Web Application Testing Tutorial (How To Test A Website)

Web application testing ensures that an application is fully functional and running smoothly and securely.

The IBM System Science Institute found that the defects found in testing were 15 times more costly than if they were found during the design phase and 2 times more than if found during implementation.

It’s very important to find the bugs as early as possible and ensure that an application is running properly before its release. That is where web application testing comes into the picture.

In this post, we will see the following:

Web Application Testing Tutorial

Web applications run in a web browser, rather than being installed on a user’s device. Web applications run on any device that can access the internet which includes desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones. There is no need to download or install an update. New features are immediately available to the users when an application is updated.

We need to test our web applications thoroughly before it moves to live. By doing web application testing, we can make sure that our web-based application is functioning properly and can be accepted by real-time end users.

Web applications are easily scalable, support multiple browsers and devices, platform independent and reduces the cost.
A web application should go through a series of validations to ensure the functionality, usability, accessibility, compatibility, performance, and security of the application. So every tester should adopt web application testing techniques which we are going to mention below.

Every tester should know these web application testing techniques.


What is Web Application Testing?

Web Application testing is also known as Web Testing or Website Testing.

In simple words, web application testing is to check a web application for potential bugs either before it moves to the production environment or once it is live on the web and accessible to end users. It’s a software testing technique to test the functionality, usability, accessibility, compatibility, performance and security of the application which is hosted on the web.

Web testing is to find issues which might have a negative effect on the website or web application.

Web applications need to be tested completely from end-to-end before it goes live for end users.


Difference between Desktop, Client Server Testing And Web Application Testing:

In general, software applications are being designed to function in different environments such as desktop, client-server, and web applications.

Before learning the difference between desktop, client-server and web application testing. I recommend you to read Software Architecture: One-Tier, Two-Tier, Three Tier, N Tier


Desktop Application Testing:

Desktop applications run stand alone in a desktop or laptop computer. While testing a desktop application, we have to focus on a specific environment. Following testing types may be used to do desktop application testing.

  • Usability Testing
  • Functional Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Backend Testing

Some examples of desktop applications are MS-Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Corel Draw, Avast, etc.


Client-Server Application Testing:

In client-server application, the application is loaded on the server and the application executable (exe) is loaded on the client machine.

While testing client-server application, we have to focus on both client and server machine.

Following testing types may be used to do desktop application testing.

  • GUI Testing
  • Functional Testing
  • Configuration testing
  • Compatibility testing
  • Interoperability testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Backend Testing

Some examples of client-server applications are FTP, E-mail, Web Browsers, Gateway, Microsoft.NET


Web Application Testing:

Web applications run in a web browser, rather than being installed on a user’s device. Web applications run on any device that can access the internet which includes desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Web applications are easily scalable, support multiple browsers and devices, platform independent and reduces the cost.

By doing web application testing, we can make sure that our web-based application is functioning properly and can be accepted by real-time end users. A web application should go through a series of validations to ensure the functionality, usability, accessibility, compatibility, performance, and security of the application.

Read more on the difference between Desktop, Client Server, and Web Application Testing here


How to test Web Application:

To do web application testing effectively, we perform the following testing types or testing techniques depending on our test requirements.

Web Application Testing Types or Techniques

  1. Documentation Testing
  2. Functionality Testing
  3. Usability Testing
  4. Interface Testing
  5. Database Testing
  6. Compatibility Testing
  7. Performance Testing
  8. Security Testing
  9. Crowd Testing

Also read: 100+ Types of Software Testing


Documentation Testing:

Poor documentation can affect the quality of the product. Good product documentation plays a critical role in the final product. So documentation testing has a vital role in Software Testing. Testing the documented artifacts that are developed prior, during and after the testing of a product is known as documentation testing.

Some commonly used artifacts are as follows

Read more on Documentation Testing here


Functionality Testing:

What the system actually does is functional testing. To verify that each function of the software application behaves as specified in the requirement document. Testing all the functionalities by providing appropriate input to verify whether the actual output is matching the expected output or not. It is used for checking the workflows, all the links of the web pages, form testing, cookie testing, and database connection.

Typically, functional testing includes the following tasks:

Testing UI Workflows.

A tester needs to test end to end workflow or business scenarios. Writing test scenarios or test cases would be recommended to cover different scenarios and set pass criteria.

Testing HyperLinks (Link Testing):

A tester needs to ensure all the links on a website are working correctly and make sure there are no broken links. Types of links include Internal links, Outgoing links, Anchor links, etc.,

Forms Testing (Input field validation):

Forms are used to do interactive communication with end users. A tester needs to ensure all the forms are working as expected.

Forms testing includes:

  • Verify whether the default values are being populated
  • Verify whether an error message is shown when a user does not fill a mandatory field
  • Verify whether the form is accepting invalid values or not
  • Verify whether the forms are optimally formatted for better readability
  • Verify whether the AJAX fields are populating the values correctly at run time
  • Verify whether the drop-down lists are loading with options

Cookie Testing:

A Cookie is a small piece of information sent from a website and stored on the users in the users hard drive (in a text file) by the user’s web browser while the user is browsing and is sent back to the website each time the browser requests a page from the website.

Cookie Testing is the process of verifying whether the cookies are working as intended or not. In cookie testing, testers need to test the status of the cookie, expiration of cookie, accessibility of cookie, security constraints, etc.,

Read more on Cookie Testing here

Validate HTML and CSS:

A tester needs to test whether a site has clean HTML structure and optimized CSS as per W3C standards. Also to ensure that search engines can crawl the site easily.

