Network Requests

Testing Strategies

Cypress helps you test the entire lifecycle of HTTP requests within your application. Cypress provides you access to the objects with information about the request, enabling you to make assertions about its properties. Additionally you can even stub and mock a request's response.

Common testing scenarios:

  • Asserting on a request's body
  • Asserting on a request's url
  • Asserting on a request's headers
  • Stubbing a response's body
  • Stubbing a response's status code
  • Stubbing a response's headers
  • Delaying a response
  • Waiting for a response to happen

Within Cypress, you have the ability to choose whether to stub responses or allow them to actually hit your server. You can also mix and match within the same test by choosing to stub certain requests, while allowing others to hit your server.

Let's investigate both strategies, why you would use one versus the other, and why you should regularly use both.

Use Server Responses

Requests that are not stubbed actually reach your server. By not stubbing your responses, you are writing true end-to-end tests. This means you are driving your application the same way a real user would.

When requests are not stubbed, this guarantees that the contract between your client and server is working correctly.

In other words, you can have confidence your server is sending the correct data in the correct structure to your client to consume. It is a good idea to have end-to-end tests around your application's critical paths. These typically include user login, signup, or other critical paths such as billing.

There are downsides to not stubbing responses you should be aware of:

  • Since no responses are stubbed, that means your server has to actually send real responses. This can be problematic because you may have to seed a database before every test to generate state. For instance, if you were testing pagination, you'd have to seed the database with every object that it takes to replicate this feature in your application.
  • Since real responses go through every single layer of your server (controllers, models, views, etc) the tests are often much slower than stubbed responses.

If you are writing a traditional server-side application where most of the responses are HTML you will likely have few stubbed responses. However, most modern applications that serve JSON can take advantage of stubbing.

Stub Responses

Stubbing responses enables you to control every aspect of the response, including the response body, the status, headers, and even network delay. Stubbing is extremely fast, most responses will be returned in less than 20ms.

Stubbing responses is a great way to control the data that is returned to your client.

You don't have to do any work on the server. Your application will have no idea its requests are being stubbed, so there are no code changes needed.


Cypress enables you to stub a response and control the body, status, headers, or even delay.

cy.intercept() is used to control the behavior of HTTP requests. You can statically define the body, HTTP status code, headers, and other response characteristics.


    method: 'GET', // Route all GET requests
    url: '/users/*', // that have a URL that matches '/users/*'
  [] // and force the response to be: []
).as('getUsers') // and assign an alias

When you use cy.intercept() to define a route, Cypress displays this under "Routes" in the Command Log.

Routing Table

When a new test runs, Cypress will restore the default behavior and remove all routes and stubs. For a complete reference of the API and options, refer to the documentation for cy.intercept().


A fixture is a fixed set of data located in a file that is used in your tests. The purpose of a test fixture is to ensure that there is a well known and fixed environment in which tests are run so that results are repeatable. Fixtures are accessed within tests by calling the cy.fixture() command.

With Cypress, you can stub network requests and have it respond instantly with fixture data.

When stubbing a response, you typically need to manage potentially large and complex JSON objects. Cypress allows you to integrate fixture syntax directly into responses.

// we set the response to be the activites.json fixture
cy.intercept('GET', '/activities/*', { fixture: 'activities.json' })


Cypress automatically scaffolds out a suggested folder structure for organizing your fixtures on every new project. By default it will create an example.json file when you add your project to Cypress.


Your fixtures can be further organized within additional folders. For instance, you could create another folder called images and add images:


To access the fixtures nested within the images folder, include the folder in your cy.fixture() command.

cy.fixture('images/dogs.png') // yields dogs.png as Base64


Whether or not you choose to stub responses, Cypress enables you to declaratively cy.wait() for requests and their responses.

Here is an example of aliasing requests and then subsequently waiting on them:

cy.intercept('/activities/*', { fixture: 'activities' }).as('getActivities')
cy.intercept('/messages/*', { fixture: 'messages' }).as('getMessages')

// visiting the dashboard should make requests that match
// the two routes above

// pass an array of Route Aliases that forces Cypress to wait
// until it sees a response for each request that matches
// each of these aliases
cy.wait(['@getActivities', '@getMessages'])

// these commands will not run until the wait command resolves above
cy.get('h1').should('contain', 'Dashboard')
cy.intercept('/activities/*', { fixture: 'activities' }).as('getActivities')
cy.intercept('/messages/*', { fixture: 'messages' }).as('getMessages')

// mounting the dashboard should make requests that match
// the two routes above
cy.mount(<Dashboard />)

// pass an array of Route Aliases that forces Cypress to wait
// until it sees a response for each request that matches
// each of these aliases
cy.wait(['@getActivities', '@getMessages'])

// these commands will not run until the wait command resolves above
cy.get('h1').should('contain', 'Dashboard')

If you would like to check the response data of each response of an aliased route, you can use several cy.wait() calls.

  method: 'POST',
  url: '/myApi',

cy.wait('@apiCheck').then((interception) => {
  assert.isNotNull(interception.response.body, '1st API call has data')

cy.wait('@apiCheck').then((interception) => {
  assert.isNotNull(interception.response.body, '2nd API call has data')

cy.wait('@apiCheck').then((interception) => {
  assert.isNotNull(interception.response.body, '3rd API call has data')

Waiting on an aliased route has big advantages:

  1. Tests are more robust with much less flake.
  2. Failure messages are much more precise.
  3. You can assert about the underlying request object.

