Troubleshooting Common Selenium WebDriver Issues and Solutions

Troubleshooting Common Selenium WebDriver Issues and Solutions

Testing the application thoroughly before delivering it to end users is essential to ensure its effectiveness, as well as to avoid issues and defects in the future. To fulfill the increasing demand from users for the latest version of web applications, developers are constantly under pressure to continually deliver upgrades every few weeks. But as the application gets complex and the task gets repetitive testing them manually becomes laborious, repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to errors.

Therefore, avoiding these issues and executing tests quickly and accurately has led testers to rely on automation. Automation testing helps to shorten the application development lifecycle and maintain the reliability and quality of the application under test. To achieve this, testers need the assistance of automation solutions like Selenium.

Selenium is a popular open-source web automation testing framework that has become increasingly popular among testers due to the growing demand for rigorous testing of complex web applications. The use of Selenium testing has made life easier for testers. It enables them to test their applications more quickly and efficiently across many platforms and browsers. 

Selenium is widely preferred over other tools because of its open-source nature, ease of use, availability, and simplicity.    

Selenium tool suite consists of three different components:

Selenium IDE (Integrated Development Environment), Selenium WebDriver, and Selenium Grid. Each of these tools/components addresses various web-based application testing challenges and needs.

In this article, we will talk about troubleshooting common issues that automation testers encounter while using Selenium WebDriver. We will also provide insightful solutions to overcome those issues, but before moving to that it is important to first understand in brief what Selenium testing is, and why it is important in automating web applications. So let’s get started.

What is Selenium testing?

Selenium is a reliable, open-source test automation framework for automating the user interface of web applications and web browsers by emulating users’ actions on a web page. It can perform anything a regular user can do in a web browser like clicking on buttons and typing into fields.

Additionally, using Selenium developers and testers can perform cross-browser testing to test that their websites function consistently across different browsers. This ensures efficiency in their testing processes and consistent and accurate test results.

It enables developers and testers to write test scripts in various programming languages and run tests across multiple browsers and platforms. This open-source automated testing tool is available for several dedicated purposes on web-based applications. Selenium can also be utilized with different tools and frameworks, including Cucumber, JUnit, and TestNG.

Selenium supports a wide range of operating systems, including Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as programming languages, such as  Python, Java, C#, Perl, Ruby, etc, and web browsers, like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. This provides developers the flexibility to work with any of them and perform Selenium automated testing simply.

Why is Selenium important in web automation testing?

Selenium is the leading automation testing tool in the market due to its extensive feature set. Some of the reasons contributing to Selenium’s growing popularity in web automation testing are listed below.

  • Selenium is an open-source, cost-effective solution for web automation testing.
  • It can be used on a variety of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. This allows testers to execute tests on multiple platforms while ensuring consistent results across environments. 
  • Using Selenium testers can create test scripts in multiple programming languages, like Ruby, Java, PHP, Perl, Python, JavaScript, and C #. This flexibility provides testers the opportunity to choose the programming language they are more proficient in.
  • enables testers to test their website on a wide range of browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and more. With this all-inclusive scope, testers can ensure that their web applications are seamlessly functioning across different browsers.
  • Selenium can be seamlessly integrated with various open-source testing frameworks such as TestNG, JUnit, TestCafe, and others. This integration helps to leverage the capabilities of different frameworks and enhance the functionality of Selenium packages during the automation testing process.
  • Selenium supports parallel test execution, allowing running multiple tests simultaneously on various browsers on various machines. This helps to reduce test execution time, making the development process more efficient.
  • It allows the creation of reusable test scripts that can be used across different test cases. This as a result saves time and effort in test script creation and maintenance.

Troubleshooting common Selenium WebDriver issues and their solutions

Selenium, despite being an open-source and robust web automation testing framework, has various issues with it. Some of them are described below.


Another major issue in Selenium automation testing is the inability to scale. The main goal for performing automation testing is to cover more test coverage in less time. Initially, testers may have short test builds; however, as the application under test grows concerning multiple features with time, this would require covering a larger number of test cases with every sprint.

Using Selenium WebDriver testers can only perform tests sequentially as it doesn’t offer an effective way to perform Cross Browser Testing. With time applications may grow concerning multiple features with time, leading to more test cases, thus executing multiple test cases sequentially might become a hassle.

To overcome this issue, Selenium Grid comes to aid. It allows testers to run test cases in parallel on multiple combinations of browsers and operating systems. However, there is a downside to this as well. Selenium Grid only allows to perform cross-browser testing on the physical machines or browsers that are installed in the local machine, hence running automation tests on the scale becomes challenging for testers.

