Localization tests are a necessity for companies operating in different locations around the world. For example, ecommerce websites that sell products in different countries require localization testing to ensure that the right languages, promotions, payment methods, shipping methods and other attributes are shown given the visitor's location. Or, some companies may want to ensure that their content isn’t shown in certain countries for regulatory reasons.
The best way to test localization is to connect to your application through a server that is physically located in a target location. While there are other workarounds, such as spoofing IP addresses or forcing specific locations with URL query strings, connecting through a remote server is the most reliable way to ensure that everything works. These remote servers could be either VPN (virtual private network) or proxy servers, depending on your preferences and requirements.
What Is a VPN Server?
A VPN is an encrypted network between your computer and a remote computer (the VPN server) that can accept and forward network requests. The network acts as a secure tunnel for all your internet traffic, which means that every application running on your computer will use the VPN to access the internet. Since a VPN connection applies to your whole computer, you can only use one connection at a time. Connecting to the VPN also involves some encrypted haggling between your computer and the VPN server, so it takes a few seconds to start up.
VPNs are perfect for securing an Internet connection on an untrusted network, like public wifi in a cafe or airport, since it protects all traffic from man in the middle attacks. Many remote workers use a VPN to connect to their company's intranet and transact with sensitive data for these reasons. While proxy servers are often a better fit for localization testing, VPNs can be used for interactive tests, since they can be located strategically around the world.
Localization Testing with VPNs
Most localization tests begin as manual quality assurance tests. For instance, QA personnel may access a web application through a VPN located in a specific location to verify a piece of functionality. Developers can also use VPNs as a quick way to verify that some localization code works before sending it to quality assurance teams. It's a quick and easy way to ensure that everything is working without a lot of configuration — you simply connect to the remote server and access the application.
Download our free Checklist of VPN features for localization testing to find the best option for your needs.
As an application becomes more mature, manual quality assurance is often replaced with automated tests. Developers and test engineers collaborate to create tests that can be programmatically run after each merge or before each deploy. The idea is to maximize test coverage as the number of test cases grows while minimizing the hours spent on each test. Developers may still use VPNs for quick manual tests, but automated test suites require proxy servers that can run tests in parallel with zero startup time.
Proxy servers are similar to VPN servers in that requests are routed through a remote server, but unlike a VPN, proxy servers work on an application-by-application basis rather than for the entire computer. While proxy servers obscure IP addresses, they don't encrypt traffic or strip away identifying information, which makes them less secure. The good news is that multiple proxy server connections can be made in parallel and the lack of encryption means there's no startup time — making localization testing much faster.
WonderProxy as an Alternative
Proxy servers may be ideal for localization testing purposes, but many of them are unreliable and difficult to configure. For example, many free proxy servers inject ads that make it difficult or impossible to run automated tests. Developers and test engineers require proxy servers that have a diverse global presence, reliable uptime and no ads or other code injections that can throw off tests and cause them to erroneously fail.
WonderProxy specializes in providing proxy and VPN servers to developers and test engineers looking to run localization tests. With more than 250 servers across more than 80 countries, our network covers 97 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). We work with trusted partners for a fast and ad-free experience, and we strive for consistent uptime that ensures your test suites don't experience unnecessary delays or errors.
Don't forget to download our free Checklist of VPN features for localization testing to find the best option for your needs.
WonderProxy also makes it easy to automate localization testing through integrations with Sauce Labs, which provides cloud-based testing and the ability to run tests on over 350 browser/platform combinations, and Selenium. You can quickly test your application around the world with minimal setup time and zero maintenance, which frees up your time to focus on other areas of the application.
Each WonderProxy account also comes with VPN servers, which means that developers and test engineers can run quick manual tests when needed or use VPNs to test things that aren't compatible with proxy servers, such as a legacy Flash plugin or a desktop application that doesn't support proxy servers.
Sign up for WonderProxy today to see how easy it is to get started with localization testing today.
The Bottom Line
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are a great way to ensure a secure connection when working remotely or traveling, but it may not the best way to test localization. Developers and test engineers should consider their requirements and decide whether proxy servers might be a better fit for their localization tests. WonderProxy is especially designed for these purposes with reliable uptime, robust speeds and a diverse geographic presence.