Website Testing Service

This section describes the Aardstorm website testing service, including a range of standard features that we can test on your site, details of the information we will need from you to complete your testing requirements, and a description of how we will test your site. See our fees summary page for details of our standard charges for this service.

This service applies where you want us to test a website that has been designed and implemented by yourself, or somebody else. Our website design and implementation services include testing the websites that we produce as part of our standard services, so as a client of these services you do not need to specify this service separately, unless you have specific testing requirements. Such clients are, however, welcome read more of this section to find out more detail about how we will test your new site.

Website Location

If the website that you want us to test for you is already live on the internet, either at its final web address or at a separate testing address (or will be by the time you instruct us to test it), then we can test it there, in situ. Alternatively, if you want us to test it before it goes onto the internet, you can supply us with a full set of files to install on our own off-line server.

In situ testing is the simplest approach, and means that we can test sites implemented in a wide range of technologies, but it does mean that there is a risk of others accessing your new site before it has been tested. This risk is minimal if your site is completely new: few people will find your site until you draw attention to it, and the search engines can be prevented from indexing your site until you are ready. A new version of an existing site, however, will be very easy to find unless it is installed at a separate testing address.

Off-line testing is the safest method, in that nobody else will be able to access your site until you place it on the internet, but at present our test server only supports a limited range of server-side implementation technologies: PHP, PERL, and MySQL hosted on an Apache-based web server. This covers most websites that are to be hosted on Linux-based servers, but we are at present unable to test off-line websites that rely on Microsoft or other vendor-specific technologies.

What We Can Test

The following sections briefly describe the individual tests that we can perform on your new website. This is our standard range of tests; if you require something different, the please enquire for a detailed quotation.

Page Content

We will carefully proofread each page of your website, looking for errors and inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Unless you specify otherwise, we will apply the spelling and other conventions of British English, and where words have alternative, equally-valid spellings, we will adapt our checking to your chosen style to ensure that the same spelling is used consistently throughout your site. Manual checking in this way is necessary because automated spelling and grammar checkers are generally unable to detect certain types of errors; for example, a word that has been mistyped to become a different word, probably with a very different meaning, is unlikely to be detected by automated checking because the mistyped version still appears in the dictionary.

While checking your pages in this way, we will also look for:

  • inconsistencies in paragraph and table formatting,
  • relevance of captions and cross-references to illustrations and tables,
  • relevance (and presence) of 'alt' text for illustrations,
  • relevance (and presence) of page titles and other page 'metadata' such as descriptions and keywords,

Browser Compatibility

We will view each page of your site in a range of different browser programs and versions, and in each case, check its response to a range of different window sizes and font size settings. We will check that your site looks at least similar in each browser, and if necessary degrades reasonably when viewed in older versions of the browsers. We will also look out for the effects of well-known bugs in the different browsers.

The browsers that we normally use for these tests include:

  • Internet Explore, Windows versions 7, 6, 5.5 and 5.0
  • Firefox, Windows versions 2 and 1.5
  • Opera, Windows version 9

If you require us to test your site against specific browsers not list here, please enquire or specify them when requesting a quotation.


We will check that every hypertext link on every page points to a meaningful destination page, both for links to other pages in your site, and links to external websites. This means checking that the destination page reached by following the link not only exists, but is relevant to the meaning of the link in its specific context. Each link therefore has to be manually followed to ensure that it reaches the expected destination; automated link checkers usually only verify that a page of some sort exists at the destination of a link, not that the destination page is the one intended.

This is obviously a very time-consuming, and hance expensive, process. You can reduce the cost of this service by informing us when sets of links that appear on multiple pages - such as standardised groups of site navigation controls - have been implemented using some sort of template mechanism, and are therefore guaranteed to be the same on every page: such links only need to be tested once, not on every page that they appear.

Interactive Forms

We will check each input control of every form page in your site to ensure that it accepts a range of reasonable values, and, where appropriate, that it rejects a range of obviously unreasonable or invalid ones. If you provide us with details of valid ranges for some or all of such controls, we will check that those controls correctly accept or reject values around the limits of those ranges.

Where a form would normally automatically generate e-mails to you, then it would be helpful if you could arrange for all such e-mails to be forwarded to us during the testing period, so that we can verify that the e-mails contain the correct data corresponding to what we entered into the form.

e-Commerce Facilities

We can also test e-commerce features of your website, such as shopping carts, payment forms, etc. We can test certain aspects of these features without triggering any form of payment (by backing out of a transaction just before payment is to be authorised), but if you want us to fully test these features then we can either add an appropriate amount to our fees to cover such test payments, or you can provide some form of special mechanism whereby we can complete a payment transaction without actually triggering any transfer of money, or any order fulfilment process.

