In today’s world, websites have become very common and every business or organization or even individuals own websites. With the progress in technology, it has become quite easy to build a website for businesses of any size. You don’t even need professional web designers to make a website these days with many free and open source content management systems available to build websites on your own. Whatever be your business - a multi-million dollar IT company, an educational institution, any service providing company, a beauty salon, a textile shop, having a website gives you an online presence and helps you establish your business. It is the most important marketing tool you need to have to market your business online.

Having a professional and perfect website is the key to position yourself online and create a first impression to your customers who visit the website. So, now you build a stunning website for your business and it goes live. But what if you get feedback from others saying you have spelling errors on your website or your website cannot be viewed in mobile devices, images in your website do not appear in some browsers, or it takes a lot of time to load pages or images, and so on! That is not definitely going to be a good first impression for anyone who visits your site. That’s where web testing comes in. Web testing ensures you have an error free website by identifying issues and bugs that could potentially arise in your website before it goes live. To put it simple, Web testing includes testing various aspects of a web application to ensure proper functioning of the website.

Now we have seen what is web testing and why it is essential, so how is it done is the next question. We said it’s testing various aspects of web application- so what are these different aspects? The process of web testing includes various critical testing steps to ensure the end user of the website is satisfied using the application. For this it’s not just the website functionalities that has to be tested, but various interfaces of the website, the web applications browser compatibility as well as performance and many more aspects needs to be checked. Let’s discuss this in detail. Given below are some of the basic types of testing that would be required for a website.

Functionality Testing

Functional testing of a website includes testing the web pages formatting, content, various functionalities, data validations, etc. Complete testing of the end to end workflow of business scenarios with positive and negative scenarios may be done in functional testing. Functional testing also covers checking all the links, forms, and the cookies are working as expected. Validation of HTML, CSS and JavaScript tags are also done in functional testing. Functional testing may be done manually or automated. QTP/UFT, Selenium, IBM Rational Functional Tester, etc are the most popularly used tools for functional testing.

Performance Testing

Performance testing is done to ensure that your website works under various loads. It includes load testing and stress testing which determines how your application behaves during normal and peak loads. Stress testing in particular determines how your application responds to very high load and identifies parts that fail under high loads. Performance testing also tests for how the application recovers from a crash due to high loads. Tools like JMeter, WebLoad and HP LoadRunner are used for performance testing.

Security Testing

Security is very critical for web applications especially for e-commerce sites using sensitive information like credit card details, Banking websites, etc. Security testing deals with various security aspects of the website like validating logins and access to secure pages, downloading files without appropriate access, session time out after prolonged user inactivity, validating CAPTCHA fields and much more. The primary aim of security testing is to ensure web application security and protect data. Various web security testing tools that can proactively detect application vulnerabilities and safeguard your websites against potential attacks are available like Zed Attack Proxy(ZAP), W3Af, BFB Tester etc.

Database Testing

This revolves around your web application’s database. Database testing involves testing if any errors are there while executing queries and also tests if the data retrieved from database is shown accurately in the web application. It also checks for response time and fine tunes them if necessary. Tools like QTP and Selenium supports database testing as well.

Compatibility Testing

As you know, customers access your website from different types of browsers, systems or devices. The rendering of various web elements like buttons, images, text fields, forms etc often changes with change in operating systems or browsers. Compatibility testing deals with testing the compatibility of the web application in various browsers, operating systems, mobile device views or printing options. SauceLabs,Ghostlab, Browsershots, CrossBrowserTesting, etc are some of the tools commonly used for compatibility testing.

Usability Testing

This is one of the types of testing that is gaining importance these days. With the rise in competition, the presentation and ease of use of websites have become far more important than ever before. Usability testing deals with testing the user-friendliness of a website. It checks for the legibility of the website content and ensures it is free from grammatical or spelling errors. Usability testing also test for navigations- like if the users have easy controls to move from page to page, common navigation objects like sitemap and help links are working and consistent across all pages, test the flow of application and ease of use for customers and checks if there are clear enough instructions for customers on how to operate or accomplish something in the website, test the search functionality in the application, etc. Usability testing is one type of testing which is preferred to be manual tested rather than being automated. This is because it tests for real customer experience and is best performed by a human itself. Usability testing may be carried out by testers itself or sometimes in some organizations it is done by a small group of people similar to the target audience of the website.

Interface Testing

In web testing, the various interfaces of the application need to be tested. The main interfaces are the web server and application server interface, and the application server and database server interface. Interface testing deals with testing if all the interactions between these servers are executed properly and ensure there are no errors. Ranorex and AlertFox are the popular tools used for interface testing.

That concludes the various types of testing involved in web testing. For a website to be successful most of these aspects need to be tested thoroughly before its launch. There may be slight variations in the types of testing required based on your application and needs. But these are some of the basic things needed in most of the cases. After all, the ultimate goal of web testing is to launch a perfect website with no bugs and is user friendly. Hope this article helped throw some light on what is web testing, why it is essential and how it can be done!