Test your Ion property

While it's not required, you should thoroughly test your website or app on the ​Akamai​ edge network. By testing, you can make sure that all existing content functionality is preserved. Specifically, you should be testing your Ion property as it's delivering your content.

  • If you've set anything incorrectly, you could break various functions on your site or application.

  • Ion should increase the performance and availability of your content. By testing, you set a baseline for increased performance, which may let you improve your site delivery even more.


If you have existing testing procedures for application and content releases, you should also follow them when testing edge network content delivery.

1. Check your certificate

By default, ​Akamai​ pushes a new custom certificate ("cert") to the production network to help speed up renewals. We recommended that you push it to the staging network for testing. If you didn't do this, your cert may already be on the production network. If this is the case, you can't move it to staging until it's up for renewal.

You can check the provisioning status of your certificate:

  1. Access ​Akamai​ Control Center, login with an admin-level user and go to > CDN > Certificates.

  2. Select the Active tab. Look for your certificate in the table based on the domain you included as the Common Name in your cert:

    • You found it. Your cert is live on production. You can't use it for testing.

    • You didn't find it. Your cert may not have been pushed to production yet. Continue to the next step.

  3. Select the In Progress tab.

  4. Locate your cert in this table, based on its Common Name.

  5. Check its In Progress status:

    • You see Yes under Always test on Staging before deployment. Your certificate is deploying to the staging network. If you see under Deploying to Staging, it's finished.

    • You see No under Always test on Staging before deployment. Continue to the next step.

  6. Click No under Always test on Staging before deployment.

  7. Set Test Certificate to Yes and click Submit. When the cert is available on staging, the person set as the Administrator Contact for the cert will get an email.


Is your cert already on production?

You can force early renewal, or you can create and apply a new custom certificate. You'll need to follow the steps above to set up that certificate for testing.

2. Activate on staging

To perform actual testing of your Ion property, you need to activate it on the Staging network in ​Akamai Control Center​.

  1. If necessary, access the target property on ​Akamai Control Center​:

    a. Use the drop-down in the top right to select the ​Control Center​ account you used to create the property.

    b. Go to > CDN > Properties.

    c. Enter the name of your property in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

    d. Click the Property Name to open it.

  2. Click the Version <#> for the property you want to activate.

  3. Click the Activate tab. The Activate window opens.

  1. Click Activate v1 on Staging. The Staging Network Activation window opens. Set these options:

    • Fast Activation. To speed up activation, make sure this is set to On.

    • Validation Messages. Error, warning, and information messages are carried over. If you still have any error messages (), you need to correct these. Click Cancel at the bottom of the window, then select the Edit tab. Click the <#> Errors <#> Warnings <#> Notes tab at the bottom of the page. Review each Error message and resolve the issue. Click Save and then click the Activate tab to come back to this process.

    • Override block of hostname moves. ​Akamai​ applies a temporary block on a hostname that's been moved, in order to check its validity. Enabling this skips this temporary block. For example, this would apply if you've just moved your property from another account. Note that this can increase the number of hits to your origin server.

    • Notes. You can include a description of this version's activation.

    • Notify via email. This defaults to the email address set for the active ​Control Center​ user. You can change it or add more. Separate multiple addresses with a comma (",").

  1. Click Activate v<#> on Staging.

  2. With Fast Activation, your property should be ready in the Estimated Activation Time listed. This can be as quick as three minutes. Now, you can:

    • Monitor the Activate tab to track progress.

    • Click Activation Details to review settings and information regarding the Property.

    • Wait for the confirmation email. Any email set in Notify via email will get an email when the activation is complete.


These are just the basics

To learn more about activation on ​Akamai​ networks, check out How activation works.

3. Point to edge servers

Temporarily set up your local browser to target an edge server to access your property.


Do this every time you test

​Akamai​'s staging network is intended for testing. So, it can change over time. You should always perform the process here to resolve the IP address for your staging edge hostname, before you start a new round of testing. Don't use a past address, and don't use the same address for an extended period of time.

  1. If necessary, access the target property on ​Akamai Control Center​:

    a. Use the drop-down in the top right to select the ​Control Center​ account you used to create the property.

    b. Go to > CDN > Properties.

    c. Enter the name of your property in the Filter by Property or Hostname field.

    d. Click the Property Name to open it.

  2. Click the Version <#> for the property you just activated on Staging.

  3. In the Property Hostnames content panel, locate and make note of the Edge Hostname.

  1. Append -staging to the edge hostname you noted. Using the example from the previous step, the edge hostname would now be:

  2. Look up that hostname's IP address, and copy it to your clipboard.



Open a new terminal, and perform a "dig" of your edge hostname:


dig www.techpubs.com.edgekey-staging.net

IPv4 + IPv6 dual stack

dig AAAA www.techpubs.com.edgekey-staging.net


Open a new command prompt, and perform an "nslookup" of your edge hostname.

IPv4-only / IPv4 + IPv6 dual stack

nslookup www.techpubs.com.edgekey-staging.net
  1. Open your local hosts file in a text editor.
Linux/macOSCheck for it in: /etc. (You'll need superuser access)
macOSCheck for it in: /private/etc. (You'll need superuser access.)
WindowsCheck for it in: \system32\drivers\etc (You'll need Administrator-level access.)


See your operating system's user documentation for the default location of the Hosts file.

  1. At the end of the hosts file, add an entry for the actual domain to your website that includes the edge hostname's IP address (which you found in Step 5). Using the examples in this procedure, this could be: www.techpubs.com
  2. Save and close your hosts file. All requests from your computer to your domain will now go to an edge server.