Handling dynamic elements

Handling dynamic web elements is another issue in Selenium testing. Web elements change dynamically with time, including drop-down menus, dialogue boxes, and pop-up windows. Automating these items might be tricky with Selenium WebDriver, since the locators such as ID, class, and name, may not interact with the web elements or may change dynamically, making it difficult to locate them precisely.

This, as a result, makes the automation scripts unreliable and prone to failure. To overcome this issue, testers often use advanced techniques such as waiting for elements to load, dynamic XPath for handling dynamic web content, and regular expressions.

Browser compatibility issues

With an increasing range of devices and browsers, creating content that renders correctly across all devices, and browsers has become the top priority for developers. But Selenium WebDriver lacks this capability, as it has browser compatibility issues with certain browsers and their respective versions, especially the older versions of Internet Explorer.

False positive and false negative results

False Positive and False Negative results are common in Selenium automation. False Positive is a scenario where testers get test results to be successful even though they are not. On the other hand false negative is a scenario where the test results report an error with a script execution, even though the application under test works as intended everything is working as intended

Such flakiness which shows false positives or false negatives misleads the testing team and poses challenges for the testing and development team in Selenium web automated testing.

To overcome this flakiness, testers need to examine the elements of their Selenium tests and make sure that the test plans, test cases, and the testing environment are managed appropriately and in an organized manner so that they can easily find out why the builds are unstable and approach the problem head-on.

Handling pop-up windows

When a simple, prompt, or confirmation alert pops up, it can be difficult to automatically write tests in Selenium and handle pop-ups. Though it is possible to handle pop-ups by the browser through WebDriver, Windows-based pop-ups are beyond Selenium’s capabilities since they are part of the operating system instead of the browser, making it one of the top limitations of Selenium.

This issue can be overcome by using Selenium with various extensions. With the switchTo method, web-based pop-ups can be handled while keeping the browser in the background.

Handling captcha

Another challenge for automation testers in Selenium testing is the use of captchas. As it is known, Captchas cannot be assumed or predicted as every time it is generated its values are different. Application features such as payment gateway, or registering for a new account where Captcha is required are challenging to automate using Selenium as there is no inherent capability to solve Captcha.

The only approach to solve this issue is to create separate testing environment variables altogether. Testers can disable the captcha module, accept a dummy value for all captchas, or pass the captcha as a hidden value within the page’s DOM structure.

Limited to mobile testing 

Though the Selenium framework is widely used for testing websites or web apps across different combinations of browsers & operating systems, it is still limited to testing on mobile operating systems. This is yet another challenge with Selenium to test websites or web apps for mobile devices, as a significant number of users use content on their mobile devices.

To overcome this issue the Selenium family provides the most renowned open-source testing framework, Appium, which helps developers test content on native mobile operating systems.  Appium drives iOS and Android native, mobile, and hybrid apps using the WebDriver protocol to automate mobile app testing.

Utilize LambdaTest as a solution for all the above Selenium testing issues 

Selenium is one of the most prominent test automation frameworks used to automate user actions on the web application under test. It revolutionizes web testing by providing a robust automation framework. However, like any other testing, Selenium testing is not without its own set of challenges. For beginners, it can be difficult to set up and use, as well as maintaining the test scripts can be time-consuming and require significant effort.

The solution to all these is LambdaTest. LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that allows performing both manual and automated testing at scale.  It not only works on the website but also provides testers with all the essential components required to test Web, Android, and iOS apps. 

For both real-time and automated purposes it provides a cloud Selenium Grid of more than 3000 environments, browsers, and real mobile devices, enabling testers to run Selenium tests concurrently across different mobile devices and screen resolutions at the same time. This reduces the automated test execution time and enables testers to ensure that their web app or website is of high quality and performs seamlessly across different screen resolutions, solving the scalability issues of Selenium.

By using its AI capability it provides testers with an intuitive interface for creating and executing stable and reliable tests faster than ever to speed up automated tests’ maintenance and to achieve faster results. It brings a complete package of testing features, ranging from cross-browser testing using Selenium, data-driven testing, manual exploratory testing, parallel testing, and mobile testing using Appium, thus allowing testing beyond the limitations of Selenium.

Furthermore, LambdaTest can be seamlessly integrated with popular CI/CD tools like Slack, JIRA, GitHub, and Jenkins, to bring all the testing resources together for continuous testing. It also has an in-built bug tracking and screen recorder facility that allows testers to record videos of entire test sessions, capture screenshots of the bug, and send them across various third-party tools like JIRA, Asana, Slack, Trello, etc.


In conclusion, it can be said that every good thing comes with some limitations and Selenium is no exception. While the list of Selenium features is endless, a developer can still face challenges and limitations during the process of creating automated tests.

To overcome the above-mentioned Selenium WebDriver challenges, this article has provided a workaround, keeping them in mind while automating testing using Selenium might help in scaling up the testing infrastructure and ongoing Selenium projects.

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