Restricted Access Areas

We can test areas of your website that are intended to be accessed only by suitably authorised users; we will verify that each page can only be accessed by users with the appropriate privileges. Where your site allows users to signup for access automatically, this will make access testing straightforward, and we will also fully exercise the signup facilities. If, however, your site includes some form of administrator-only access areas, where the adminstrator's account is either built into the site or controlled by some other special mechanism, then we will only be able test such facilities if you provide us with access to that account.

Please note that in testing access restrictions, we are not offering to test your site for resistance to hacking; you will need to engage the services of a website security testing specialist for that. We will only test simple valid/invalid password acceptance and rejection operations.

Site Search Facilities

Where your site includes some form of internal search facility, we will verify that the search results contain:

  • only entries that are relevant to the entered search parameters,
  • entries that are sorted into an expected order (where specified),
  • all entries that are relevant to the entered search parameters.

These tests will be performed for a range of searches designed to produce different numbers of entries, including none.

Newsletters and Mailing Lists

Where your site includes a facility that allows users to signup to receive a newsletter, or other form of mailing list, and this linked to some form of on-line database that allows those users to control their own subscriptions, then we can test those facilities for valid and invalid access too. If this facility also includes adminstrator access to upload and distribute the newsletters to the subscribers, and you provide us with access to that adminstrator account, then we can also test the distribution function, by adding several of our own e-mail addresses to the list, then sending representative newsletters to ourselves.

Where such lists are managed off-line, in response to automated e-mails from the subscription form, then this feature will be simply tested in a similar manner to any other form, as described above.

Test Results

As we execute our tests on your website, we will document our findings in a report that we will send to you on completion of our work. If you supply us with the necessary source files, and authorisation, we will also correct simple errors, such as spelling or simple formatting problems, as we find them. We can do this either in lieu of detailed entries in our report, at no extra cost, or for a small additional charge, fixed at the time of quotation.

For more complicated problems, or if you do not authorise us in advance to correct simple errors, we will simply describe them in our report, and produce a quotation for our services to fix them for you.

Testing Process

The overall process used by Aardstorm to test an external website to your requirements will normally consist of the following steps:

1. Request Quotation

You request us to supply a quotation for the testing of your website. At this point you need to supply us with sufficient information about your requirements for us to accurately estimate the work involved in producing your site. This will include such information as:

  • The number of pages in your site, and an indication of the amount of text per page
  • The number of links per page, and whether any of them are generated by a template mechanism
  • The number of interactive forms, together with numbers and types of input controls, and whether you will be specifying any specific ranges of vaildity
  • The number and types of special features, such as those described above, are to be tested, and to what extent
  • Whether you will be providing us with any special access accounts, or 'payment' facilities
  • Whether we are to test your site in situ, or off-line on our own server.

2. Supply Quotation

On receipt of your request, we will use the information you supply about your requirements to estimate the amount of work involved for us to test your site. If anything about your requirements is unclear, we will request clarification from you. We will then produce a firm quotation and send it to you. This will include a firm price and schedule for the work to be done (subject to no significant changes to your requirements), together with a summary of your requirements so that you can check that we have understood your request.

3. Place Order

If you accept our quotation, and decide to commission us to test your website, you then place a firm order, and pay a deposit of 50% of the total testing fees. At this point you need to also supply us with the final, detailed, testing requirements, access information, and, if we are to test your site off-line, a complete set of files to be tested for installation on our server.

4. Test Website

Once we have received all necessary information from you, we will test your website in accordance with your requirements, as described above. We will will document the results of our tests in a report, and if you have authorised us to do so, certain types of errors will be corrected as we find them. We will then notify you on the completion of our tests, and send you our report, together with, if appropriate, a quotation for correcting any problems we have found. We will also at this point send you our invoice for the remainder of the fees due.

5. Approval

You should then carefully check the website we have produced to ensure that it contains no errors, and meets your requirements. We will correct any errors against your original requirements free of charge. However, if you now require something different, we will be happy to accommodate your changes, but will charge you extra for the additional work involved - we will provide you with a quotation, and will only proceed with your changes once you have accepted the revised fees. Once you are satisfied with our work, you then pay the remainder of our design fees (and initial hosting and management fees).

6. Website Goes Fully Live

Once we have received your payment, your new website will be moved to its final location on our servers. A link to your site will also be placed in the 'examples' section of this site, so that the search engines can find your new site. If you have also commissioned us to do more extensive search engine notification, this is when we will do it.


Throughout the design process, communication between us will normally be via e-mail; you will therefore need to supply us with a valid e-mail address that we can use to contact you. You will also need internet access for web browsing, in order to be able to view and approve new website design. If you require a face-to-face meeting, we are willing to visit you, but will charge extra for the travelling and subsistence costs incurred.