Welcome to the docs!

As you can see, we’re still in the process of developing this section. While we have some great resources for you to get started, never forget we’re here to help. Contact us, and we’ll get back to you on any questions you have.

What is BrowserCat?

BrowserCat provides a fleet of headless browsers you can leverage to accomplish a huge range of tasks:

  1. Browser automation
  2. Web scraping and crawling
  3. Dynamic image, PDF, and video generation
  4. Automated testing
  5. Uptime monitoring
  6. And more!

Think of it this way:
BrowserCat is to browsers what AWS is to servers.

You can spin up a browser in seconds, use it for as long as you need, and then shut it down when you’re done. During that time, you can use it to accomplish anything you can do in a real live browser.

How does BrowserCat work?

BrowerCat hosts thousands of headless browsers all over the globe. They come in different flavors: chromium, webkit, and firefox. Most of them wait dormant for connections, then spring to life.

You can connect to these using a websocket connection, running one or more “user sessions,” each with it’s own set of browser tabs. For the duration of the session, they save cookies, cache assets, and otherwise behave like a real browser. In fact, they’re almost impossible to detect as bots.

Your code communicates with the browser via websockets, sending commands and receiving responses. This happens remarkably fast, and you can run hundreds of sessions in parallel.

When you finally disconnect, the “user sessions” you created are destroyed, and the browser goes back to sleep.

How do I connect?

BrowserCat currently supports the Playwright automation library, an open source project maintained by Microsoft, available for Javascript, Python, Java, and .NET. Playwright compliant packages are also available for Ruby, PHP, Go, and Rust, among others.

Because this package is so robust and well-maintained, you will always be able to find solutions to your problems, whether through BrowserCat’s content or on the wider web.

Similarly, since Playwright is open source, you can also easily move your code elsewhere, if BrowserCat ever stops being the best option for running your browsers. This means that what’s best for you is best for BrowserCat—and that’s a great place to be as a company.

Why Playwright?

While there are alternatives to Playwright (such as Puppeteer, Cypress, and Selenium), we believe firmly that Playwright is the future of browser automation. It’s got the best API, the best features, the best performance, the most-active development team, and a huge, growing community. No other package can make such a claim.

If Playwright is free, why use BrowserCat?

Playwright is a fantastic library, but it can’t (and won’t) ever host your headless browsers for you. That’s where BrowserCat comes in.

I’ve personally experienced the pain of hosting a fleet of browsers for a large-scale web scraping project. It’s not fun. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and it’s a huge distraction from work that will actually differentiate yourself from your competitors.

So rather than see BrowserCat as a competitor to Playwright, consider it an enabler. It allows you to focus on your core business, while we focus on ours: hosting browsers.

Start now!

Getting started is easy:

  1. Sign up for a free account
  2. Write your first automation or test
  3. Deploy your automation or test
  4. Monitor usage, manage keys, and configure billing on the dashboard