.wordpress.com

  • haberler

    Nov 5th

    really nice job thank you.

  • Kaplang

    Nov 7th

    This is amazing and will save me sooooooo much time, thanks

  • Sem

    Nov 15th

    Great info – Thanks for sharing!

  • Adriaan Fenwick

    Nov 18th

    Adobe has recently launced BrowserLab which enables you to do real time cross browser testing on multiple browsers in one place. I have made a post with some more info on it at http://thedesigner.co.za/cross-browser-testing-adobe-style

  • BrowserSeal

    Nov 30th

    We just released a new version 1.1, adding support for Chrome and Opera browsers. Check our blog at http://blog.browserseal.com

  • sumi

    Dec 16th

    Usefull info for new Web beginner like me. thx

  • AdAm

    Dec 17th

    Great stuff :)

  • Aadil

    Dec 24th

    This is just too good…

    awesome guys…. :)

  • estevan

    Jan 4th

    Does anyone know the name of that browser plugin that emulates other browsers within one? It emulated a few browsers liek Safari and IE6, etc.

  • Richard A

    Jan 26th

    This is an EXTREEMELY useful resources. I thought I was up to date on the best ways to do cross browser testing but I learnt a thing or two from the above.

    Thanx

  • cucci

    Jan 26th

    I would not hesitate to recommend CrossBrowserTesting.com.

  • George

    Feb 8th

    Nice list and introductions. There are some tools here that I have found really useful, especially IETester.

  • andy wotherspoon

    Feb 12th

    I’ve found that for testing sites on an iPhone a good solution, for mac users, is to download the iPhone SDK from the Apple development site and then use the iPhone Simulator App.

    http://developer.apple.com/iphone/ – You’ll need to sign up for a free developer account, but if you’re a mac user and a developer, what’s stopping you?

    This simulates an iPhone fully and allows full browsing, pinch zoom, etc. without any glitches or loss of functionality. It’s essentially like having an iPhone that’s not portable and can’t make calls, useless in that sense, but great for testing iPhone compatibility of sites.

  • Naeem Noor

    Feb 13th

    nice post, but i use Adobe’s BrowserLab https://browserlab.adobe.com/index.html

  • Steven Snell

    Feb 13th

    Naeem,
    Me too, but I didn’t know about browser lab when this post was written (it may not have even existed at that point).

  • Auri Biswas

    Feb 15th

    Thanks for the list. As this is over a year old now, and a new list may come out soon (with more contenders I am sure), here are some suggestions to make it even more helpful.

    Have a small table at the top serving as an Index / TOC with # links to the individual entries below that could be sorted alphabetically (or by popularity etc.)

    In the table, have categories such as:
    Free – No Limitations
    Free – Some Limitations
    Free – Major Limitations

    Paid – Budget
    Paid – Premium
    etc.

    Also, allowing users to rate these tools would be helpful ( to an extent ).

    Thanks again,

    Auri Biswas [ http://Art-of-Innovation.com ]

  • BrowserSeal

    Feb 17th

    Having a new list is a good idea as there are indeed many new services which are not currently mentioned.

    Making a formal comparison is a great idea as well, however free vs. paid is not the only criteria – speed and features are no less important.

  • Darby

    Apr 5th

    I use http://cross-browser.appspot.com which runs on Google appengine. It seems fast (got 7 screenshots in < 30 seconds), free, and no email info required (at least not yet :))

  • Kevin Menard

    Apr 11th

    Hi Steven,

    If you do decide to do a refreshed list, I’d love to hear what you think of http://mogotest.com/. We’re taking a different approach to the problem of dealing with cross browser rendering and Web development that we think is a bit friendlier for devs and business people alike.

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    May 29th

    Great List thank you. I hate IE 6 such a pain

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    Jul 5th

    Very cool, I swear by IEtester for really giving me a good idea for what those poor poor IE surfers are seeing.

  • Ahmet ERTEM

    Jul 16th

    https://browserlab.adobe.com/index.html check here… It’s Adobe’s online browser testing tool (free membership)

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    I use IE Tester but I really need something for mac because I had it with Windows so we are changing to mac very soon

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