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Ghost Driver is an implementation of the Remote WebDriver Wire protocol, using PhantomJS as back-end
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Ghost Driver

Ghost Driver is a pure JavaScript implementation of the WebDriver Wire Protocol for PhantomJS. It's going to be a Remote WebDriver that uses PhantomJS as back-end.


  • Under development / almost ready for 1.0
  • Code Hardening in progress: before raising bugs, check if's a "not yet implemented" feature first
  • ~90% of the WireProtocol currently implemented
  • Version 1.0 will implement all the commands EXCEPT the ones related with Mobile WebDrivers (see spreadsheet below)
  • DEPENDS ON MY BRANCH OF PHANTOMJS, as mentioned below in the Requirements section

You can monitor development progress at this Google Spreadsheet.


At the moment you need to compile a specific version of PhantomJS to run GhostDriver. This is because GhostDriver needed new features in PhantomJS to fulfill all the functionalities of the WebDriver "protocol".

Checkout and Compile Ivan De Marino's PhantomJS ghostdriver-dev branch:

  1. Prepare your machine for building PhantomJS as documented here
  2. git remote add detro
  3. git checkout -b detro-ghostdriver-dev remotes/detro/ghostdriver-dev
  4. Compile as you would compile PhantomJS

How to use it

Run the tests

Here I show how to clone this repo and kick start the (Java) tests. You need Java SDK to run them (I tested it with Java 7, but should work with Java 6 too).

  1. git clone
  2. Configure phantomjs_exec_path inside ghostdriver/test/config.ini to point at the build of PhantomJS you just did
  3. Configure phantomjs_driver_path inside ghostdriver/test/config.ini to the absolute path of your clone of ghostdriver/src/main.js
  4. cd ghostdriver/test; ./gradlew test

Run GhostDriver yourself and launch tests against that instance

  1. phantomjs ghostdriver/src/main.js PORT
  2. Configure driver inside ghostdriver/test/config.ini to point at the URL http://localhost:PORT
  3. cd ghostdriver/test; ./gradlew test

Register GhostDriver with a Selenium Grid hub

  1. Launch the grid server, which listens on 4444 by default: java -jar /path/to/selenium-server-standalone-2.25.0.jar -role hub
  2. Register with the hub: phantomjs ghostdriver/src/main.js 8080
  3. Now you can use your normal webdriver client with and just request browserName: phantomjs

Presentation and Slides (old)

In April 2012 I (Ivan De Marino) presented GhostDriver at the Selenium Conference: slides and video.

Reasoning: pros and cons

Pros of using an Headless browser for your Selenium testing

  • Speed: makes development faster
  • Speed: makes THE developer happier
  • Speed: makes leaves more time for beer, video-games, cycling or whatever you fancy
  • ...

Cons of using an Headless browser for your Selenium testing

  • PhantomJS is not a "Real" Browser, but "just" very very close to one


You can contribute testing it and reporting bugs and issues, or submitting Pull Requests. Any help is welcome, but bear in mind the following base principles:

  • Squash your commits by theme: I prefer a clean, readable log
  • Maintain consistency with the code-style you are surrounded by
  • If you are going to make a big, substantial change, let's discuss it first


GhostDriver is distributed under BSD License.

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