Disadvantages of Selenium

Disadvantages of Selenium

Overview on Selenium

Selenium is a very powerful, flexible, open source and freely available automation tool for automating various web applications and websites. With ever increasing needs of customers, there has been an urgency to develop complex and high quality software applications to fulfil the needs of customers and organisations. So selenium automation has proven to be one of the most powerful ways of automating web applications in a short period of time resulting in a good quality of application being delivered to customers. Testers and Developers use Selenium for performing parallel testing, cross browser testing of different websites through various browsers like Chrome Browser, Firefox Browser,Edge Browser and Safari Browser etc.

Browser Automation through different browsers is performed first by configuring Selenium with programming languages like Java, Python then by integrating with tools like TestNG and by using various Web Drivers like ChromeDriver, FireFoxDriver, EdgeDriver and Safari Driver for launching Chrome Browser, FireFoxBrowser, EdgeBrowser and Safari Browser respectively. Selenium is also used for performing cross platform testing which involves testing of web applications in different operating systems. Even though Selenium has some disadvantages like it cannot be used for automating mobile based and desktop based applications still it is being widely used due to its open source, free availability, simplicity and flexibility features.

Features Of Selenium

Selenium is the most popular and widely used tool for automation testing of web applications and browser automation owing to its flexibility, open source, simplicity and free availability. Selenium is compatible with various programming languages like Java, Python,PHP etc. which makes the job of developers and testers easier in running automation scripts using these languages. Selenium is used for running multiple browsers together like ChromeBrowser, FireFox Browser and EdgeBrowser etc. either at same time or one after another. Various third party tools like TestNG get configured with Selenium for running multiple automation test scripts together and generating reports about the passed and failed test cases.

Selenium also has various components with the help of which browser automation of multiple browsers like parallel testing, cross browser testing is done smoothly. With the help of selenium components those actions of browser automation are recorded and played. The Selenium components are Selenium IDE which records and plays the actions through usage of Selenium commands like xpath, css Selector, Selenium WebDriver which is basically an interface used for running different browsers for performing browser automation, Selenium Grid is used to run multiple test scenarios in different browsers, devices and operating systems, Selenium RC was used to run test cases in multiple browsers,operating systems and programming languages.

Disadvantages Of Selenium
1. Not compatible with Standalone Applications

Standalone applications are those applications which do not require use of the internet for its functioning. Automation Testing using Selenium is possible only in the presence of the internet. So Automation testing of Standalone applications using Selenium is not possible due to absence of internet. To Automate Standalone or desktop applications we need some additional tools.

2. Not supportive for automation of mobile applications

Even though using Selenium we can automate web based applications and websites present in web pages, it is not possible to automate mobile based applications using selenium. In order to Automate mobile based applications we need some other automation tools like apium.

3. Not supportive for automation of OTP, Captcha and Barcode

Using Selenium testers will not be able to automate OTP, Captcha and Barcode. So to automate Captcha OTP and Barcode Selenium needs to be integrated with some third party tools like ZXing API. ZXing API is one of the most popular tools available in the market with the help of which testers can automate barcode and OTP after integrating it with Selenium.

4.Need update of Test Scripts from time to time

Since there are frequent updates of web applications and websites through code modification by developers, testers also need to frequently modify the test scripts in order to adapt to the changes in web applications and ensure successful test execution of web applications after updates. So modifying the test scripts becomes a time consuming job for testers.

5.Time consuming in writing automation scripts due to no scope of code reusability in some scenarios

Even though Selenium provides scope for code reusability in test scripts, yet in some test scripts there is no scope of code reusability. As a result, testers write new programming codes for every test case which becomes time consuming and in turn affects completion and delivery of software applications on time.

6. Not compatible in performing image based testing

Through Selenium automation testers are not able to perform image based testing like comparison of different screenshots even though selenium is used for taking screenshots of actions performed on web elements. Image based testing is crucial in checking the visual functionality of an application and Selenium being not compatible for image based testing is one of the major drawbacks of Selenium.

7. Dependence on external tools to generate Test Reports

Automation test reports cannot be generated through Selenium. So Selenium always needs to be configured with any third party tools like TestNG, JMeter to generate reports containing the duration of running each test suite, the number of test suites passed, the number of test suites failed, the number of test suites skipped and the number of times the test suite is tried. Even TestNG and Jmeter have their limitations of not displaying more systematic test results as a result of which it becomes difficult to share test results to all team members involved in software development and testing. So there arises a need to use more third party tools in order to get more comprehensive test results.

8. Initial Cost is high

Although Selenium is a free,easy to use and open source easily available in the market , its initial cost is high. The reason for its high initial cost is that to create an Automation framework through selenium from the very beginning it takes longer time. As a result cost increases with the increase in time and urgency in requirements.


In Spite of having all the disadvantages like being not compatible for mobile application testing and Desktop application testing, it is regarded as the most powerful and widely used automation tool due to its open source free availability, simplicity in its functionality and frequent updates as per present requirements. Automation Testing with Selenium helps in testing all complex applications in a short period of time and reduces the time and efforts of testers as compared to manual testing in testing the software application as a result of which software applications get delivered to customers in a short span of time.

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