What you’ll learn

  • How Cypress runs in the same event loop with your code, keeping debugging simple and understandable
  • How Cypress embraces the standard Developer Tools
  • How and when to use debugger and the shorthand .debug() command
  • How to troubleshoot issues with Cypress itself

Using debugger

Your Cypress test code runs in the same run loop as your application. This means you have access to the code running on the page, as well as the things the browser makes available to you, like document, window, and, of course, debugger.

Debug just like you always do

Based on those statements, you might be tempted to just throw a debugger into your test, like so:

it('let me debug like a fiend', function() {


  debugger // Doesn't work

This may not work exactly as you are expecting. As you may remember from the Introduction to Cypress, cy commands enqueue an action to be taken later. Can you see what the test above will do given that perspective?

Both cy.visit() and cy.get() will return immediately, having enqueued their work to be done later, and debugger will be executed before any of the commands have actually run.

Let’s use .then() to tap into the Cypress command during execution and add a debugger at the appropriate time:

it('let me debug when the after the command executes', function () {

    .then(($selectedElement) => {
      // Debugger is hit after the cy.visit
      // and cy.get command have completed

Now we’re in business! The first time through, cy.visit() and the cy.get() chain (with its .then() attached) are enqueued for Cypress to execute. The it block exits, and Cypress starts its work:

  1. The page is visited, and Cypress waits for it to load.
  2. The element is queried, and Cypress automatically waits and retries for a few moments if it isn’t found immediately.
  3. The function passed to .then() is executed, with the found element yielded to it.
  4. Within the context of the .then() function, the debugger is called, halting the browser and calling focus to the Developer Tools.
  5. You’re in! Inspect the state of your application like you normally would if you’d dropped the debugger into your application code.

Using .debug()

Cypress also exposes a shortcut for debugging commands, .debug(). Let’s rewrite the test above using this helper method:

it('let me debug like a fiend', function() {


The current subject that is yielded by the cy.get() is exposed as the variable subject within your Developer Tools so that you can interact with it in the console.

Debugging Subject

Use .debug() to quickly inspect any (or many!) part(s) of your application during the test. You can attach it to any Cypress chain of commands to have a look at the system’s state at that moment.

Using the Developer Tools

Though Cypress has built out an excellent Test Runner to help you understand what is happening in your application and your tests, there’s no replacing all the amazing work browser teams have done on their built-in development tools. Once again, we see that Cypress goes with the flow of the modern ecosystem, opting to leverage these tools wherever possible.

See it in action!

You can see a walk-through of debugging some application code from Cypress in this segment from our React tutorial series.

Get console logs for commands

All of Cypress’s commands, when clicked on within the Command Log, print extra information about the command, its subject, and its yielded result. Try clicking around the Command Log with your Developer Tools open! You may find some useful information here.

When clicking on .type() command, the Developer Tools console outputs the following:

Console Log type

Troubleshooting Cypress

There are times when you will encounter errors or unexpected behavior with Cypress itself. In this situation, we recommend checking these support resources first.

Support channels

  • Connect with our community in Gitter
  • Search existing GitHub issues
  • Search this documentation (search is in the top right) 😉
  • Search Stack Overflow for relevant answers
  • If your organization signs up for one of our paid plans, you can get dedicated email support, which gives you one-on-one help from our team.
  • If you still haven’t found a solution, open an issue with a reproducible example.

Isolate the Problem

When debugging a failing test, follow these general principles to isolate the problem:

  • Look at the video recordings and screenshots.
  • Split large spec files into smaller ones.
  • Split long tests into smaller tests.
  • Run the same test using --browser chrome. The problem might be isolated to the Electron browser.
  • If isolated to the Electron browser. Run the same tests in both Electron and Chrome, then compare the screenshots/videos. Look for and isolate any differences in the Command Log.

Download specific Chrome version

The Chrome browser is evergreen - meaning it will automatically update itself, sometimes causing a breaking change in your automated tests. We host chromium.cypress.io with links to download a specific released version of Chrome (dev, Canary and stable) for every platform.

Clear Cypress cache

If you’re having an issue during installation of Cypress, try removing the contents of the Cypress cache.

This will clear out all installed versions of Cypress that may be cached on your machine.

cypress cache clear

After running this command, you will need to run cypress install before running Cypress again.

npm install cypress --save-dev

Launching browsers

Cypress attempts to automatically find installed Chrome versions for you. However, probing for browsers across different environments can be error-prone. If Cypress cannot find a browser but you know you have it installed, there are ways to ensure that Cypress can “see” it.

Using the --browser command line argument

You can also supply the --browser command line argument to launch a browser from a known filesystem path to bypass browser auto detection. See ‘Launching Browsers’ for more information

To see debug logs from the browser launcher, run Cypress with the DEBUG environment variable set to cypress:launcher.


