Cypress vs. Selenium: Which Is Better?

Dec 11, 2023 | Product Insights

green checkmark to represent Selenium

Selenium is a classic choice for automated browser testing, but another open-source option has grown in popularity over the last several years. Cypress is a testing option that seeks to speed up and simplify the testing process. But which one is right for your team? We’ll compare Selenium vs. Cypress and help you determine which one makes the most sense for your project.

What Is Selenium?

A free and open-source software, Selenium is a web browser automation tool used for functional and non-functional software testing. It offers test scripts for performance and load testing, regression testing, integration testing, end-to-end testing, system testing, and more.

It has a suite of several tools, including Selenium Grid, Selenium IDE, Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium RC. QA testing teams like Selenium because of its comprehensive testing environment support with the ability to record and playback automated test runs. Tests using Selenium can be carried out on Windows, Mac, or Linux, across Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, or Opera. 

What Is Cypress Testing?

Cypress is an end-to-end testing framework designed to simplify the testing process for web applications. It is a newer software tool that is known for its fast execution, real-time reloads, and an extensive set of features. Cypress exclusively uses JavaScript for scripting tests and has an interactive test runner for real-time debugging. Java is most often used for GUI and front-end testing.

Selenium and Cypress: What’s the Difference?

Both Selenium and Cypress have their strengths and weaknesses. Let’s run down the different aspects of both testing tools for a direct comparison.

Ease of Use

Cypress was designed from the ground up to be an easier alternative to software like Selenium. Because it’s based in JavaScript, an easy language for most developers, and because it includes a simple setup process and intuitive interface, Cypress is one of the most user-friendly options.

Selenium, on the other hand, can have a longer setup process due to its varied languages. Testers will need to get the right drivers for their browsers and set up the test environment. Some QA testers also find Selenium more challenging and time-consuming to write for.

However, Cypress’s ease of use is a trade-off with its versatility—Cypress is easier to use for a smaller range of tasks. If Cypress’s functionality matches your team’s workflow, it can be a great choice. If not, Selenium is likely a necessary alternative.

Responsiveness

Selenium is known for having longer feedback loops, which can slow down the testing process. This can be alleviated by running parallel tests across multiple environments, but some developers can find Selenium’s speed frustrating. Cypress can run individual tests faster than Selenium, but it cannot be used on two browsers simultaneously and it doesn’t have multi-tab support.

Platforms

Selenium has broad cross-browser compatibility, including support for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari. It also allows developers to create scripts in a wide range of languages, including JavaScript, Python, Ruby, PHP, Haskell, Perl, Objective-C, and C#. Cypress, on the other hand, is limited to Firefox and Chrome-based browsers, including Edge and Electron. It also works exclusively with JavaScript.

Cost

Both platforms are free and open source, however, there can be costs associated with onboarding and implementing the testing tools. Selenium’s increased complexity and additional components may mean that its maintenance costs are slightly higher than Cypress’s. 

There are also ways to upgrade both software tools for increased functionality. Cypress has a paid service called Cypress Cloud that offers plans for small, medium, and enterprise-size teams. It includes features like visual reviews, test analytics, and integrated workflows. Meanwhile, Selenium can be improved by pairing it with paid software such as Ranorex Studio and DesignWise, which can make the process of writing and executing tests faster and easier.

Support

Selenium has a long history and an extensive, global development community that has been able to supply a wealth of documentation and development resources for testers to use. Cypress’s documentation is not as established as Selenium, but as the software builds in popularity, its support is improving. 

Cypress vs. Selenium: Which to Choose?

Which solution is the right choice will heavily depend on your team and how you plan to use the software. If you’re using JavaScript and working on Firefox or Chrome, Cypress can be faster and more user-friendly. It can be great for small teams that are looking for fast feedback and a seamless developer experience.

However, if you’re writing scripts in other languages, are considering cross-browser testing, or need to run tests on Safari or other browsers, Selenium is likely the better choice. It is ideal when working with a diverse technology stack and complex testing scenarios. However, using Selenium on its own can be challenging since it requires building, debugging, and maintaining the tests. Fortunately, using Selenium with a user-friendly automated testing tool like Ranorex can allow developers to overcome those challenges and create a powerful testing environment. 

Using Selenium with Ranorex

Ranorex Studio offers a Selenium Webdriver integration that greatly simplifies test automation. The architecture of Selenium WebDriver involves four major components: Selenium Client Libraries, JSON Wire Protocol Over HTTP Client, Browser Drivers, and Browsers.

With Selenium WebDriver offered by Ranorex Studio, you can have your automation framework work for you by allowing everyone on your team to build tests for execution without the need for expert coding knowledge.

Start a Free Trial of Ranorex

Want to see how Ranorex Studio and its Selenium WebDriver integration can improve UI testing for your team? Start a free trial to test out Ranorex for yourself.

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