Browsers are an essential component of surfing the internet because it allows you to navigate between the vast number of websites that exist, but there is another type of browser that’s specifically useful for web development called headless browsers. In this article, we’ll discuss what headless browsers are, what they’re used for, and their advantages and disadvantages.
What Are Headless Browsers?
A headless browser is a term given to browsers that don’t have any user interfaces that are typically seen on other browsers. For example, a popular browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox will have buttons that you can interact with, but with headless browsers, there is nothing but just a blank page. Although, headless browsers would still work the same as in any other browser.
Headless browsers are growing more in popularity due to the rapid improvement of web development and Google’s statement on the importance of headless browsers in getting a better ranking in Google’s search result ranking.
What Are Headless Browsers Used For?
Headless browsers use a minimal amount of resources compared to other browsers and run efficiently in the background even while working, so they’re used for a lot of tasks that would benefit from this. Examples would be:
Automation. Headless browsers are great for any kind of automation task in web-based applications. You can easily automate tasks, scripts, and tests with a headless browser.
Web Scraping. Headless browsers allow you to scrape data efficiently and quickly because the website you want to scrape doesn’t have to be loaded for you to extract data from it.
Testing Web Properties. With headless browsers, you can test a website’s properties like its page layout, fonts, color selection, and more. You can determine a web page’s dimensions, coordinates, and many more.
Generate PDFs. You can easily create PDFs of web pages with headless browsers, and you can even add screenshots of those web pages.
These are just a few of the many uses for headless browsers as it has become an important tool for web developers.
Advantages Of Headless Browsers
There are a lot of advantages when utilizing headless browsers because they only use minimal resources. A few of these advantages are:
Automating Web Processes. Headless browsers can help you automate web processes, which saves you a lot of time and effort.
Efficient Web Scraping. You can directly scrape a website’s HTML with a headless browser. You don’t even need to launch the website before you scrape it.
Monitor App Performance. Through a headless browser, the performance of web applications can be monitored directly by you.
Disadvantages Of Headless Browsers
Headless browsers also have their disadvantages, some of which are:
No Real User Experience. A headless browser isn’t designed to give you an actual user experience, so it would be hard to use it for regular browsing.
Debugging Is Difficult. Bugs are difficult to identify on headless browsers, especially if the bugs are related to the web page’s cosmetics like buttons or colors.
Speed Is Affected By Tests. Even though headless browsers are fast, that speed would be heavily affected when you run too many tests.
Headless browsers are a crucial component for developers when doing web development. They only use minimal resources and could help you do a lot of tasks quickly and efficiently. When using a headless browser, it’s still best if you pair it with a proxy server. Proxy servers will enable you to web scrape anonymously and without fear of getting banned. If you’re looking for a reliable proxy provider, you can check out our residential and datacenter proxies!