You don’t need to have a website just to use the Internet. However, if you want to establish some presence, then it should be part of your to-do list.
A website can be likened to your home in cyberspace. The URL with its domain name and extension serves as your official address. The design is your foundation that gives shape and structure to your “house” while the contents are your home improvements.
Having a fantastic “home” however, isn’t the only thing you consider. You also want to make sure that you’re accessible or easy to find. You need to see to it that your website renders well in all browsers and to ensure this, one should use Browserstack.
But before I outline the benefits of Browserstack, let’s first rewind so I can explain what a browser. This will help you better understand why Browserstack is so handy to web designers and developers like myself.
What is a browser?
As its name suggests, it’s the system that allows users to browse through the Internet. For example, when I want to research about holiday presents, I open a browser so I can go to a website directly or a search engine that can point me to the website that can provide me with the best information.
There are many different types of browsers out there, and some of the most popular ones include:
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
Each of them has its own features, strengths, and weaknesses. During the early days of the Internet, the most successful and popular browser is the Internet Explorer. But later it became too clunky, and became second fiddle when Firefox came about. It always stands by its claim that it’s designed and built by community. Unlike Internet Explorer, Firefox is much faster. However, both were eventually thrown aside by Google Chrome, which is the browser of Google. It is known to be reliable, speedy, and simple.
Some browsers are also designed to work better than the others in certain devices. If you’re using Mac, then you’re better off with Safari. Opera works more effectively in mobile devices, though Google Chrome is the default browser for Android tablets and smartphones.
What’s the problem with having different browsers?
You usually cannot install all browsers in your PC or mobile device. Moreover, you have to remember that these browsers are created by different people and that they have their own structure and feature that make them so unique than the others.
If you’re a website owner, you need to make sure that your website appears great across all these browsers. But for you to know if it does, you may have to spend a lot of time, hard work, patience, and even money for testing.
Fortunately, there’s already a solution for that called Browserstack.
Browserstack is a website that allows you to test the compatibility of your website across more than 600 different types of browsers in desktops, virtual machines, and mobile devices, to name a few. This then saves you plenty of time and money, and you can make the changes necessary as soon as possible.
It works in a very simple fashion:
- Access the website at http://www.browserstack.com.
- Sign up. Don’t worry it offers a free trial. Just input your name, e-mail address, and password for log in. There’s no verification e-mail to deal with. As soon as you’ve completed the form, you’re instantly transported to its dashboard.
- Under Quick Start, type your public or Internal URL (inner pages). Choose your device and then the browser. Under each categories you can see the different versions of Windows, Mac, IEs, Mozilla Firefox, etc. It’s because some users don’t update device and browser versions. Others just have their preferences.
- Press Start Testing.
- Wait for the system to emulate your chosen environment. This may take a while, so be a little more patient.
Voila, you can now see how your page looks like in your selected browser.
But that’s not the only thing Browserstack can do. It also lets you:
- Capture a bug to help resolve design issues with your team
- Test private server
- Collaborate with the design team
- Automate testing (this is great for website maintenance especially if new browser versions have become available)
Although it offers a free trail, membership comes at a price. It can range from $39 to $399 per month depending on number of users. There’s also a lite plan worth $19 a month or $17/monthly for a year. This works only if you’re a single user and that you plan to test desktop browsers only (in other words, you cannot check out how your website appears in mobile devices). You are always free to upgrade and downgrade your subscription depending on your needs.
Having a website is not enough; you also have to guarantee that it works well in as many browsers as possible. Otherwise, how can your target market click on it?