Headless Chrome is a headless browser. Great answer! But what is a headless browser? 😉
A headless browser is a browser without a graphical user interface (GUI). Instead of controlling the browser's actions via its GUI, headless browsers are controlled programmatically using the command line interface (CLI).
In essence, a headless browser is a type of software that can access webpages without presenting it the actual web page graphically to the user and can pipe content of the webpages to another program. Unlike a normal browser, nothing will appear on the screen when you start up a headless browser since the programs run in the backend.
But why would one want to control the browser without the GUI?
A headless browser is a great tool for automated testing and server environments where you don't need a visible UI shell. Some examples are listed below:
- Search engines use headless browser to render pages, generate dynamic content, and index data from Single Page Application (SPA).
- SEO tools use headless browser to analyze websites and make suggestions on how to improve it.
- Headless browsers can be used to generate PDFs of web pages on the backend server.
- Headless browsers provide automated testing of web applications.
- Firefox headless mode