Selenium with Nightwatch

A guide to running Selenium Webdriver tests with Nightwatch on BrowserStack.

Note: Code samples in this guide can be found in the nightwatch-browserstack sample repo on GitHub


BrowserStack gives you instant access to our Selenium Grid of 2000+ real devices and desktop browsers. Running your Selenium tests with Nightwatch on BrowserStack is simple. This guide will help you:

  1. Run your first test
  2. Integrating your tests with BrowserStack
  3. Mark tests as passed or failed
  4. Debug your app


Before you can start running your Selenium tests with Nightwatch, install Nightwatch using npm

npm install nightwatch

Run your first test

Note: Testing on BrowserStack requires username and access key that can be found in account settings.
If you have not created an account yet, you can sign up for a Free Trial or purchase a plan.

To run your first Nightwatch test on BrowserStack, follow the steps below:

  1. Clone the nightwatch-browserstack sample repo on GitHub using the following command:

    git clone
    cd nightwatch-browserstack
  2. Install the dependencies using npm install
  3. Setup your credentials in the nightwatch-browserstack/conf/single.conf.js file as shown below:

    nightwatch_config = {
      test_settings: {
        default: {
          desiredCapabilities: {
            'browserstack.user': 'YOUR_USERNAME',
            'browserstack.key': 'YOUR_ACCESS_KEY',

    Alternatively, you can set the environment variables in your system as shown below:


    Note: Make sure the environment variable is set permanently

  4. Run your first test using the following command:
    ./node_modules/.bin/nightwatch -c conf/single.conf.js

You can visit BrowserStack Automate Dashboard and see your test there once it has successfully completed.

Details of your first test

The sample test that you just ran can be found in nightwatch-browserstack/tests/single/single_test.js. The test case below searches for the string “BrowserStack” on Google, and checks if the title of the resulting page is “BrowserStack - Google Search”:

module.exports = {
  'Google\'s Search Functionality' : function (browser) {
      .waitForElementVisible('body', 1000)
      .setValue('input[type=text]', 'BrowserStack')
      .assert.title('BrowserStack - Google Search')

Integrating your tests with BrowserStack

In the sample repository, you can find conf/single.conf.js file which is responsible for configuring your test to run on BrowserStack. The useful sections of the file are shown below which enable the tests to run on BrowserStack:

nightwatch_config = {
  src_folders : [ "tests/single" ],  // Specifies which tests would run

  selenium : {
    "start_process" : false,
    "host" : "",  // Specifies the BrowserStack Hub URL
    "port" : 443

  test_settings: {
    default: {
      // The following are the BrowserStack specific capabilities for all your tests that will run using this conf file.
      desiredCapabilities: {
        'build': 'nightwatch-browserstack',
        'browserstack.user': 'YOUR_USERNAME',
        'browserstack.key': 'YOUR_ACCESS_KEY',
        'browserstack.debug': true,
        'browser': 'chrome'

// Code to copy seleniumhost/port into test settings
for(var i in nightwatch_config.test_settings){
  var config = nightwatch_config.test_settings[i];
  config['selenium_host'] =;
  config['selenium_port'] = nightwatch_config.selenium.port;

module.exports = nightwatch_config;
Note: You can generate a list of capabilities that you can use in the desiredCapabilities section of single.conf.js file. This will help you to migrate your existing tests.

Mark tests as passed or failed

BrowserStack does not know whether your test’s assertions have passed or failed because only the framework knows whether the assertions have passed.

You have to mark your tests as passed or failed based on the test assertions using the REST API code snippet as shown below. It is recommended that you use this snippet under globals: { afterEach() } method:

var request = require("request");
request({uri: "<session-id>.json", method:"PUT", form:{"status":"<passed/failed>","reason":""}})

Debug your app

BrowserStack provides a range of debugging tools to help you quickly identify and fix bugs you discover through your automated tests. Learn more about how to debug tests on BrowserStack using the Automate Dashboard.

Text logs

Text Logs are a comprehensive record of your test. They are used to identify all the steps executed in the test and troubleshoot errors for the failed step. Text Logs are accessible from the Automate dashboard or via our REST API.

Visual logs

Visual Logs automatically capture the screenshots generated at every Selenium command run through your Nightwatch tests. Visual logs help with debugging the exact step and the page where failure occurred. They also help identify any layout or design related issues with your web pages on different browsers.

Visual Logs are disabled by default. In order to enable Visual Logs you will need to set browserstack.debug capability to true.

desiredCapabilities: {
  'browserstack.debug': true

Sample Visual Logs from Automate Dashboard: BrowserStack Automate Visual Logs

Video recording

Every test run on the BrowserStack Selenium grid is recorded exactly as it is executed on our remote machine. This feature is particularly helpful whenever a browser test fails. You can access videos from Automate Dashboard for each session. You can also download the videos from the Dashboard or retrieve a link to download the video using our REST API.

Note: Video recording increases test execution time slightly. You can disable this feature by setting the capability to false.

In addition to these logs BrowserStack also provides Raw logs, Network logs, Console logs, Selenium logs, Appium logs and Interactive session. You can find the complete details to enable all the debugging options.

Next steps

Once you have successfully run your first test on BrowserStack, you might want to do one of the following:

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