The HTTP and HTTPS monitors send a request and receive a response; and, if you use a user agent, they send the request with the specified browser type and version. When the data returns, the server parses the information, but it doesn’t actually load it in a browser. A Real Browser Check (RBC) does load and render your page in a browser just like your users. Currently, you have the choice of testing your page using Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Phantom JS.
The RBC setup
When setting up a new monitor:
- Select Real browser check from the Type box located on the Main tab. You will notice that you have all of the same alert conditions and all of the advanced options as the HTTP monitors.
- Choose your browser from the Browser type box located on the Advanced tab.
You have the option of three browser types.
The Chrome browser is a popular browser used on desktops and mobile devices. The Chrome option allows you to test your page using the desktop version of the browser, and you can test your responsive design by setting your screen size and defining a user agent. By selecting the Mobile simulation option, you can test popular tablet and phone devices. Select from:
- Amazon Kindle Fire HDX,
- Apple iPad & Mini,
- Apple iPhone 5, 6, and 6+;
- Google Nexus 5, 6, 7, and 10;
- LG Optimus L70,
- Nokia Lunia 520 and N9, and
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3, S III, and S4.
Although its user base is shrinking, Internet Explorer (IE) and its many versions still receive about 20% of the market share. So, depending on your user base, you may want to choose the current native version of IE for your testing, or you can test using an earlier version by choosing its user agent.
You also have the option to use Phantom JS. Phantom JS is a popular browser choice for development teams while doing their website testing because of its command line interface and headless browsing capabilities. The Phantom JS browser will use the native IE user agent unless you pick a different option in the User Agent box.
The user agent provides the web server with the user’s browser type and version along with their operating system. The web server then responds with content formatted for the user’s device. By selecting a user agent, you can simulate user setups that may not be native to the checkpoint. When using the native user agent (the default), the checkpoint uses the current version of your chosen browser.
Advanced features of RBC
You can further refine your testing with the options located in the Connection section of the Advanced tab.
Using the Bandwidth throttling box, you can simulate a user’s bandwidth. This is a great way to test your web page elements, code, and delivery services for users with lower speeds. You can simulate 3G connections, 56K modems, 4/1 megabit, and 8/1 megabit.
Block Google Analytics
Your testing with Uptrends can interfere with your Google Analytics. By selecting the Block Google Analytics checkbox, the Google Analytics scripts never load. Learn more about Google Analytics blocking.
Block these (parts of) URLs
Your page may have scripts that would have a negative impact on your monitoring and trigger needless alerts. The most common culprit is your A/B testing scripts. By including the URLs here (a separate line for each), you can prevent these scripts from loading. Learn more about URL blocking.
Full Page Check: an RBC with waterfall reports
If you really want to dig into the elements that the browser downloads, we have a monitor type that can help: the Full Page Check. The FPC also loads your site in a real browser, but it has one advantage over the RBC: you can inspect all elements in a rich waterfall report.