App & Browser Testing Made Easy

Give your users a seamless experience by testing on 3000+ real devices and browsers. Don't compromise with emulators and simulators

Home Guide Protractor Testing Tutorial: Test Automation with Protractor and Selenium

Protractor Testing Tutorial: Test Automation with Protractor and Selenium

By Garima Tiwari, Sr. Content Writer -

The growing demand for high-end software on both web and mobile platforms has made businesses seek advanced development and testing methodologies to deliver excellence. Since software applications are made on different platforms using different tech stacks like AngularJS, NodeJS, etc., the test automation suite has to be compatible with them to offer wide coverage. Frameworks like Protractor help in this regard, facilitating end to end testing due to their compatibility with Selenium Webdriver.

When conducted in tandem with Protractor, one can increase the scope of Selenium tests from only web platforms to the Web applications built using AngularJS as well.

Protractor offers third-party integrations that make testing and debugging more efficient through greater test coverage. It’s easy to write scripts and run them on a robust architecture based on RESTful services, making it a good choice to perform automation testing on AngularJS.

What is Protractor?

Protractor is an open-source automation testing framework that is written using NodeJS. It offers combined end to end testing for web applications that are built using AngularJS. It supports both Angular and Non-Angular applications. But because it can be used to test advanced HTML attributes, Protractor is widely preferred for testing AngularJS.

It leverages the power of various technologies, such as NodeJS, Selenium Webdriver, Jasmine, Mocha, Cucumber, etc., to offer a strong automation test suite that is capable of performing Cross Browser Testing for web applications.

Note: Protractor is already deprecated, and existing Protractor users need to migrate their tests to other frameworks. Check out Top 5 Alternatives to Protractor and choose which one to migrate on.

Protractor Architecture: How does it work?

Protractor is a wrapper around Selenium Webdriver that provides an automation test framework, which simulates user interaction with an Angular web application for a range of browsers and mobile devices.

It provides all features of Selenium WebDriver along with Angular specific features for seamless end to end testing. Protractor uses JSON Wire protocol similar to that of Selenium WebDriver to allow user interaction with the browser.

Protractor Architecture


The whole process comprises three elements:

  1. Test Script
  2. Server
  3. Browser

The Test Script interacts with the browser with the help of the Selenium server, where the commands from the test script are forwarded to one or more browsers (in case of parallel execution using Cloud Selenium Grid).

Why use Protractor for Automation Testing?

1. Identifies Web Elements with advanced HTML attributes

For various Angular-based web applications, the web elements using the advanced HTML attributes like ng-controller, ng-repeater, ng-model, etc. cannot be easily tested, hindering the overall functional testing. These HTML attributes cannot be gauged by Selenium as they are not present in the Selenium Locators. Protractor helps in identifying and testing web elements using these attributes. This is why Protractor is used as a wrapper over Selenium WebDriver for automated end to end Testing of Angular-based web applications.

2. Performs End to End Functional Testing

While other testing frameworks offer unit testing for Angular web apps, Protractor allows the tester to perform automated functional testing on Angular web apps using Selenium WebDriver. It allows testing of all layers of the application, which ensures high-quality software that is functionally robust.

3. Performs Cross Browser Testing

Protractor simulates user interactions by automating browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, IE, Safari, Opera, and Yandex. It does so with the help of the Browser Drivers for Selenium WebDriver like ChromeDriver, GeckoDriver, SafariDriver, etc. This allows wider coverage for Cross Browser Testing.

4. Supports Real Devices on Cloud for a wider coverage

When performing tests on a remote server, Protractor can be used to test Cross Browser Compatibility for a wide range of devices using a Real Device Cloud. BrowserStack’s real device cloud provides access to a fleet of 2000+ desktop browsers and real mobile devices like iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, OnePlus, Pixel, Xiaomi, and Redmi, to name a few.

5. Offers Flexibility by supporting different languages for API bindings

Protractor is compatible with WebDriver API bindings written in different languages such as JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, etc., thereby offering flexibility.

6. Supports Asynchronous Test Execution

Protractor supports asynchronous execution, using Callbacks, Promises, and Async/Await to improve performance and make it faster. Thus, comprehensive End to End Testing can be performed on the Angular web apps in a short span of time.

7. Allows Automatic Waiting

Protractor offers testers the feature of Automatic Waiting, where they don’t have to add wait(s) and sleep(s) in the code. It can automatically execute the next step in the test as soon as the webpage completes the ongoing pending tasks. Thus, waiting for the test and webpage to sync is not required when using Protractor.

Since Protractor is already deprecated, NightwatchJS can be used for Automation Testing, Visual Regression Testing, and Headless Testing using NightwatchJS. It can be a great alternative to Protractor.

How to set up Protractor for Test Automation?

