Top Headless Browsers Available for Test Automation

What do you mean by headless browsers?

A software that works without graphical user interface is known as headless software. And it implies, what does the term headless browser mean? Explaining further, a web browser that can work without any graphical user interface and work over command line is called headless browser.

The Headless browsers basically a piece of program that provides an automated control on a web page. The web pages access by these web browsers are not visible to the human being and generally used for testing to extract data from web elements and maintaining the quality assurance. A headless browser can render and understand the HTML like any other standard browser including available elements on the page such as color, font, Javascript,  and AJAX.



Here is the list of Free and Open source Headless Browsers Available Online

Top Headless Browsers Available for Test Automation

Note: We are not ranking any of them as best and just listing the available Headless browsers those are free and opensource for Automation testing.


HtmlUnit is a headless browser testing tool which has no graphical user interface and meant for Java programs. It is not a generic unit testing framework and provides an API that allows you to invoke pages, fill out forms, click links, etc. It features the supports for cookies, HTTP and HTTPS protocols, HTML responses, submitting forms, clicking links, DOM model of the HTML document, basic and NTLM authentication, POST and GET submit methods, Proxy server and more…

Different opensource tools use the HtmlUnit as their underlying browser some of them are:

  • Canoo WebTest
  • JWebUnit
  • WebDriver
  • JSFUnit
  • Celerity and more.


For more info visit the official website.


Headless Chrome

Headless Chrome is official Google’s Chrome browser GUI stripped version to use as a Headless browser. It supports JavaScript tests and will be executed in the same environment as users of your site. Headless Chrome gives you a real browser context without the memory overhead of running a full version of Chrome.

More info



Selenium is a suite of headless browser testing tools to automates web applications for testing purposes.Selenium supports headless testing using its class called HtmlUnitDriver. It works across many platforms, APIs, and frameworks.




Awesomium is a free chromium based headless browser that available in two languages C++ and .NET. It supports all major platforms: Windows, MacOS, and Linux.  Also provides full support to JavaScripts which means no need external emulation.

Website is also an opensource WebKit web client written in python. To work around with it you need to install either PyQt or PySide. The Ghost can execute and provides full javascript inside WebKit frame.




twill (open source) has written in Python and has a simple interface that supports automated web testing. The user can browse the Web world using the command line interface. Using the twill, the tester can collect data from a website like forms, cookies, and most standard Web features. It does not support the Javascript.




Watir is an open source  Ruby library for automation testing which interacts and perfroms tasks on web pages as a normal people do such as clicking links, filling out forms and validating text.




SimpleBrowser is a flexible headless browser built on .Net 4 framework and capable of performing browser automation tasks. It provides API to easily extract the data of elements on a web pages using a variety of matching techniques and then interact with those elements with methods such as Click(), SubmitForm() and many more.

It does not support the JavaScript but a tester can manually manipulate the user agent, referrer, request headers, form values and other values before submission or navigation.




SlimerJS is similar to PhantomJs run on the to pGecko and allows to interact with a web page using an external JS script. It can be useful in functional tests, page automation, network monitoring, screen capture, web scraping etc. It running on the browser engine of Mozilla Firefox and compatible with CasperJS



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The zombie.js is open source headless browser which works with Node.js and support JavaScript/emulated DOM. It is a lightweight Zombie.js is a lightweight framework for testing client-side JavaScript code in a simulated environment.




A headless Internet Explorer browser using the .NET WebBrowser Class with a Javascript API running on the V8 JavaScript Engine.

More info



PhantomJS is one of the most popular headless browsers that scriptable with JavaScript API. IThis headless WebKit provides native support for various web standards: DOM handling, CSS selector, JSON, Canvas, and SVG.

Note: It is not maintained anymore after the Chromium headless browser



See the Complete Github List of all existing of headless browser: Link


Note: If you want to add any other well known Headless browser in this list, please let us know using the comment section.