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Introduction to Selenium Grid

In 2008, Phillipe Hanrigou created Selenium Grid as part of the Selenium suite. Selenium Grid allows you to execute tests on machines running multiple browsers and operating systems at once.

Selenium Grid is comprised of a hub and multiple nodes for execution. You can think of the hub as a command center where you load your tests into. The hub is a single machine with one browser and operating system where the tests are run.

The node is where you see browser automation. Nodes provide environments for the test executions you run through the hub. There can be multiple nodes with different browsers and operating systems, but they are all connected to the hub to receive Selenium instances. The more nodes you have, the more tests you can run simultaneously.

The Need for a Selenium Grid

The main benefit of Selenium Grid is to speed up testing. By providing an environment that allows tests to be executed on different browsers and operating systems at the same time, this lets you address cross-browser issues all at once, reducing the time it would take to do so sequentially.

For Continuous Integration motions, testing demands to be done at a rapid pace, and running tests sequentially can be painfully slow. Running in parallel on a grid can improve the speed of your testing greatly. Since you’re running multiple tests at the same time, rather than one after the other, you’re testing gets done in the fraction of the time it normally takes. This will help your team achieve continuous testing so release deadlines can be met on time with fewer bugs going through to customers.

Additionally, rather than only testing on one or two browsers, you can substantially increase your test coverage with parallel testing, hitting configurations you didn’t even realize were an issue and finding erorrs in code faster. Rather than just testing on Chrome in Windows, you can reach Safari, Firefox, and Opera on Mac and Windows, and much more, with a Selenium grid.

In-House Selenium Grid vs. Selenium Grid in the Cloud

    While there used to be a minimal number of browser configurations to test for, there are now many competing browsers and updates spread over a number of years. The ability to use the latest devices and browsers to test on is a critical requirement for development teams building consumer-facing products.

    While you can make your own Selenium grid with a costly device lab or VMs, many have found moving Selenium grid to a third-party cloud like CrossBrowserTesting is faster and more productive, allowing more tests to run on more machines in less time.

    With over 1500 browsers to choose from, the possibilities of parallel test execution with CrossBrowserTesting are almost limitless. Our browser, device, and operating system selection includes all the latest configurations as well as legacy browsers so you can test what your users are on without worrying about any of the associated costs or upkeep.

    On the other hand, there are certain real costs of building an in-house environment as well as countless other secondary costs of not going with a cloud provider, like CrossBrowserTesting.

    Buying an adequate number of devices, staffing a device lab, and maintaining VMs and licenses will all take a great deal of resources and financial investment. Not to mention, worrying about equipment maintenance, reliability, and other factors will eventually impact a negative ROI for in-house device labs unless you are consistently putting effort and energy into the upkeep.

    While a device lab may seem like a realistic answer to testing in theory, there are infinite components that inevitably prevent the process from being profitable and effective, especially as technology continually advances and sites are constantly optimized.

    Having a fast, reliable, and effective tool like CrosBrowserTesting that lets you keep all your Selenium testing in one place makes your team’s life easier and more productive.



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