Quick Tip: Preview Public URLs in Chrome

The Google Chrome team might have you believe that Incognito mode is simply for covering your tracks when buying diamond rings for loved ones. However, it’s actually quite useful when you’re developing web apps.

Most apps have a logged-in and logged-out state, and when you’re developing, it can be annoying switching between these states constantly. You could keep two different browsers open, but that’s not really ideal, especially when it comes to cross browser testing and consistency.

When I’m logged into a web app and I need to check what a page looks like to the public (in the logged-out state), I simply open a new Chrome window in Incognito mode. This will create a completely fresh browser session with no saved cookies, allowing you to see exactly what is publicly visible. The best part is, you can have both a normal browsing session and an Incognito browsing session open simultaneously.

For example, on the Think Vitamin Membership site, we release many videos for free so that people can get a feel for the service before signing up. When we set a video to being publicly available in the admin section, it’s always smart to double-check the public facing pages in Chrome’s Incognito mode. You can open an Incognito window really quickly using the shortcut keys:

  • Mac OS X: ⌘-Shift-N
  • Windows: Ctrl-Shift-N

If you have a tip that works even better than this one, or any other quick tips related to web development, we would love for you to share in the comments!

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Comments

18 comments on “Quick Tip: Preview Public URLs in Chrome

  1. “The Google Chrome team might have you believe that Incognito mode is simply for covering your tracks when buying diamond rings for loved ones.” – It’s called the porn window for a reason!
    This is a great tip and something I’ve used for a while, interestingly though I have used sites like amazon and they have saved what I’ve looked at into recently viewed or some similar list so it doesn’t always work.

  2. “The Google Chrome team might have you believe that Incognito mode is simply for covering your tracks when buying diamond rings for loved ones.” – It’s called the porn window for a reason!
    This is a great tip and something I’ve used for a while, interestingly though I have used sites like amazon and they have saved what I’ve looked at into recently viewed or some similar list so it doesn’t always work.

  3. Helpful indeed, but it would be even better if each Incognito window maintained its own state.  Sadly, all Incognito windows share a single state, albeit separate from its non-Incognito brethren.

  4. Helpful indeed, but it would be even better if each Incognito window maintained its own state.  Sadly, all Incognito windows share a single state, albeit separate from its non-Incognito brethren.

  5. Good idea. I’ve had this problem before and my solution has been to just open the page in one of the browsers I have installed for testing.

    Being an Opera fan I’d like to point out that it’s got the same feature with the added bonus of supporting private and normal tabs mixed into one window. 

  6. Good idea. I’ve had this problem before and my solution has been to just open the page in one of the browsers I have installed for testing.

    Being an Opera fan I’d like to point out that it’s got the same feature with the added bonus of supporting private and normal tabs mixed into one window. 

  7. I always thought these settings were just for people to view ‘special interest’ websites :P

  8. I always thought these settings were just for people to view ‘special interest’ websites :P