Effective Handling Of Authentication Pop-ups In Cypress Tests

Most software is built as web applications. Web application frameworks are cost-effective and time-saving and allow for accurate and precise development. Using these web-based frameworks has greatly increased the number of web-specific components.

Among these components, pop-ups play an important role in automation testing. In web browsers, pop-up components display a message to the user while freezing the browser tab or window until the user acknowledges the message.

Cypress is a popular testing framework known for its reliability in testing web applications from end to end. However, dealing with authentication pop-ups during testing can sometimes disrupt the flow of tests, resulting in inaccurate results. Luckily, Cypress offers various strategies to handle authentication pop-ups effectively.

Moving forward, let’s learn how to use the Cypress automation environment to handle authentication pop-ups, with examples for handling Cypress pop-ups.

What is a Popup?

A popup is a small window or box that abruptly appears on the website you’re browsing, overlaying the main content. It typically delivers a message, advertisement, or request for interaction, grabbing your attention momentarily. Despite their various forms, all popups share the trait of temporarily interrupting your browsing experience on that specific website. Some common examples include:

  • Subscription forms that pop up asking you to enter your email address to receive updates or a newsletter from that website.
  • Survey popups request that you answer a few quick questions about your experience or interests.
  • Special offer ads that pop up promoting a sale, discount code, or another marketing deal related to that website’s products/services.
  • Cookie consent popups are now displayed on websites to get your permission before tracking usage data.
  • Exit intent popups are designed to appear when your mouse cursor moves towards the browser’s close button, attempting to deter you from leaving the website.

Although some may find popups irritating or intrusive, websites often utilise them because they can effectively prompt visitors to take desired actions, such as signing up, making a purchase, or increasing engagement. These popups appear directly over the website content, ensuring that visitors notice and interact with them before continuing to browse.

However, popup overuse damages the user experience. So, most websites try to strike a balance – using them selectively and making sure popups don’t misfire repeatedly during the same browsing session. When implemented skillfully, popups remain one of the highest-converting marketing tactics for websites.

What are Authentication Pop-ups?

Authentication pop-ups are special windows that appear on websites or web applications, asking you to enter your login information (username and password) before allowing you to access certain areas or features. These pop-ups act as security gates, verifying that you are an authorised user who should be granted access.

Although authentication pop-ups serve an essential purpose in safeguarding sensitive data and limiting access to authorised users, they can pose challenges during automated testing using tools like Cypress. Improper handling of these prompts may result in test failures, skipped scenarios, or inaccurate test outcomes, undermining the overall quality and reliability of the testing process. 

To overcome this challenge and ensure smooth test automation, Cypress offers several strategies for effectively handling authentication pop-ups. One approach involves utilising Cypress’s built-in capabilities to interact with and manipulate the pop-up window elements. By identifying and targeting the relevant input fields and buttons, testers can programmatically enter the required login credentials and simulate the authentication process during test execution.

In simpler terms, Cypress provides ways to automate the process of entering login information into these authentication pop-ups, allowing the tests to proceed smoothly without disruptions caused by these security prompts.

How to Handle Authentication Pop-ups in Cypress

Dealing with authentication pop-ups in Cypress can be challenging due to the tool running in a distinct browsing context from the application being tested. Nevertheless, there are multiple approaches to address this issue, and the most suitable method varies based on the authentication mechanism employed by the application.

  1. Using Browser Extensions

One approach is to leverage browser extensions that can handle authentication pop-ups. Cypress supports installing and using browser extensions, which can be particularly useful when dealing with authentication scenarios. Here’s a general overview of how to use this method:

  • Install the required browser extensions that can handle the authentication pop-up.
  • In your Cypress configuration file (cypress.config.js), specify the browser extensions to be loaded.
  • Write custom commands or helper functions in Cypress to interact with the browser extension and handle the authentication process.
  1. Using Application-Level Authentication

If the application provides an API or a dedicated authentication mechanism, you can bypass the need to handle pop-ups altogether. Instead, you can authenticate directly within your Cypress tests or with a custom command before running the tests.

  • Identify the authentication API or mechanism provided by the application.
  • Write custom commands or helper functions in Cypress to authenticate using the provided API or mechanism.
  • Call these custom commands or helper functions before running your tests to ensure the user is authenticated.
  1. Using Cypress Plugins

Cypress provides a powerful plugin system that allows you to extend its functionality. You can leverage this system to handle authentication pop-ups by writing a custom plugin that interacts with the browser automation layer used by Cypress.

  • Create a new plugin file in your Cypress project (cypress/plugins/index.js).
  • Within the plugin file, use the Cypress browser automation layer (e.g., cy.automation()) to interact with the browser and handle the authentication pop-up.
  • Configure your plugin in the Cypress configuration file (cypress.config.js).
  1. Using Cypress Custom Commands

If the authentication pop-up follows a consistent pattern or behavior, you can create custom commands in Cypress to handle it. Custom commands allow you to encapsulate reusable logic and simplify the handling of authentication pop-ups across multiple tests.

  • Create a new commands file in your Cypress project (cypress/support/commands.js).
  • Define a custom command that interacts with the application and handles the authentication pop-up.
  • Use this custom command in your tests whenever authentication is required.

