How to Perform Network Throttling in Chrome to Simulate Poor Network
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - March 15, 2021
Network simulation helps developers or QAs simulate the performance of a website in different bandwidths like 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. This is extremely useful from a testing standpoint as testers get a sense of how the website loads and functions when accessed from different internet connections.
This article will demonstrate two methods, using which testers can simulate poor network conditions while testing websites in Chrome.
Note: For developers or QA engineers seeking to simulate poor network conditions across real mobile devices (for example, 4G network on iPhone 12 Mini or Samsung Galaxy S20), the second method will be more effective in deriving accurate results.
Method 1: Network Simulation Using Chrome DevTools
Chrome browser provides a network throttler in its DevTools. Developers or QAs can leverage this feature to analyze website performance in slower network profiles. However one must bear in mind that this is just a simulator and the results for a real device may vary up to some extent.
To use the network throttler in Chrome:
- Open Chrome DevTools.
- Press Control+Shift+J or Command+Option+J (Mac)
- Navigate to the Network Tab and open the Throttling dropdown which is set to Online by default.
- From the dropdown menu highlighted (as shown in the image above), select Slow 3G.
5. Long press on the Reload icon at the left of the address bar. Click on Empty Cache and Hard Reload.
As the browser usually loads the page from the cache, users must select the Empty Cache And Hard Reload option. It forces the browser to load all the resources. This is helpful in examining how a first-time visitor experiences a webpage loading on slow 3G speed.
Check out this interesting article that explains how to test websites from different locations.
Method 2: Chrome Network Throttling on Real Devices Using BrowserStack Live
An accurate way of validating how web pages load in poor network connections is to test them on real browsers installed on devices. BrowserStack’s real device cloud enables developers and QAs to test their websites in real user conditions, including different internet bandwidths.
Instantly choose the desired Android or iOS device on which to simulate the network conditions. Simply sign up for free, navigate to the Live dashboard and choose the desired OS-device-browser combination. The image below represents a sample Live session on iPhone 12 Mini.
As shown above, the Google website is loaded over a 3G connection on a real iPhone 12 mini.
Developers or QAs can leverage the Throttle Network feature to test the website in multiple network profiles like Edge, 3G, 4G, etc. One can also add custom network profile values to test their websites as per specific requirements.
Throttling the network gives a better idea of how long a page takes to load on a particular mobile device when accessed in a specific network connection.
Moreover, it also helps developers or QAs to identify if there’s a scope for enhancing the experience for users accessing a site from slow bandwidths. Enhancements may include adding a progress bar or wait statements to avoid the frustration of page load delay among the users.
The demonstration above will help individual developers and QAs to perform network throttling for their websites. Besides, the second method will prove useful for those seeking to simulate different networks on real mobile devices while testing websites.