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Cypress Vs. WebdriverIO: A Comparison

Suleiman Abubakar Sadeeq
Suleiman Abubakar Sadeeq
Cypress Vs. WebdriverIO: A Comparison
January 31, 2023
min read

It can sometimes be difficult to choose which tool your QA teams or testers should use for automation testing. In this post, we're going to discuss two of the most popular automation testing frameworks: Cypress and WebdriverIO. And our discussion will cover topics like what each tool can provide, similarities and differences between both frameworks, and why you would choose one over the other.

Let's dive right in.


Cypress is an open-source end-to-end automation testing framework for modern web applications. It's built under Node.js, and it runs directly in the client browser, which enables you to write fast-executing test scripts using programming languages like JavaScript and TypeScript.

Cypress has been gaining a lot of attention lately because of its rich arsenal of features (time travel, live reload, error and stack traces, and many more that we'll talk more about later in the post) and its simplicity. It has a beginner-friendly setup process, which makes it easy for people new to automation testing using Cypress to write their first test. You can simply install cypress as a dev dependency using npm or Yarn, or use the Cypress standalone application to start testing your application right away. Installing Cypress as a dev dependency is a better option. It makes upgrading versions easier, and it also helps simplify your CI workflow.

Key Features of Cypress

  • Time travel: With Cypress, you enjoy the ability to view your application behavior step by step during test execution using the time travel feature. When you hover over a test command, it will show you any element Cypress acted on and how your application responds using simulated user-like behavior.
  • Live reload: Your test executes side by side with the application under the same server. This provides you with a real-time auto re-run on file save, delivering instant feedback.
  • Error and stack trace: Cypress provides a lot of custom error messages. These enable you to easily detect when your test fails. Additionally, Cypress provides stack trace, which points you to where the error happens. Some of the custom errors involve error names, error messages, learn more links, code frames, and many more. Learn more about Cypress errors here.
  • Screenshot and videos: You can configure Cypress to take snapshots automatically and manually during testing. You can also record a video of your test running either automatically or manually, just as in the screenshot configuration. This can help ease the process of debugging errors in your tests.
  • Automatic waiting: With Cypress, you don't need to attach custom arbitrary waits to your test. That's because Cypress automatically waits for both command and assertion to get executed before it carries on to the next.
Quote: "It makes upgrading versions easier, and it also helps simplify your CI workflow"

Community and Trends

Weekly downloads: 4.6M+

Folk: 2.7K+

Star: 42.3K+

Contributors: 414

Records from npm and GitHub


WebdriverIO is an automation testing framework for testing modern web, hybrid, or native mobile applications and native desktop applications with an easy setup process that provides flexible customization of how you want your test. It runs on either WebDriver Protocol or Chrome DevTools Protocol using Puppeteer for tests running on Chromium browsers to provide you with true cross-browser automation.

It's a completely open-source project that doesn't offer any paid features. Plus it has a huge amount of built-in features and a strong community that provides plugins that can allow you to easily extend your setup to meet requirements. Tests are written in WebdriverIO using JavaScript and TypeScript.

Key Features of WebdriverIO

  • Native testing support: You can use WebdriverIO to test your mobile and desktop applications by integrating Appium.
  • Cross-browser support: WebdriverIO provides support for all major browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Brave, etc.). You don't need to worry about browser support because your test will run regardless of which browser you use.
  • Auto wait: WebdriverIO waits for your components to load before it interacts with them. So, your test can be executed only after the elements appear and load.
  • Customization: WebdriverIO provides a lot of options to customize the way you prefer your test with built-in features and plugins. It's compatible with either WebDriver Protocol or Chrome DevTools Protocol for cross-browser testing and Chromium base testing respectively.
  • Community: WebdriverIO is a truly open-source project that has a dedicated community that provides a lot of community-maintained plugins.

Community and Trends

Weekly downloads: 1.2M+

Folk: 2.2K+

Star: 7.9K+

Contributors: 463

Records from npm and GitHub

Cypress Vs. WebdriverIO: Major Similarities

  • Open-source: Both Cypress and WebdriverIO are open-source projects with a good amount of community backing where updates are released at least weekly. In terms of popularity, we can see from the npm downloads and GitHub stars that Cypress is doing much better. Nevertheless, WebdriverIO has truly dedicated and reliable community support, which makes it completely free.
  • Setup complexity: Cypress and WebdriverIO both have easy setup processes. However, with WebdriverIO you have room for extra customizations. This can quickly become an issue for people new to the process, as it may become complicated and overwhelming. Meanwhile, with Cypress you're locked into default settings, making it easy for beginners.
  • Language support: Both frameworks support JavaScript and TypeScript for writing automation tests, as both are based on Node.js.
  • Cross-browser support: You get support for multiple browsers from both frameworks. However, you enjoy more options with WebdriverIO. Cypress supports testing with browsers like Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, and Edge, but not Safari.
  • Web testing: Both frameworks are for testing modern web applications running in the browser. However, WebdriverIO is also compatible with native mobile and desktop automation testing using Appium.

Cypress Vs. WebdriverIO: Major Differences

  • iFrame support: WebdriverIO comes with support for iFrame. With Cypress, it's difficult to use iFrame due to restrictions.
  • Multi-tab/multi-browser: Cypress doesn't come with multi-tab or multi-browser window support. Once your test is running, you can't access another tab or window in the browser. Meanwhile, WebdriverIO comes with support for this.
  • More readable code: This may not be a problem for people who aren't beginners to WebdriverIO's code or more complex code in general, but some of the syntaxes of WebdriverIO are challenging for a beginner (for instance, its async-await logic). On the other hand, Cypress has simple and very readable code that beginners can easily adapt.
  • Debugging: Cypress provides a ton of ways to easily debug errors in your test with its error and stack trace features that can immensely improve test debugging for you. It isn't a big issue to debug errors with WebdriverIO either, but it's safe to say Cypress makes it easier with those dedicated features.
  • Interactive window: Cypress comes with a dashboard where you can interact with your automation and get results displayed. On the other hand, WebdriverIO doesn't have an interactive window.
  • Reporters: Cypress comes with support for customs reporting and others like JUnit, Mocha, and Spec. WebdriverIO supports JSON, Cucumber, Allure, Dot, JUnit, Spec, and many more.

Cypress or WebdriverIO?

Personally, I think both frameworks are good enough to deliver great results for automation testing. The question here is, what are your testing requirements and preferences?

Let's say, for instance, you're a beginner to automation testing and you want to work with a framework that's fast and easy and works you through your test in the most understanding way. The ideal framework of choice would be Cypress, as it checks more of your requirement boxes.

On the other hand, let's say you have a team of experts or individuals who are very comfortable with complex setups and code and you want to access more customization options in your test. Or maybe your application is also native (mobile or desktop). Then your preferred framework of choice should be WebdriverIO.

In conclusion, I think both frameworks can get the job done and I don't see you going wrong with either one.

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