Can Headless Chromium be used for automated testing?

Yes, Headless Chromium can be used for automated testing. Headless Chromium is a version of the Google Chrome browser that runs without a graphical user interface (GUI). This makes it an ideal tool for automated testing, especially for web applications, as it allows developers to simulate a real browser environment without the overhead of a display.

Headless browsers like Chromium are particularly useful for:

  • Running tests on a server without a display.
  • Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines where graphical output is not required.
  • Browser-based unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end (E2E) tests.
  • Performance testing, as headless mode might consume fewer resources.
  • Automated screenshots and PDF generation of web pages.
  • Scraping web content in an environment that executes JavaScript, unlike many simpler HTTP-based scraping tools.

Using Headless Chromium with Puppeteer (JavaScript)

Puppeteer is a Node library that provides a high-level API to control headless Chrome or Chromium over the DevTools Protocol. It is often used for browser automation and testing.

Here's a simple example of using Puppeteer for automated testing:

const puppeteer = require('puppeteer');

(async () => {
  // Launch a headless browser
  const browser = await puppeteer.launch();

  // Create a new page
  const page = await browser.newPage();

  // Navigate to the website you want to test
  await page.goto('');

  // Perform actions like clicking a button or inputting text
  // Example: await'#submit-button');

  // You can also evaluate scripts in the context of the web page
  let pageTitle = await page.evaluate(() => {
    return document.title;

  console.log(`Page title: ${pageTitle}`);

  // Run tests/assertions here

  // Close the browser
  await browser.close();

To install Puppeteer, you can use npm:

npm install puppeteer

Using Headless Chromium with Selenium WebDriver (Python)

Selenium WebDriver is another popular tool for browser automation that can control headless Chrome via language-specific bindings. Here's an example using Python:

from selenium import webdriver
from import Options

# Set up Chrome options
chrome_options = Options()
chrome_options.add_argument("--headless")  # Run in headless mode

# Path to your chromedriver
chromedriver_path = '/path/to/chromedriver'

# Initialize the browser with options
browser = webdriver.Chrome(executable_path=chromedriver_path, options=chrome_options)

# Navigate to the website you want to test

# Perform actions and tests
# Example: browser.find_element_by_id('submit-button').click()

# You can access the page's title like this

# Close the browser

To install the necessary Python packages, you can use pip:

pip install selenium

Remember, you'll need to download the appropriate ChromeDriver binary for your system and ensure it's available in your PATH or specify its location directly in the code.


  • When using headless browsers for testing, it's important to remember that they may behave slightly differently from non-headless browsers. Always ensure that your tests cover both headless and non-headless modes if your application will be used in a standard browser environment.
  • You might also want to consider using testing frameworks like Jest (for Puppeteer) or PyTest (for Selenium) to structure and run your tests.
  • For continuous integration, make sure that the CI environment is set up to support running headless Chrome or Chromium. This might involve installing dependencies and configuring the environment correctly.

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