Top 11 Challenges in Automation Testing Using Selenium

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Top 11 Challenges in Automation Testing Using Selenium

Identifying and overcoming common issues with Automation Testing with Selenium.

· Web Dev Zone ·
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“Automation Testing using Selenium” – If you are a tester, developer, or even a part of a QA team, you might be well versed with this term, but if you have never used or implemented automation testing with Selenium in your career, then you might not know about the difficulties that it brings to a QA team.

No doubt Selenium makes it easier for users to test web applications and websites, but there are some challenges that developers and testers encounter while using it. Here, we are going to talk about the most common challenges faced by testing teams during Selenium automation testing.

1. Pop-Up Windows

The pop-ups that we receive on the screen during automation testing are part of the operating system, but Selenium often fails to record these pop-ups in web apps, which makes it hard for developers to automate this process. Moreover, windows-based alerts are beyond Selenium's capabilities as they are part of the operating system, not the browser. Although, the Selenium WebDriver can operate multiple windows, so you can handle web-based alerts generally with the help of the switchTo technique to control the pop-up while the browser runs in the background.

Another method to handle pop-up alert is to apply a  getAlert function . Before running your Selenium script, import a package to it to generate a WebDriver script, which has the following commands – getText () ,  void dismiss () , and  void accept () . The last two commands will work as the Cancel or OK command to control pop-ups.

2. Identifying Dynamic Elements

Many web apps or websites often have web elements that are dynamic in nature, which are not visible when you visit the site for the first time. This means that the web pages are user-specific and display different data for different users based on their requirements; new data appears on the web page after a certain period of time or when a user clicks something on the page. For example, if the ID of an element is changing on every page load, then it’s not easy to handle this situation in a normal way.

The dynamic elements can be handled with dynamic XPath or dynamic CSS selectors. You can also use functions, such as contains, ends with, starts-with, etc. to handle dynamic objects.

3. Timeout or Sync Issue

Whether you call it a timeout or sync issue, it is one of the most common challenges in Selenium test automation. If you don’t handle this issue carefully, most of your testing script might fail. It is even proved many times that around 80% of scripts fail due to improper sync while executing automation testing. Though this problem can be avoided using smart waits like Implicit waits, Fluent waits, and explicit waits that are available within Selenium. You can write your own custom method to handle the sync issues.

For example, if you use explicit waits, you can make the Selenium WebDriver freeze the execution and wait until certain conditions are met. This is just one example; you can accomplish the explicit wait in multiple ways.

4. Cross Browser Testing

Selenium is widely used for automated cross-browser testing of web apps because it supports multiple languages and operating systems. While automating cross-browser testing with Selenium, many developers found that some elements of the web app work in one browser and not in others. It is necessary to make sure that your web app works well and appropriately in every browser; otherwise, you can lose out on a high traffic rate.

To avoid this issue, you should run the script again and again on different browsers and analyze the results. If it fails on some browsers, then you will have to change the locator strategy. 

5. Testing of Mobile Apps

Selenium allows us to test web apps on any operating system and browser on desktops, but when it comes to mobile app testing, it cannot work with operating systems like Android and iOS. For instance, the version of Twitter that you run in the Safari browser on your Mac system can be tested with Selenium, but it cannot be tested in a mobile Safari browser on your iPhone or Android phone.

There is an alternative solution to this. Appium, an open-source automation testing framework that uses WebDriver protocol to drive native, hybrid, and iOS and Android mobile apps can be used.

6. Page Loading

As mentioned earlier, some of the web pages in a web app are user-specific and load different elements depending on the user. Some features even appear based on the user’s previous activity. For example, if you have a drop-down menu for Italian food, then food items related to that category will appear in the food dropdown. During the runtime, the Selenium script might not be able to identify the element. Therefore, to overcome this issue, you can use explicit waits to provide elements enough time to load and to discover the element.

7. Scalability

Because it is an open-source platform, Selenium allows you to test on almost every browser and operating system, but there are still limitations on the number of tests you can run at once with Selenium and how quickly it can execute them based on the number of hub/node configurations you have.

The primary goal of automation testing is to execute as many tests as possible for an extensive test coverage in minimum time. At the initial stage, your web app might have short test builds, but as it grows, the test will expand with every sprint. With Selenium WebDriver, you can sequentially perform automation testing, but it might not be as effective as you want it to be. So, Selenium is not the most scalable approach for automation testing.

Selenium Grid can empower your testing process by running tests in parallel. Though there is one drawback with it; you cannot test your web app across multiple combinations of OS and browsers. It only allows you to run tests on a specific browser and OS at one time. However, using a cloud-based tool, you can test your web app across multiple browsers and OS at once. It will reduce the time to run automated tests while increasing the configurations you can test on.

8. Multi-Tab Testing

Selenium provides you the ability to test your web app in multiple tabs, but this functionality can turn out to be an obstacle if you don’t know the exact commands. For example, if you want to perform a specific action on a new tab without closing the current tab, you won’t be able to control both the tabs and go back to the parent tab.

To overcome this challenge, try to store the current window handle in one variable, and then go to the new window and store it in the second variable. After that, use the switchTo method to switch between both the windows as per your needs.

9. Limited Reporting

No doubt Selenium can enormously improve automated testing capabilities, but due to some limitations, it cannot generate good testing reports. Every tester needs a good testing report after executing test cases, as it helps analyze the entire test scenario and find bugs in it. 

10. Limited Captcha Handling

With Selenium, you cannot handle captcha completely. Though there are some third-party tools that can help in automating captcha, achieving one hundred percent results is still not possible.

11. Supports Only Web-Based Applications

Selenium only supports automated testing for web-based applications, which means you cannot test windows-based apps with it.

It is also necessary to note that Selenium cannot automate everything. There are still some tasks that you will have to execute manually. Therefore, it’s vital to have knowledge of programming languages for using Selenium.


Selenium is one of the best tools to automate your testing process, but every good thing comes with some drawbacks. In this article, we have covered the most common challenges that are often faced by developers and testing teams during automation testing with Selenium. Meanwhile, we have also mentioned the absolute solution to overcome these challenges. If you know of any other challenges that become an obstacle in Selenium automation testing, then do let us know about it in the comment section.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Automated Testing, check out this collection of tutorials and articles on all things Automated Testing.

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