    • This applies to your local system, only.

    • To undo the redirection to the edge server, remove the new entry from your hosts file.

  3. If you're using macOS X, run this command to flush your DNS cache:

    sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

4. Install an extension

​Akamai​ delivers Pragma headers with its content. To support these for testing, you need to install a modify headers extension on your browser.

  1. In your browser app, search for "modify header extension for [your browser]" to find the best one.

  2. Follow the instructions in the extension to set up a header as follows:

    • Header name: Pragma

    • Header value:

      akamai-x-cache-on, akamai-x-cache-remote-on, akamai-x-check-cacheable, akamai-x-get-cache-key, akamai-x-get-extracted-values, akamai-x-get-nonces, akamai-x-get-true-cache-key, akamai-x-get-client-ip
  3. Save and enable the header.

5. Check your connection

Verify that you've properly pointed your system to our edge servers to begin testing.

Making a request to ​Akamai​​ staging edge servers adds the HTTP response header X-Akamai-Staging. The value sent with this header is ESSL for requests to the staging network. (It's EdgeSuite for HTTP requests.)

After your browser points to the staging edge servers, make a test request against the new property configuration on the staging network, and then check for the X-Akamai-Staging response header to see if the response is coming from the staging network.

  1. Close all browser windows, reopen your browser, and clear the browser cache.

  2. Access the Network tab in your browser:

    • Chrome. Right-click (Command+click on macOS) in the browser window and select Inspect. Click the Network tab. (You may need to click >> to reveal it in the toolbar.)

    • Edge. Press F12, and then press Ctrl+4 to open the Network utility.

    • Firefox. Press Ctrl+Shift+I (Windows) or Command+Opt+E (macOS). This takes you to the Network tool.

    • Safari. If necessary, select Safari > Preferences, click Advanced, then enable Show Develop menu in menu bar. Select Developer > Show Web Inspector and select the Network tab.

  3. Point your browser to the domain you included in your local hosts file.

  4. In the Network section, click the first file listed. (This is typically the domain for your actual site.)

  5. Take a look at the response headers. If you see either of these entries, you know your request is going to the staging edge server:

    • X-Akamai-Staging: ESSL. This indicates you're on ​Akamai​'s Enhanced TLS network.

    • X-Akamai-Staging: EdgeSuite. This indicates you're on ​Akamai​'s Standard TLS network.

  6. Check for the X-Cache entry.

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Server: Apache/2.4.9 (Unix) OpenSSL/1.0.1-fips
    Last-Modified:Wed, 26 Jun 2022 18:28:37 GMT
    ETag: "1234-5a678b9012c34"
    Accept-Ranges: bytes
    Content-Length: 13162
    Content-Type: image/gif
    Cache-Control: max-age=603241
    Expires: Mon, 14 Apr 2022 16:48:38 GMT
    Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2022 17:04:37 GMT
    X-Akamai-Staging: EdgeSuite
    X-Cache: TCP_MEM_HIT from b128-48-122- 38.deploy.akamaitechnologies.com (AkamaiGHost/ (-)
    X-Cache-Key: /L/12345/678910/1a/orign-example.com/images/samplepicture.gif?234567
    Connection: keep-alive
  7. Use this table to interpret the results.

Did the page load as expected?Is the X-Cache entry present?Result



Success! You're ready to test.



You reached an edge server, but something isn't working. The value of the X-Cache entry might help you identify the problem.



You reached your origin server, not an edge server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.



You haven't reached your origin server or an edge server. Check the entry you added to your hosts file.

6. You're ready to test

Test your content just as you would if you were testing it via your origin server. Check key functionality, such as logging in, playback, and so on.


When testing, use your actual domain for requestsdon't use its edge hostname. Edge hostnames are applied automatically by your DNS to reroute requests to the ​Akamai​ edge network.

Use a basic test plan

As a rough test plan, we recommend that you do these things:

  1. Access your website or app using a few different browsers.

  2. Perform critical and common functions on your site.

  3. If applicable, view images and download content.

  4. Recreate functions and transactions that a typical end user would perform.

If you're using Site Failover

If you've enabled the Site Failover sub-rule, you should test it using settings in its companion sub-rule, Simulate failover.

To test using this sub-rule:

  • Your property needs to be on the staging network.

  • A request needs to include breakconnection: <value> in the Request header. The <value> variable represents whatever you've set for the Simulate failover sub-rule's Criteria. This defaults to Your-Secret-Here.

When you're done testing

Follow these steps:

  1. Once you're satisfied that your property works, remove the hosts file entry you added and then save it.

  2. If you're running macOS, flush your DNS cache again with the sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder command.

Check out ​Akamai​ Test Center

If you'd rather not use the manual process we discuss above, you can access the Test Center interface in ​Control Center​ to help with testing.

What is Test Center?

Test Center is a testing tool that checks the effect that configuration changes will have on your web property. It helps you ensure that your changes aren't behaving unexpectedly before you activate them in production. It helps prevent issues caused by misconfiguration and insufficient testing and increases your confidence in the safety and correctness of your changes.

The application lets you run two types of tests:

  • Functional testing. This lets you check if the configuration changes work as expected.
  • Comparative testing. This lets you compare the behavior of your hostnames between the current and new configurations.

It was designed as an addition to your existing tests and workflows, and not as their replacement. It's available as a user interface in ​Akamai Control Center​ and as an API.