  • Verify HTML syntax errors
  • Verify color schemas are readable
  • Verify the sitemap are accurate or not

Useful tools to perform functional website testing are Selenium, IBM Rational, UFT, etc.,


Usability Testing:

To verify whether the application is user-friendly or not and was comfortably used by an end user or not. The main focus in this testing is to check whether the end user can understand and operate the application easily or not. An application should be self-exploratory and must not require training to operate it.

Usability testing is performed by testers internally or by getting external testers (a small focus group) that fit the target audience of the web application.

Usability testing involves test the site navigation and tests the content.

Test the site navigation:

Navigation testing includes:

  • All pages of your site are understandable and easy to use
  • Menus, Buttons, Links are easily visible and consistent on all webpages

Test the Content:

Content testing checklist:

  • There are no grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Images should contain an “alt” text
  • Content should be informative, understandable, and logically linked


Interface Testing:

Interface testing is to test the interface between the web server and application server, application server and database server have proper interaction or not. It ensures a positive user experience. It includes verifying the communication processes as well as making sure that error messages are displaying correctly.


Database Testing:

It is AKA back-end testing or data testing.

Database testing involves verifying the integrity of data in the front end with the data present in the back end. It validates the schema, database tables, columns, indexes, stored procedures, triggers, data duplication, orphan records, junk records. It involves updating records in a database and verifying the same on the front end.

Database testing includes the following:

  • Data validity testing
  • Data integrity testing
  • Database performance testing
  • Testing of procedures, triggers, and functions


Compatibility Testing:

Compatibility testing is to ensure whether an application is compatible across different browsers and on a variety of devices.

Browser Compatibility Testing:

Cross Browser Testing is a type of non-functional test which helps us ensure that our website or web application works as expected in various web browsers.

While testing a website, we need to ensure that our website is appearing the same across all the browsers. To do this we need to have all the browsers. Fortunately, there are some tools to perform cross-browser testing without testing individually in a manual way.

We need to provide the same experience for users no matter what type of OS, the browser they are using. Not everyone uses the same environment. Even though Google Chrome is the most popular one in the current market, still most of the users are using Mozilla Firefox, Safari and others. If a website doesn’t function properly on a particular browser, then user experience hurts

Device Compatibility Testing:

This test confirms that the web application is responsive and works on devices of different sizes and different operating systems.


Performance Testing:

In software, performance testing (also called Perf Testing) determines or validates the speed, scalability, and/or stability characteristics of the system or application under test. Performance is concerned with achieving response times, throughput, and resource-utilization levels that meet the performance objectives for the project or product.

Web application performance testing is conducted to mitigate the risk of availability, reliability, scalability, responsiveness, stability, etc. of a system.

Performance testing encompasses a number of different types of testing like load testing, volume testing, stress testing, capacity testing, soak/endurance testing and spike testing each of which is designed to uncover or solve performance problems in a system.

Capacity Testing:

Capacity Testing is to determine how many users a system/application can handle successfully before the performance goals become unacceptable. This allows us to avoid the potential problems in the future such as increased user base or increased volume of data. It helps users to identify a scaling strategy in order to determine whether a system should scale up or scale out. It is done majorly for eCommerce and Banking sites. are some examples. This testing is sometimes called Scalability testing.

Load Testing:

Load Testing is to verify that a system/application can handle the expected number of transactions and to verify the system/application behavior under both normal and peak load conditions (no. of users).

Volume Testing:

Volume Testing is to verify whether a system/application can handle a large amount of data. This testing focuses on Data Base. Performance tester who does volume testing has to populate a huge volume of data in a database and monitors the behavior of a system.

Stress Testing:

Stress Testing is to verify the behavior of the system once the load increases more than the system’s design expectations. This testing addresses which components fail first when we stress the system by applying the load beyond the design expectations. So that we can design a more robust system.

Soak/Endurance Testing:

Soak Testing is aka Endurance Testing. Running a system at high load for a prolonged period of time to identify the performance problems is called Soak Testing. It is to make sure the software can handle the expected load over a long period of time.

Spike Testing:

Spike Testing is to determine the behavior of the system under a sudden increase of load (a large number of users) on the system.

Read more on Performance Testing here


Security Testing:

Security testing is a process to determine whether the system protects data and maintains functionality as intended.

Security testing aims to find out all possible loopholes and weaknesses of the system in the starting stage itself to avoid inconsistent system performance, unexpected breakdown, loss of information, loss of revenue, loss of customer’s trust.

Security tests include testing for vulnerabilities such as

  • SQL Injection
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Session Management
  • Broken Authentication
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
  • Security Misconfiguration
  • Failure to Restrict URL Access
  • Secure Data Exposure
  • Insecure Direct Object Reference
  • Missing Function Level Access Control
  • Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
  • Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards

Read more on Security Testing here


Crowd Testing or Crowdsourced testing:

Crowd testing or crowdsourced testing is an emergent trend in Software Testing which leverages a crowd (a large number of people) to test software applications quickly and effectively. Usually, testing is done by in-house software testers or outsourced QA consultants whereas crowdsourced testing is done by a community of expert QAs around the world through an online crowdsourced platform.


Hope you have found the answer to the question “how to test a website” and it helps you build a better plan for website testing. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

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