Before exploring how to use Protractor and Selenium WebDriver for automation testing, let’s understand how to set up Protractor. In order to do so, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Install NodeJS : To check if the NodeJS and npm are correctly installed, enter the following commands:
$ node -v
$ npm -v
  • Install Protractor globally using npm, by entering the following command:
npm install -g protractor

This will install protractor (Protractor API) and a default Selenium Server webdriver-manager, which means there is no need to start a standalone server.

  • To check if Protractor is installed properly and know its version, enter the following command
protractor --version
  • Update the WebDriver Manager by entering the following command
webdriver-manager update
  • Start the WebDriver Manager by entering the following command. This would run WebdriverManager in the background and would identify the tests and run them using Protractor. As Protractor is used, the web driver automatically sends the tests to the relevant browsers.
webdriver-manager start

How to write a test using Protractor Framework?

Once the Protractor is set up, in order to perform the test, one needs a spec file and a configuration file. While the spec file is the actual test script, the configuration file specifies the details of the test such as where to find the test files, which browser and framework are to be used for running them along with other configurations. However, if the configuration is not defined in the configuration file, Protractor uses the defaults.

Here’s the scenario to be automated:

  • Launch on the browser
  • Enter the search query “BrowserStack” in the search box
  • Check whether the title of the resulting page is “BrowserStack – Google Search”

Specs file for the Test

Specs file for this test scenario is saved as ProtractorTestScript.js

describe('Google\'s Search Functionality', function() {
it('can find search results', function() {


//title of the launched webpage is expected to be BrowserStack - Google Search

expect(browser.getTitle()).toEqual('BrowserStack - Google Search');

Config file for the Test

Specs file for this test scenario is saved as conf.js

exports.config = {
framework: 'jasmine',
capabilities: {
browserName: 'chrome',
specs: ['ProtractorTestScript.js']

The above test will be run in Chrome browser using Jasmine framework, while the local host address remains default (when using remote server, this needs to be specified).

Executing Cross Browser Parallel Testing using Protractor

To run the same test script parallelly on two different browsers i.e. Chrome and Firefox, here is the code for the config file conf.js

exports.config = {
framework: 'jasmine',
specs: ['ProtractorTestScript.js']
multiCapabilities: [{
browserName: 'chrome',
browserName: 'firefox',

The above feature makes Protractor a great choice for performing automated Cross Browser Testing since it saves time and resources.

Running the Test Script

Once the test script is ready, it can be executed by running the following command on the Command Prompt:

protractor conf.js

Upon entering the command above, the Selenium Server will automatically run the test script, for which the following steps occur:

  • will be launched (
  • BrowserStack is put in the search field and entered
  • Title of the webpage opened as the search result is fetched and given as output in the console.

Best Practices in Protractor Testing

  • Use Parallel Testing for Cross Browser Testing on different browsers to save time, resources and ensure Cross Browser Compatibility.
  • For keeping track of the action performed with each of commands and make debugging easier, use Text and Visual Logs. While Text Logs fulfil the purpose of record keeping, Visual logs create screenshots of each test step, which helps understand application behavior and troubleshoot when the expected outcome is not achieved.
  • The user can also record test execution in video format to monitor what fails and understand why it failed. This enables precise debugging. Keep in mind that this might also lengthen execution time, hence use it only where the expected outcome is not achieved.
  • Tests that pass don’t need to be strictly monitored since an increase in run time could slow down operations if a large number of tests have to be executed.
  • As always, it is important to run the Protractor Selenium tests on real browsers and devices.

BrowserStack offers a Cloud Selenium Grid of 3000+ real browsers and devices for both live and automated testing. Simply sign up, choose the required device-browser-OS combination, and start testing websites for free. Integration with BrowserStack is effortless. Simply update the *.conf.js config files with the BrowserStack Hub URL, and enter the credentials required to connect with the BrowserStack Selenium Grid.

Run Automated Selenium Tests for Free


Test automation is crucial for testers to keep up with the growing demands of faster delivery and optimal software quality. Running automated tests via Protractor and Selenium allows testers to achieve precisely this for Angular web applications, resulting in the creation of better applications in shorter durations with Parallel Execution.

However, Protractor automation works best when testing websites on a real device cloud. Doing so is the only way to ensure complete accuracy of results. So, always opt for real device testing to comprehensively verify website performance, cross browser compatibility, and the quality of user experience it offers.

Automation Testing Selenium

Featured Articles

Nightwatch vs Protractor vs Mocha : The Preferred Testing Framework

NightwatchJS Tutorial: Get Started with Automation Testing

Curated for all your Testing Needs

Actionable Insights, Tips, & Tutorials delivered in your Inbox
By subscribing , you agree to our Privacy Policy.
thank you illustration

Thank you for Subscribing!

Expect a curated list of guides shortly.