Let's investigate each benefit.


One advantage of declaratively waiting for responses is that it decreases test flake. You can think of cy.wait() as a guard that indicates to Cypress when you expect a request to be made that matches a specific routing alias. This prevents the next commands from running until responses come back and it guards against situations where your requests are initially delayed.

Auto-complete Example:

What makes this example below so powerful is that Cypress will automatically wait for a request that matches the getSearch alias. Instead of forcing Cypress to test the side effect of a successful request (the display of the Book results), you can test the actual cause of the results.

cy.intercept('/search*', [{ item: 'Book 1' }, { item: 'Book 2' }]).as(

// our autocomplete field is throttled
// meaning it only makes a request after
// 500ms from the last keyPress

// wait for the request + response
// thus insulating us from the
// throttled request

  .should('contain', 'Book 1')
  .and('contain', 'Book 2')


In our example above, we added an assertion to the display of the search results.

The search results working are coupled to a few things in our application:

  1. Our application making a request to the correct URL.
  2. Our application correctly processing the response.
  3. Our application inserting the results into the DOM.

In this example, there are many possible sources of failure. In most testing tools, if our request failed to go out, we would normally only ever get an error once we attempt to find the results in the DOM and see that there is no matching element. This is problematic because it's unknown why the results failed to be displayed. Was there a problem with our rendering code? Did we modify or change an attribute such as an id or class on an element? Perhaps our server sent us different Book items.

With Cypress, by adding a cy.wait(), you can more easily pinpoint your specific problem. If the response never came back, you'll receive an error like this:

Wait Failure

Now we know exactly why our test failed. It had nothing to do with the DOM. Instead we can see that either our request never went out or a request went out to the wrong URL.


Another benefit of using cy.wait() on requests is that it allows you to access the actual request object. This is useful when you want to make assertions about this object.

In our example above we can assert about the request object to verify that it sent data as a query string in the URL. Although we're mocking the response, we can still verify that our application sends the correct request.

// any request to "/search/*" endpoint will
// automatically receive an array with two book objects
cy.intercept('/search/*', [{ item: 'Book 1' }, { item: 'Book 2' }]).as(


// this yields us the interception cycle object
// which includes fields for the request and response
cy.wait('@getSearch').its('request.url').should('include', '/search?query=Book')

  .should('contain', 'Book 1')
  .and('contain', 'Book 2')

The interception object that cy.wait() yields you has everything you need to make assertions including:

  • URL
  • Method
  • Status Code
  • Request Body
  • Request Headers
  • Response Body
  • Response Headers


// spy on POST requests to /users endpoint
cy.intercept('POST', '/users').as('new-user')

// trigger network calls by manipulating web app's
// user interface, then
cy.wait('@new-user').should('', 'response.statusCode', 201)

// we can grab the completed interception object
// again to run more assertions using cy.get(<alias>)
cy.get('@new-user') // yields the same interception object
      id: '101',
      firstName: 'Joe',
      lastName: 'Black',

// and we can place multiple assertions in a
// single "should" callback
cy.get('@new-user').should(({ request, response }) => {
  // it is a good practice to add assertion messages
  // as the 2nd argument to expect()
  expect(response.headers, 'response headers').to.include({
    'cache-control': 'no-cache',
    expires: '-1',
    'content-type': 'application/json; charset=utf-8',
    location: '<domain>/users/101',

Tip: you can inspect the full request cycle object by logging it to the console


Command Log

Cypress logs all XMLHttpRequests and fetches made by the application under test in the Command Log. Here is an example of what this looks like:

Screenshot of fetch and XHR requests

The circular indicator on the left side indicates if the request went to the destination server or not. If the circle is solid, the request went to the destination server; if it is outlined, the response was stubbed by cy.intercept() or cy.route() and not sent outbound.

If we re-run our previous test to make the same requests, but this time, add a cy.intercept() to stub the response to /users, we can see that the indicator changes. After adding the following line:

cy.intercept('/users*', ['user1', 'user2']).as('getUsers')

The Command Log will look like this:

Screenshot of stubbed fetch and unstubbed XHR requests

The fetch request now has an open circle, to indicate that it has been stubbed. Also, note that the alias for the cy.intercept() is now displayed on the right-hand side of the Command Log. If you mouse over the alias, you can see more information about how the request was handled:

Screenshot of stubbed fetch request with tooltip and unstubbed XHR request

Additionally, the request will be flagged if the request and/or response was modified by a cy.intercept() handler function. If we add this code to modify outgoing requests to /users:

cy.intercept('/users*', (req) => {
  req.headers['authorization'] = 'bearer my-bearer-auth-token'

The request log for /users will reflect that the req object was modified, but the request was still fulfilled from the destination (filled indicator):

Screenshot of request that has had the req modified

As you can see, "req modified" is displayed in the badge, to indicate the request object was modified. "res modified" and "req + res modified" can also be displayed, depending on if res was modified inside of a req.continue() callback.

As with all command logs, logs for network requests can be clicked to display additional information in the Console. For example, after clicking the previous request for /users?limit=100 and opening Developer Tools, we can see the following:

Screenshot of request that has had the req modified

See also