Disable JavaScript using Selenium WebDriver

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Selenium WebDriver is a web automation framework relies heavily on Automation Atoms, which are implemented as JavaScript functions for execution within the browser. Therefore, disabling JavaScript has never been an intended use case in Selenium WebDriver, which might break drivers' functionality and cause unexpected behaviours.

Nevertheless, for whatever the reason is, there are still some developers have been asking how to start browsers using Selenium WebDriver with JavaScript disabled. This article shows a few examples on how to disable JavaScript in Chrome, Firefox, IE and PhantomJS using Selenium WebDriver Ruby binding.


ChromeDriver (with Chrome 28 or under)

Disabling JavaScript in Chrome is possible with old ChromeDriver prior to ChromeDriver2, which only supports Chrome 28 or under.

# Environment tested
# Windows 7, Chrome 28, ChromeDriver 26.0.1383.0, Selenium 2.39.0

require 'selenium-webdriver'

driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for :chrome, :switches => %w[--disable-javascript]

ChromeDriver2 (with Chrome 29 or above)

The above method no longer works for ChromeDriver2, and it will not be fixed as ChromeDriver should have JavaScript enabled to work properly in the first place.

Here are quotes from Issue 3175 and Issue 6672:

WARNING: Running without JavaScript is unsupported and will likely break a large portion of the ChromeDriver's functionality. I suspect you will be able to do little more than navigate to a page. This is NOT a supported use case, and we will not be supporting it.

Closing this as WontFix - the ChromeDriver (and every other WebDriver implementation I'm aware of) require JavaScript to function.


JavaScript can be disabled from javascript.enabled preference in Firefox's about:config page. Here is how to achieve it using Selenium WebDriver Ruby binding.

# Environment tested
# Linux Mint 16, Firefox 28, Selenium 2.41.0

require 'selenium-webdriver'

profile = Selenium::WebDriver::Firefox::Profile.new
profile["javascript.enabled"] = false

driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for :firefox, :profile => profile


Unfortunately, this is also not possible in IEDriver.

Setting capability javascriptEnabled to false will not result in any exceptions, but, it doesn't mean the browser can be started with this capability. Selenium is designed to ignore capabilities that are not supported by the requested browser. DesiredCapabilities wiki page states javascriptEnabled capability only works on headless HTMLUnitDriver.

A quote from IEDriver's developer in this StackOverflow answer:

You can't disable JavaScript in the IE driver.

Furthermore, much of the functionality of the IE driver (and indeed all drivers at present) is implemented in JavaScript. That means disabling JavaScript would render large parts of the IE driver (and indeed all drivers at present) useless.


It is possible to disable JavaScript completely in PhantomJS using javascriptEnabled setting in its API reference. Once again, this prevents all JavaScript from execution, including those needed by Selenium WebDriver itself.

# Environment tested
# Linux Mint 16, PhantomJS 1.9.7, Selenium 2.41.0

require 'selenium-webdriver'

capabilities = Selenium::WebDriver::Remote::Capabilities.phantomjs("phantomjs.page.settings.javascriptEnabled" => "false")
driver = Selenium::WebDriver.for :phantomjs, :desired_capabilities => capabilities