I have a web app for testing. Can someone tell which browsing mode(Incognito/Normal) is better? What are pros and cons of testing Web App in Incognito mode and Normal mode?

My mentor advises to use Incognito mode, but I think it will miss some issues related to cache or search history or cookies.

Thanks in advance.


4 Answers 4


While this depends heavily on what part/functionality of a web app you want to test, there is a place and time for both.

For example you might have a pop-up for informing the user about a cookie and have him accept (or decline) it.
Typically this pop-up would only show for the first visit, making incognito mode ideal for repeatedly checking the pop-up itself without having to clear your cache etc.

On the other hand you might also want to check if this cookie setting is accepted/saved, preventing the pop-up from appearing every visit.
For this you would need to use the normal mode as only then will it be saved for next time.

  • 1
    I agree, but In general which one fits better? As each has it's own Pros and cons according to the feature or functionality to be tested.
    – JAINAM
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 5:59

I would say you need to test app it in both modes if you're worried about caching issue.

Most of the (functional) testing would be in incognito mode (you are testing how application works, not how it's caching data). The application must work for new users (it's even important than working for retention users) if you want to keep them coming back.

Also most of automation framework will use incognito/sandbox mode as default.

Then you can test caching (in normal mode) and see if it works as expected. Those will be probably manual tests, done ocasionally.

  • I dont think automation frameworks use incognito mode, they just start with a new empty profile. Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 11:05
  • Yep, that's what I understand as sandbox - a, new profile. Although from user or manual tester perspective it's almost the same as incognito mode (and the question was about it). Commented Sep 13, 2019 at 11:19

Usually, web application testing services follow the approach of covering both the browser modes during web app testing.

Testing in Normal Browser Mode:

  1. This should be tested majorly for regular users in the app
  2. Cache/Cookies are locally stored on a user's machine, so validation is required, that the user does not encounter any issues due to caching
  3. Whenever there are new deployments on the environment, one must ensure users are not seeing any issues due to caching
  4. Pop-up shown in the app must also be tested for cached users (depending upon whether they should be shown or not as per the requirements)

Testing in Incognito Browser Mode:

  1. To test from the new users' perspective -> one must use Incognito mode as there is no cache saved.
  2. If we have to test specific scenarios like any pop-up at first login -> this mode would be preferable as clearing browser cache won't be required repetitively

I never test manual in incognito mode, now that I am thinking about it I do not see a lot of value in it. Automated tests will run against a fresh profile anyways.

Manual testing is more for exploring, not for regression-suites.

Your examples are valid, but should be seperate test-cases where you explicitly test that situation.

Other reads:

  • Yes, separate test-cases for each would be better I guess. And do you see any other such scenarios (like cache/cookies) where separate test-cases would be better?
    – JAINAM
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 6:01

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