Cross-browser testing is a crucial aspect when you are changing WordPress themes and site design. A Cross-browser test ensures that the WordPress website looks and functions correctly on all browsers, screen sizes, operating systems, and mobile devices.
In this article, I will show you how easy it is to perform WordPress cross-browser testing. We’ll use a few different tools that are readily at your disposal.
What is WordPress Cross-Browser Testing?
Simply put, when you perform a WordPress cross-browser test, you are utilizing a testing process to make sure your WordPress website looks and works correctly on multiple browsers, operating systems, screen sizes, and mobile devices.
Why Should I Test in Multiple Browsers?
Believe it or not, there are still several browsers that have enough users to make cross-browser testing your WordPress website important.
Yes, Google Chrome owns the lion’s share of users. A dominant 65% market share on desktop computers and 57% on mobile devices.
That being said, other browsers like Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera are still fairly widely used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Since there are so many browsers still being used, cross-browser testing is an integral part of the website design process. You want to be able to provide a consistent experience for your website users—no matter which browser they choose to view your site.
While all of the most popular browsers usually behave identically when it comes to rendering website pages, they do all use different code. What this means is that website elements may be handled differently from time-to-time on specific browsers.
This means that the website may look or act differently across browsers periodically. Since these are not common or significant WordPress errors, often, they will go missed for months. This is why it is considered best practice to cross-browser test WordPress sites.
None of Us Have Access to Every Browser
I know you are thinking… I just don’t have the kind of tools I need to properly pull off WordPress cross-browser testing. You might be right. Even if you could borrow devices from friends, it would be a lot of work to manually switch back and forth, trying to figure out any errors or issues that have popped up.
Don’t worry about it, as there are some cross-browser testing tools that help automate this entire process. Some with as little as just one click.
Before I give you a list of tools to use for WordPress cross-browser testing, let’s take a quick look at how to find out which browsers are the most popular among your website users. This will allow you to focus on those specific browsers.
Find Out Which Browsers Your Website Visitors Use
Since there are several popular browsers still being used (as mentioned above), it can be a very tedious and time-consuming task to try and figure out which ones your website users like to utilize.
There is a tool that helps you figure this out very quickly. Google Analytics can provide you data regarding which browsers, operating systems, and devices are popular among your website users. Once you have this info in hand, it will make the rest of the cross-browser testing much more manageable.
To access this information, simply log into your Google Analytics account. Once you are in your account, click on Audience > Technology, and you will be shown a detailed report regarding browsers, screen sizes, and operating systems. Use this to perform your WordPress cross-browser testing.
Now let’s take a look at the best WordPress cross-browser testing tools available to you.
Best WordPress Cross-Browser Testing Tools
The following WordPress cross-browser testing tools will make it easy for you to test your new or redesigned WordPress site. You can see how it performs across multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices.
Just a few clicks here and there using these tools, and you will be able to test your WordPress website across different browsers.
BrowserShots is an open-source tool that will allow you to test your website with several browsers on different operating systems. As is the case with most tools for anything, there are good and bad things about BrowserShots.
The best thing about BrowserShots is the fact that it is open source and it is a free cross-browser testing tool. So, no money lost if you want to use this one to check your site.
The main downside to this WordPress cross-browser test system is that it does not support Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. While we know these two browsers are used much less than others, they both remain, and in many instances, you will want to know if your website works correctly on them.
It also does not include mobile device support.
To properly use BrowserShots, you simply enter your website URL and then select the browsers you want to test. Browsers are listed in three columns for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS.
When you submit your URL link/s, you will need to wait for a little bit while the test runs. When BrowserShots is done running the test, they will give you screenshots to look at. You can now click on the screenshots and expand them to see how everything looks.
Note: BrowserShots takes screenshots of a website. This means that it is not live-testing. You may not be able to see if your website works as intended during the tests. For that, you’ll need tools that run live tests in actual browsers.
CrossBrowserTesting is a very powerful cross browsing testing tool that is also easy to use and will provide both live testing and screenshots features.
More often than not, if you want to really get down to business and do some serious WordPress cross-browser testing, this is the tool you will want to use. This is a paid service, but it is well worth it. There is also a free trial available that allows you 100 minutes to test out and play with the service.
Once you have created an account, go to the “Live Test” tab where you can select an operating system and browser. The program will load your website URL in the actual browser appearing live on your screen.
You can also get multiple screen grabs at once, which will enable you to run the “screenshots test.” CrossBrowserTesting tool will automatically fetch screenshots on Mac, Windows, iPad, and Nexus 6P mobile phone running Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge web browsers.
There are a ton more options and functions, and again, if you are serious about WordPress cross-browser testing, this tool is probably for you, so give it a trial run.
Pricing will start at around $29 per month billed annually.
BrowserStack is another paid WordPress cross-browser testing tool for websites and mobile apps. Like CrossBrowserTesting, they too offer a free trial, but they only give you 30 minutes to play with the program before deciding if it is right for you.
The BrowserStack cross-browser testing tool comes with both live testing and screenshots features. You can select the platform you want to test and then select a browser. BrowserStack will load the virtual emulator with an actual browser window. You can simply enter the URL you want to test to start the test.
It works pretty much the same as the other two cross browsing test tools in this article. The results you get are very accurate and will be satisfying. That being said, you will still have to perform the tests manually by opening up each browser.
Pricing will start at around $29 per month billed annually.
How To Properly Analyze Cross-Browser Test Screenshots
Here is the bottom line. You have all the info on how to find the most popular browsers for your site visitors, and you also have the info for the best tools to use.
Analyzing your screenshots from the cross-browser testing tool results isn’t difficult. To be honest, if you are running a responsive WordPress theme with good quality code behind it, then most of your screenshots will look pretty much the same. You should be good to go and feel good knowing your WordPress website is running correctly in all tested browsers.
That being said, there will be some cases where website elements may look slightly different from one browser to another. If this difference is minor and doesn’t impact user experience, aesthetics, or functionality, then you can ignore it.
If there is a noticeable difference or something stands out that is indeed affecting user experience, then it will need your attention.
In most WordPress cross-browser tests, you will discover CSS issues with your theme. These issues can be fixed using the Inspect Tool in your browser of choice to find out which CSS rules need to be updated. When you find the rules that need to be changed, deleted, or added, then you can add the custom CSS to fix the issues.
It’s Never Too Late to Call In Reinforcements
If you are having a tough time finding and fixing the issues you are presented with, then it may be time to hire a WordPress developer to help you out some.
I hope this article helps you understand how easy it is to perform WordPress cross-browser testing on your website. You always want to make sure your website is functioning correctly on all browsers, for all your users. Now you have the information and tools to get this done.
Which tool did you use to run your cross-browser tests? Do you use another system not mentioned?
Author: Jeremy Holcombe
Growing up in Hawaii, Jeremy started his freelance writing career doing resumes, business plans, article writing, and everything in between. He now specializes in online marketing and content writing and is part of the Content Marketing Team at GreenGeeks.