What are the pros and cons of using Selenium for automated testing?

Karyn Roark's picture
Karyn Roark asked on April 2, 2014 - 8:12am | Replies (13).

We are looking at testing tools and Selenium was recommended. So we are trying to find out what the pros and cons of using Selenium are for automated testing from testers who have been using it.


What is the product to be tested?

I've actually seen this type of question a lot, because people see "open source" and think of it as a free solutoin.  After talking to a number of other software companies, the consenses is that Selenium can be powerful, but only if you're willing to spend lots of time/money building out a framework and customizing it to meet your need.  Based on all of those discussions, I wrote the following article which examines the true cost of using Selenium: Why Selenium Isn't Really Free

13 Answers

Sudhir Patil's picture

If you are automating testing for Web based applications, IMO Selenium-WebDriver is the best available option. Not because it is open source but it is widely used and well supported by the community.

There are obvious Prons, let me highlight some of the Cons like,

1. Demands higher technical competencies, I would say tool of choice for developers. QA team members need to learn programming.

2. Need to work with many and connect third party frameworks (TestNG, Firebug etc) right from object identification, reporting, integrations with other ALM solutions etc.

Having said that it is still the best option for automated tesing with structured and methodical approach.

Timothy Western's picture

Sudhir has done a good job highlighting some of the higher level concerns, and the skill needs on a team so I won't focus on that.   I'd instead like to suggest that Selenium should never be used as your only automated testing tool.


Selenium/Webdriver is a tool primarily useful for end-to-end style automation.  While I have seen a small few developers wrap a few tiny almost unit UI tests around it, I do not feel it gives you your best bang for the buck.  In fact if automation is a goal of your team you likely want to be very judicious and careful where you  apply selenium.  Building a framework around selenium, using page objects, and then maintaing the other parts of the framework, that over time will need revision as the application under test changes will consume a good bit of your test teams time.   


Because of this you may want to find very specific types of tests to apply through the front-end with Selenium.  This means your team will want to apply other frameworks and tools to more lower level tests.  If you take a look at this blog post about inverting the testing pyramix, you'll see the same recommendation (http://nunoborges.com/nunoblog/2011/2/23/inverting-the-testing-pyramid.html) that you want to spend a lot more time with unit and functional level tests, and then less so on api, and GUI.  


There are many reasons for this.  Unit and functional tests are much closer to the code and thus are easier to setup quickly and isolate for behavioral testing.  API Testing is also good, as it allows you to check out the under lying business logic in a smaller subset of integration tests.   The UI Tests can also bring some value, but I warn you, they are going to be slow, and slower over time.  I've seen suites that have had to be broken up to keep build times under thirty minutes or an hour.  This is not uncommon when a vast amount of UI testing is being applied.  

So because of this, you want to apply different test techniques at each level, and try to leverage the scale differences and speed you gain, so that your UI tests can do what they are best at, verifying the interface is working, and less on its functional aspects.

Karyn Roark's picture

I would like to thank all of you for your responses to my question.  Your feedback is very helpful and much appreciated.

Karyn Roark

Ashwani Sharma's picture

As far as i know that pros and cons are different frameworks.. but i also would like to read best anwere of this question.. thanks dear to ask this question.

David Christian's picture

Well, from my point of view, following are some of pros and cons of using Selenium for automated testing


  • Low Cost Tool
  • Browser Compatibility Testing
  • Choice of Language
  • Multiple Testing Frameworks
  • Easy to Integrate With Testing Ecosystem
  • Open for Enhancement
  • Test Driven Development
  • Useful for Comprehensive Testing


  • Problems While Testing
  • Issues with finding Locators
  • Limitation in Browser Support
  • Manual Scripts Not Allowed
  • Slow Performance
Avinash Chandrashekar's picture

Firstly selenium only work over browser, if your work involves any application not accessible from browser, selenium will be a challenge.

Probably if you can describe the nature of your project would be able to guide further

Lee Kevin993's picture

Well for me it has two strong pros  firstly Selenium tests are, in principle, able to run under multiple browsers and secondly although Selenium has its own script language, you are not limited to writing in that language since it can work with language bindings to support whatever your developers/testers are comfortable with including C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python,content transfer app and others.

swapnali kadu's picture


pros and cons of using Selenium for automated software testing?


It is open source tool, anyone can download & use

It supports various operating environments (Windows, Linux, Mac etc...)

It supports various programming languages to create and execute Tests

It supports all popular web browsers

It supports parallel test execution

It uses less Hardware resources as compare to other popular tools like ...QTP/UFT


Since it is open source tool, No reliable Technical support (Official Users Group, Chat room in seleniumhq.org)

It doesn't support Desktop Applications/Windows bases applications

No Other tool integration for Test Management

Difficult to use as compare to other tools like QTP/UFT

It is a set of tools, e.g. JDK+Eclipes+Webdriver+TestNG+Firebug+Firepath so tool setup is more difficult than other tools like QTP/UFT where you configure one tool

New features may not work properly

Deployment of selenium is manual and thus more difficult than the UI of tools like UFT / RFT

Raveesh kumar's picture

No Other tool integration for Test Management


Sourabh Chowdhury's picture

Selenium is used for both web and mobile applications and it is having web drivers for web applications.


Benefits of selenium testing:


  • Platform Portability

  • Open Source Advantage

  • Flexibility and efficiency

  • Language Support


Limitations with selenium are as follows:

  • Doesn’t support automation of Windows applications.

  • Difficult while processing popups or frames.


A great platform for appium and selenium mobile app testing is QAppAssure by MOZARK. You can test on-cloud and on-field devices, across 100+ device, make and models, Integrate with Jira, CI/CD tools and also use Appium, Calabash, Espresso, UIAutomator, XCUITest.


Kanika Vatsyayan's picture

Hey Karyn,  

From my experience of using selenium, some very obvious pros of using the tool include its open-source community and multi-language support. Most importantly, it can be run on the web easily and does not need you to pay for it. I believe it is a highly convenient tool to automate your web test projects.  

As long as, it is concerned with cons, it is more of those tools that demand the testers to have complete knowledge of language and other technicalities. This is why it may appear complicated at times. Besides, it is only limited to the test of web applications which naturally limits its use and therefore turns to be a big no for many who are ready to invest in some advanced automation tools.  

All in all, selenium is more of a pioneering technology that has shaped the entire automation testing environment. Thus, it is very likely to sustain and have an impact on the world of test automation.  
Here’s a quick read highlighting how selenium could redefine the future of software testing 



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