On Mac, Cypress attempts to find installed browsers by their bundle identifier. If this does not succeed, it will fall back to the Linux browser detection method.

Browser Name Expected Bundle Identifier Expected Executable
chrome com.google.Chrome Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome
chromium org.chromium.Chromium Contents/MacOS/Chromium
canary com.google.Chrome.canary Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome Canary


On Linux, Cypress scans your PATH for a number of different binary names. If the browser you are trying to use does not exist under one of the expected binary names, Cypress will not be able to find it.

Browser Name Expected Binary Name(s)
chrome google-chrome, chrome, or google-chrome-stable
chromium chromium-browser or chromium
canary google-chrome-canary

These binary names should work for most Linux distributions. If your distribution packages browsers under a different binary name, you can add a symlink using the expected binary name so that Cypress can detect it.

For example, if your distribution packages Google Chrome as chrome, you could add a symlink to google-chrome like this:

sudo ln `which chrome` /usr/local/bin/google-chrome


On Windows, Cypress scans the following locations to try to find each browser:

Browser Name Expected Path
chrome C:/Program Files (x86)/Google/Chrome/Application/chrome.exe
chromium C:/Program Files (x86)/Google/chrome-win32/chrome.exe
canary %APPDATA%/../Local/Google/Chrome SxS/Application/chrome.exe

To make a browser installed at a different path be auto-detected, create a symbolic link using mklink in the location that Cypress expects to find your browser.

Read more about creating symbolic links on Windows

Chrome extension whitelisting

Cypress utilizes a Chrome extension within the Test Runner in order to run properly. If you or your company whitelist specific Chrome extensions, this may cause problems with running Cypress. You will want to ask your administrator to whitelist the Cypress extension ID below:


Clear App Data

Cypress maintains some local application data in order to save user preferences and more quickly start up. Sometimes this data can become corrupted. You may fix an issue you have by clearing this app data.

To clear App Data

  1. Open Cypress via cypress open
  2. Go to File -> View App Data
  3. This will take you to the directory in your file system where your App Data is stored. If you cannot open Cypress, search your file system for a directory named cy whose content should look something like this:

    📂 production
     📄 all.log
     📁 browsers
     📁 bundles
     📄 cache
     📁 projects
     📁 proxy
     📄 state.json
  4. Delete everything in the cy folder
  5. Close Cypress and open it up again

Step through test commands

You can run the test command by command using the .pause() command.

it('adds items', function () {
  // more commands

This allows you to inspect the web application, the DOM, the network, and any storage after each command to make sure everything happens as expected.

Print DEBUG logs

Cypress is built using the debug module. That means you can receive helpful debugging output by running Cypress with this turned on. Note: you will see a LOT of messages when running with DEBUG=... setting.

On Mac or Linux:

DEBUG=cypress:* cypress open

On Windows:

set DEBUG=cypress:*
cypress open

Read more about the CLI options here and Good Logging blog post.

Detailed Logs

There are several levels of DEBUG messages

# prints very few top-level messages
DEBUG=cypress:server ...
# prints ALL messages from server package
DEBUG=cypress:server* ...
# prints messages only from config parsing
DEBUG=cypress:server:config ...

This allows you to isolate the problem a little better

Debug logs in the browser

If the problem is seen during cypress open you can print debug logs in the browser too. Open the browser’s Developer Tools and set a localStorage property:

localStorage.debug = 'cypress*'

// to disable debug messages
delete localStorage.debug

Reload the browser and see debug messages within the Developer Tools console. You will only see the “cypress:driver” package logs that run in the browser, as you can see below.

Debug logs in browser

Log Cypress events

In addition to the DEBUG messages, Cypress also emits multiple events you can listen to as shown below. Read more about logging events in the browser here.

console log events for debugging

Run Cypress command outside the test

If you need to run a Cypress command straight from the Developer Tools console, you can use the internal command cy.now('command name', ...arguments). For example, to run the equivalent of cy.task('database', 123) outside the normal execution command chain:

cy.now('task', 123)
// runs cy.task(123) and prints the resolved value

The cy.now() command is an internal command and may change in the future.

Additional information

Write command log to the terminal

You can include the plugin cypress-failed-log in your tests. This plugin writes the list of Cypress commands to the terminal as well as a JSON file if a test fails.

cypress-failed-log terminal output

Hacking on Cypress

If you want to dive into Cypress and edit the code yourself, you can do that. The Cypress code is open source and licensed under an MIT license. There are a few tips on getting started that we’ve outlined below.


If you’d like to contribute directly to the Cypress code, we’d love to have your help! Please check out our contributing guide to learn about the many ways you can contribute.

