In this article, you will learn how to create and run Nightwatch tests on Gitlab CI


Gitlab CI is a CI/CD platform that can be used to create an automated testing pipeline. These pipelines can be used to execute tests on the same instances or on cloud-service providers such as BrowserStack & Sauce Labs.


  • Gitlab CI account
  • Nightwatch project uploaded to Git

Setup Guide

We will be taking the nightwatch-examples repo for demonstration. Now, let's configure CI by following the procedures below :

Step 1: Setup Gitlab CI Project

Once you login to your Gitlab CI account, click on "New Project". You will see the following options

Gitlab CI Project options

Click on "Run CI/CD for external repository" as we want to run the pipeline against a repository from Github.

On the next screen, enter the Github URL where your tests reside with the package.json file. Enter other details such as project name & URL and click on Create project as shown below

Gitlab CI Github

With this your Gitlab CI project setup is complete.

Step 2: Update the nightwatch.conf.js file

Add the --no-sandbox and --disable-dev-shm-usage args in the google chrome options under the chrome environment

chrome: {
    desiredCapabilities : {
    browserName : 'chrome',
    'goog:chromeOptions' : {
        // More info on Chromedriver:
        // w3c:false tells Chromedriver to run using the legacy JSONWire protocol (not required in Chrome 78)
        w3c: true,
        args: [

Step 3 : Update the .gitlab-ci.yml file, commit and run the pipeline

Click on CI/CD -> Editor. Create a new gitlab-ci.yml file and copy the below file contents into the file

# This file is a template, and might need editing before it works on your project.
# You can copy and paste this template into a new `.gitlab-ci.yml` file.
# You should not add this template to an existing `.gitlab-ci.yml` file by using the `include:` keyword.
# To contribute improvements to CI/CD templates, please follow the Development guide at:
# This specific template is located at:

# Official framework image. Look for the different tagged releases at:
image: node:14.19.0

    - node_modules/

    - apt-get update -q -y
    - apt-get --yes install xvfb
    # Installing Google Chrome
    - curl -sS -L | apt-key add -
    - echo "deb [arch=amd64] stable main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list
    - apt-get update -q -y
    - apt-get install -y google-chrome-stable
    # Installing chromedriver
    - npm install chromedriver

    # Installing Geckodriver
    - npm install geckodriver

    # installing all the packages
    - npm install 
    # Ensuring everything is installed
    - ./node_modules/.bin/chromedriver --version
    - ./node_modules/.bin/nightwatch --version
    - /usr/bin/google-chrome --version
    # Install display manager
    - Xvfb -ac :99 -screen 0 1280x1024x16 &
    - export DISPLAY=:99
    # Run nightwatch tests
    - npx nightwatch tests/ecosia.js --env chrome

Once you have copied the config.yml file, press on Commit and Run

Let's try to understand the key highlights of the config file: -

  1. We are installing the chrome browser
  2. We are installing the chrome driver
  3. In the next step, all packages from package.json are installed that includes Nightwatch, driver packages and other required packages
  4. We are installing and running xvfb in the background
  5. Once the setup is done, the pipeline will trigger the tests with the npx nightwatch <path to test> command

Step 4 : View the results

You can view the execution output in the shell logs of the particular pipeline run

Gitlab CI Results