If we were to describe the internet in one word, “diversity” would clearly be a good choice. There’s so much going on online, so many browsers, websites to visit, apps, tools, and all sorts of content. All this diversity is excellent for users as they always have multiple options for everything.

However, developers can see it as a challenge since they need to create sites and apps that work on all browser / operating system combinations. Website browser testing is a vital step in the development process. And to make sure compatibility isn’t an issue and you’ve developed a cross-browser compatible website, making use of cross-browser testing tools is a must.

Table of contents


Read this article to learn more on how to build a cross-browser compatible website.

Main steps to build cross-browser compatible website

Before you get to the step of putting your website to the cross-browser tool test, you must develop it with compatibility in mind. There are some things to keep in mind while building a website that will increase the chances of smooth functionality on all browsers. Check out the eight tips we put together if you want to make a cross-browser compatible website.

Don’t Over-Complicate Coding


Keep your code as simple as possible to avoid cross-browser compatibility issues.

Everyone wants their website to stand out and attract visitors. However, the chances of something going wrong grow when the code gets complex and convoluted. It’s better to go for a simple layout since the trend in design is to go for a minimalistic approach anyway. Also, it’s better to steer clear of nested elements in the markup. Better use “ul” and “li” for a menu instead of going for a table or multiple “p” elements.


Don’t Skip Validation


Code validation is a vital step in the development process.

This one may sound a bit self-explanatory to experienced developers. However, we need to highlight the importance of code validation, While a valid code does not guarantee a website will work in all browsers, but you’ll be sure to avoid any unpredictable and hard-to-solve issues along the way. There are numerous HTML and CSS validators out there that you can use to make sure your code is valid and you’re building the website on a strong foundation.


Set a Doctype

Each time a browser loads your website, the first step is to figure out the HTML version you’ve used to create it. Various HTML versions come with different rules and that’s why a “doctype” is vital. It tells the website what HTML version to use and it will surely reduce the number of errors. It’s as easy as inserting a snippet into HTML documents. , for example, is the doctype for HTML5.


Don’t Forget About the CSS Reset Rules

More often than not, compatibility errors occur due to CSS. Like HTML, each browser has its own rules for CSS, and there’s a slight chance that your code is interpreted differently. Using CSS reset rules sets a baseline for how CSS on your website will perform on different browsers. Normalize.css is one tool that can get the job done for you in seconds.


Use Conditional Comments


Adding a series of conditional comments is another step to make your website cross-browser compatible.

This one especially applies to older internet browsers. When building cross-browser websites that also target the likes of Internet Explorer, using conditional comments is often the only way to make sure everything will look and function as intended. Adding a series of conditional comments to your IE markup means you won’t have to resort to CSS or JavaScript hacks to get compatibility with Internet Explorer.


Resort to Cross-browser Compatible Frameworks and Libraries

Frameworks such as Bootstrap or Foundation are hugely popular nowadays mainly because they content cross-browser compatible libraries. Instead of using separate elements when building a website, using libraries and frameworks that were developed with compatibility in mind, will reduce the chances of errors and display/functionality issues.


Use Dedicated Stylesheets for Each Browser

In your goal to make a cross-browser compatible website, you can also make use of separate stylesheets for browsers. Especially those that have very few similarities, the older internet browsers. It’s like a list of commands that tell each browser to launch the stylesheet designed for it. Chrome will launch its stylesheet, Firefox will do the same, and so on.


Include as Many Browsers in Your Testing Process

No matter how careful you are when building the website, rendering quirks will always exist. That’s why it’s vital that you test in as many browsers as possible. Don’t focus solely on the popular ones, include Internet Explorer 6, Safari 3, Opera 9, and other older versions on your list as well.

Use cross-browser testing tools for better results

Even if you follow the steps above to the letter, there’s still a big chance you’re going to experience compatibility issues. With so many browsers out there using different technologies, creating the perfect website from the start is impossible. Luckily, cross-browser testing tools are here to help. As soon as you finish developing the website, you can turn to Comparium for one of the best cross-browser testing experiences. Not only that you will be able to test on multiple browsers simultaneously, but you can also go for various operating systems as well.

Also, Comparium gives you the option to compare the results and even automatically find differences between browsers used in testing. If you want to test manually, Comparium gives the option for Live Testing as well. You will navigate the website as if you have the operating system/browser installed on your computer, through dedicated machines. Take screenshots of the results so you can easily fix any issues that Comparium highlights.

Comparium helps you replicate the experience a user from various browsers will get.

Using Comparium to perform a cross-browser test is very easy even if you don’t have experience with such a tool. Here are the steps to test your website across various browsers using Comparium:

  1. Access https://comparium.app/.
  2. Copy the URL for the website you want to test.
  3. Select the wanted operating system and browser for the test ( you can also choose screen width).
  4. Click “Create Screenshots”.
  5. Comparium takes several screenshots of your website in the system/browser combination you chose.
  6. You can then delete, refresh, or find differences from Comaprium’s menu. Or, to start over you can click on “New configuration”.

Closing words on how to build a cross-browser compatible website

To sum things up, the best approach to make sure you’re building a compatible website is using a mix of the suggestions presented above. The way you build the website from the ground up will make life easier when fixing the incompatibility issues found during testing. However, using a Doctype, keeping the code simple, or adding elements from broad frameworks is not enough to ensure cross-browser compatibility. Once the website is finished and you’re certain the code is as clean as possible and all possible issues are prevented to the best of your abilities, use Comparium to test thoroughly.

Only by doing so will you replicate the experience a user from various browsers will get. Check the screenshots or go through live testing and fix any inconsistencies that appear along the way.

FAQs concerning cross-browser compatible website