Run the Cypress app by itself

Cypress comes with an npm CLI module that parses the arguments, starts the Xvfb server (if necessary), and then opens the Test Runner application built on top of Electron. Some common situations on why you would want to do this are:

  • debug Cypress not starting or hanging
  • debug problems related to the way CLI arguments are parsed by the npm CLI module

Here is how you can launch Cypress application directly without the npm CLI module. First, find where the binary is installed using the cypress cache path command.

For example, on a Linux machine:

npx cypress cache path

Second, try a smoke test that verifies that the application has all its required dependencies present on the host machine:

/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress --smoke-test --ping=101

If there is a missing dependency, the application should print an error message. You can see the Electron verbose log messages by setting an environment variable ELECTRON_ENABLE_LOGGING:

ELECTRON_ENABLE_LOGGING=true DISPLAY= /root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress --smoke-test --ping=101
[809:0617/151243.281369:ERROR:bus.cc(395)] Failed to connect to the bus: Failed to connect to socket /var/run/dbus/system_bus_socket: No such file or directory

If the smoke test fails to execute, check if a shared library is missing (a common problem on Linux machines without all of the Cypress dependencies present).

ldd /home/person/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress
  linux-vdso.so.1 (0x00007ffe9eda0000)
  libnode.so => /home/person/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/libnode.so (0x00007fecb43c8000)
  libpthread.so.0 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpthread.so.0 (0x00007fecb41ab000)
  libgtk-3.so.0 => not found
  libgdk-3.so.0 => not found

Tip: use Cypress Docker image or install dependencies by copying them from one of our official Docker images.

Note: verbose Electron logging might show warnings that still allow Cypress to work normally. For example, the Cypress Test Runner opens normally despite the scary output below:

ELECTRON_ENABLE_LOGGING=true DISPLAY= /root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress
[475:0617/150421.326986:ERROR:bus.cc(395)] Failed to connect to the bus: Failed to connect to socket /var/run/dbus/system_bus_socket: No such file or directory
[475:0617/150425.061526:ERROR:bus.cc(395)] Failed to connect to the bus: Could not parse server address: Unknown address type (examples of valid types are "tcp" and on UNIX "unix")
[475:0617/150425.079819:ERROR:bus.cc(395)] Failed to connect to the bus: Could not parse server address: Unknown address type (examples of valid types are "tcp" and on UNIX "unix")
[475:0617/150425.371013:INFO:CONSOLE(73292)] "%cDownload the React DevTools for a better development experience: https://fb.me/react-devtools
You might need to use a local HTTP server (instead of file://): https://fb.me/react-devtools-faq", source: file:///root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/resources/app/packages/desktop-gui/dist/app.js (73292)

You can also see verbose Cypress logs when running the Test Runner binary

DEBUG=cypress* DISPLAY= /root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress --smoke-test --ping=101
cypress:ts Running without ts-node hook in environment "production" +0ms
cypress:server:cypress starting cypress with argv [ '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress', '--smoke-test', '--ping=101' ] +0ms
cypress:server:args argv array: [ '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress', '--smoke-test', '--ping=101' ] +0ms
cypress:server:args argv parsed: { _: [ '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress' ], smokeTest: true, ping: 101, cwd: '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/resources/app/packages/server' } +7ms
cypress:server:args options { _: [ '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress' ], smokeTest: true, ping: 101, cwd: '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/resources/app/packages/server', config: {} } +2ms
cypress:server:args argv options: { _: [ '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/Cypress' ], smokeTest: true, ping: 101, cwd: '/root/.cache/Cypress/3.3.1/Cypress/resources/app/packages/server', config: {}, pong: 101 } +1ms
cypress:server:appdata path: /root/.config/Cypress/cy/production +0ms
cypress:server:cypress starting in mode smokeTest +356ms
cypress:server:cypress about to exit with code 0 +4ms

Edit the installed Cypress code

The installed Test Runner comes with the fully transpiled, unobfuscated JavaScript source code that you can hack on. You might want to directly modify the installed Test Runner code to:

  • investigate a hard to recreate bug that happens on your machine
  • change the run-time behavior of Cypress before opening a pull request
  • have fun 🎉

First, print where the binary is installed using the cypress cache path command.

For example, on a Mac:

npx cypress cache path

Second, open the source code at the following path in any code editor. Make sure to substitute 3.3.1 for the desired version of the Test Runner you want to edit.


You can change anything in the JavaScript code:

Source code of the Test Runner in a text editor

When finished, if necessary, remove the edited Test Runner version and reinstall the Cypress official version to get back to the official released code.

rm -rf /Users/jane/Library/Caches/Cypress/3.3.1
npm install [email protected]

© 2017 Cypress.io
Licensed under the MIT License.