What are Headless Browsers and Their Uses? A Full Guide

Reading time: 7 min read
Raj Vardhman
Written by
Raj Vardhman

Updated · Oct 25, 2023

Raj Vardhman
Chief Strategist, Techjury | Project Engineer, WP-Stack | Joined January 2023 | Twitter LinkedIn
Raj Vardhman

Raj Vardhman is a tech expert and the Chief Tech Strategist at TechJury.net, where he leads the rese... | See full bio

Girlie Defensor
Edited by
Girlie Defensor


Girlie Defensor
Joined June 2023
Girlie Defensor

Girlie is an accomplished writer with an interest in technology and literature. With years of experi... | See full bio

Techjury is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Data extraction is now challenging, with over 1.145 trillion MB of new data daily. The best solution is to automate the process through web scraping. While there are many methods to do it, the most common is with a headless browser.

A headless web browser is a type of browser that works without displaying anything on the screen.

Developers use this browser to automate various tasks online, including web scraping. However, using its features means understanding how it works, and it can be complex.

In this article, you will understand headless browsing and how it works. You’ll learn about the benefits, limitations, and use cases.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • Headless web browsers work like other typical browsers but without displaying an interface.
  • With a headless browser, users can automate tasks like web scraping.
  • Since headless browsers have no display, they offer better performance and resource usage.
  • Headless browsers can scrape the web, automate tests, track performance, and verify content.
  • These browsers offer users better productivity, scalability, safety, and SEO benefits.
  • The use of headless browsers can be complex. It's also challenging to debug and has limited Javascript support. Thus, it takes time for someone to learn how to use it.

Headless Browsers: What Are They?

Headless Browsers are unique web browsers that automate data collection from websites. It uses codes to work in the background without interfering with user activity.

These browsers work like a robot that imitates humans with the website. The only difference is that it has no interface. 

This tool helps in performing tasks faster and more efficiently. Its flexibility and effectiveness make it very useful for web development and automation.

Headless vs non-headless browsers have unique qualities. Moreover, they differ in how they work on the web. 

Knowing the differences is crucial in improving your browsing experience.


Headless Browsers

Non-headless Browsers

Web Scraping

Excellent for collecting data from websites

Not as great for collecting extensive data


Works well for automating tasks

Limited ability to automate tasks

Graphical User Interface

Works silently with no visible interface

Visible interface with headers and menus


Performs effectively due to no user interface

User interface presence might affect performance


No manual inputs and only code instructions

Requires human interactions like clicking a button and filling out forms


Tests websites automatically

Test websites manually

Understanding How Headless Browsers Work

When a headless browser visits a web page, it acts like a regular browser. 

This browser works on the web page’s content, like text, images, and other elements. It also processes any Javascript code if the target page has interactive content.

To make the process easier, developers use user-friendly libraries with it.

These libraries hide technical complexity, making it easy to do tasks. Puppeteer and Playwright are examples of these tools.

📝 Note

If you’re using a Chromium-based browser, you can enter Chromium headless mode. It lets users run scripts to automate a task, meaning the browser wouldn't have a display. 

Headless Browsers Use Cases

There are several use cases of Headless browsers. Here are some of the typical ones:

Use Cases of Headless Browsers

Automated Testing

Headless Browsing is widely used to automate website testing. Developers can run tests in the background without showing an interface.

With a headless browser, you can automate website interaction. It acts like users by moving around the website, clicking buttons, and filling out forms.

Web Scraping

Headless browsing is a helpful tool for getting data from websites. Businesses and researchers use it for data collection.

With this browser, you can collect prices, descriptions, reviews, and more data. This data helps users do market research and gives them ideas for making decisions.

👍 Helpful Article

While this tool can help scrape many content types, it can still encounter issues. In this case, Bright Data's scraping browser can do the job. It offers more functions than the typical web scraping approach and is cheaper than APIs.

Performance Tracking

A headless web browser lets developers check a website's speed and performance. This tool helps find problems that slow down the site so they can fix them and make the website load faster.

People stay longer when a website loads faster. Search engines rank them higher because they give users a better experience.

Content Verifying

Headless browsing ensures that a website's data is correct. This process is essential so the website works well for users and stays in good shape.

Benefits of Using Headless Browsers

Headless browsers offer many benefits for web developers and businesses. Here are some advantages of using headless browsers:


A headless browser doesn't waste resources by displaying web pages. As a result, they can do tasks quickly.

Since they don't show anything on the screen, they save resources and process data faster.

Pro Tip

To improve a headless browser’s process, keep it updated and use smaller libraries.


Headless browsers can easily handle and repeat big tasks since they don't display them on the screen. 

This feature makes them perfect for jobs like web scraping and automated testing.

Pro Tip

You can maximize a headless browser's power by splitting big projects into small ones. This portioning will maximize resources and make your tasks more manageable.

Improved Safety

Headless browsers improve safety by preventing unauthorized access to the screen. Thus, it's a helpful tool to use even in unsecured places.

🔓 Security Note

The improved safety doesn't mean your tasks are entirely safe. If your tasks involve sensitive or confidential data, use a strong password. It will help you keep everything safe online.

Seo Benefits

Headless browsers are helpful tools that make websites more visible on search engines. They check how a website arranges its web pages, the details on them, and other essential factors.

This way, the websites get a better ranking on search engines and reach more people.

Pro Tip

Check and update data and keywords you use with the headless browsers. These things will help your website stay relevant so more people can find it online.

It's a crucial step when you’re trying to improve your website's visibility on search engines.

Challenges of Using Headless Browsers

Headless browsers are helpful but can be challenging to use. Below are some common challenges of using headless browsers.


A headless web browser can be harder to set up and use than regular browsers. 

Developers need to know about special tools and commands to make them work well.

Debugging Difficulties

Fixing issues with a headless web browser can be more challenging since it has no display. 

Finding and solving errors may need extra steps like keeping records.

Limited JavaScript Support

Some headless browsers may not work well with all JavaScript features. 

This limitation causes differences in how things behave compared to regular browsers. 

Thus, you may encounter accuracy issues when testing web applications.

👍 Helpful Article

Javascript runs dynamic and interactive web pages. If you deal with such content, this guide on scraping Javascript web pages can help. It can be useful if you can't do it with a headless browser.

Learning Process

Developers new to headless browsing may need time to familiarize themselves with it. 

This learning process is crucial because of the tools and commands the browser needs to run.


Headless browsers are essential tools for web development and automation. They can do things on the web without displaying an interface. They help websites work better and faster.

Although a headless web browser is helpful, it can also be challenging to use. Fixing problems can be more complex, and learning how to use them might take some time.

As web development improves, headless browsers will become more critical. Try to stay updated with the latest tools and methods.


Which browsers have their headless mode?

Some web browsers with their headless mode are Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari.

Can websites detect headless browsers?

Some websites can tell if you're using a headless browser. They can detect it by looking at technical details like the type of browser you use and how it behaves.

What is a Ghost browser?

A ghost browser is a unique web browser. It allows you to manage several online identities separately. It also lets you secure and organize everything while browsing with different accounts.

Can we take screenshots in a headless browser?

Yes, you can take screenshots in a headless browser. It captures the picture of the page even though you can't see it on the screen.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.