Challenges Faced in Handling Authentication Pop-ups

Following are the challenges faced in handling authentication pop-ups:

Disruption to the test flow:

  • Authentication pop-ups can appear unexpectedly during test execution.
  • They halt the automated test flow, leading to inaccurate or incomplete results.
  • If not handled properly, these pop-ups can cause tests to fail or scenarios to be skipped.

Varying authentication mechanisms:

  • Web applications implement different authentication strategies like basic auth, form-based, and token-based.
  • Each mechanism may require a different approach to handling pop-ups during testing.

Multiple scenarios for pop-up occurrences:

  • Pop-ups can be triggered when accessing protected APIs, login-required pages, and basic auth setups.
  • The testing framework needs to identify and handle pop-ups across different contexts.
  • This diversity in occurrences adds an extra layer of complexity.

Dynamic nature of web applications:

  • As applications evolve, authentication mechanisms or pop-up behaviors may change.
  • Existing solutions for handling pop-ups can become obsolete.
  • Constant maintenance is required to ensure compatibility with application changes.

Advanced security measures:

  • Some pop-ups employ advanced security like captchas and multi-factor authentication.
  • These measures are difficult to handle programmatically in automated tests.
  • They often rely on human input or verification methods.

Risk of security vulnerabilities:

  • Improper handling of authentication pop-ups can expose sensitive data.
  • Hardcoding credentials or using insecure workarounds compromise application security.
  • Robust strategies are crucial to avoid introducing vulnerabilities.

Diverse testing environments:

  • Applications may have different testing environments, like staging and production.
  • Authentication pop-ups can behave differently across these environments.
  • Handling strategies need to be flexible and adaptable.

Integration with other tools/frameworks:

  • Automation testing tools may need integration with other tools like CI/CD pipelines.
  • Handling pop-ups consistently across this toolchain can be a challenge.
  • Ensuring seamless integration is essential for end-to-end testing.

Performance and scalability concerns:

  • Handling pop-ups can potentially impact test execution speed and performance.
  • As test suites grow, the scalability of pop-up handling strategies becomes crucial.
  • Optimizing performance while maintaining reliability is a delicate balance.

Lack of standardization:

  • No universal standard or best practice for handling authentication pop-ups.
  • Each organization may have its own approach based on specific requirements.
  • Knowledge sharing and collaboration can help address this challenge.

Addressing these challenges effectively is critical for reliable and comprehensive web application testing that involves authentication pop-ups. Developers and testers must carefully evaluate their testing environment, authentication mechanisms, and security requirements to devise robust and maintainable strategies, ensuring accurate test results and a seamless user experience.

Overcoming Authentication Pop-up Challenges

Ways to overcome authentication pop-up challenges includes:

  • Leveraging Built-In Capabilities:

One effective approach involves utilizing Cypress’s built-in capabilities to interact with and manipulate web elements within the authentication pop-up. This strategy allows testers to programmatically enter the required login credentials and simulate the authentication process during test execution. By identifying and targeting the relevant input fields and buttons, Cypress can automate entering credentials and submitting the authentication form, mitigating disruptions to the test flow.

  • Bypassing Authentication with Tokens:

Another approach to handling authentication pop-ups is to bypass them entirely using authentication tokens or session management techniques. Instead of dealing with the pop-up during test execution, testers can obtain valid authentication tokens or session identifiers in advance and inject them directly into the application under test. 

  • Custom Commands and Plugins:

Cypress also supports using custom commands and plugins, which can be leveraged to encapsulate authentication logic and streamline the handling of authentication pop-ups across multiple test cases or test suites. Testers can maintain a consistent and scalable approach to managing authentication-related scenarios by creating reusable authentication helpers or utility functions. These custom commands can be easily integrated into test scripts, reducing code duplication and improving maintainability.

  • Handling Third-Party Authentication:

In scenarios where web applications rely on third-party authentication providers, such as OAuth or social media logins, Cypress offers mechanisms to interact with and automate the authentication flow. This includes simulating user interactions with external authentication providers and handling redirects or callbacks correctly. By leveraging Cypress’s capabilities to interact with external systems, testers can effectively navigate these authentication processes and ensure comprehensive testing coverage.

Leverage a platform like LambdaTest, an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that allows you to run your tests simultaneously across many different browser and environment combinations. It allows you to handle authentication pop-ups within Cypress tests, specifically when running them on the LambdaTest platform.


Handling authentication pop-ups is a common challenge when performing automated testing with tools like Cypress. These pop-ups can disrupt the test flow, leading to inaccurate or incomplete results if not addressed properly. Cypress provides several strategies to effectively handle authentication prompts, including leveraging built-in capabilities to interact with pop-up elements, bypassing authentication with tokens or session management, creating custom commands and plugins, and handling third-party authentication scenarios.

The most suitable approach depends on the application’s authentication mechanisms and requirements. Some methods discussed include using browser extensions, leveraging application-level authentication APIs, creating custom Cypress plugins, or defining reusable custom commands. Addressing authentication pop-ups is crucial for reliable and comprehensive testing, ensuring accurate test results, and maintaining data integrity and security.


Leave a Comment