Fail a test in Jest if an unexpected network request happens


A unit test should not trigger network requests, such as calls to a REST API. It breaks the isolation and will make the tests flaky and unreliable.

Instead, we should be mocking these requests. React and Jest provide a convenient way of doing so. What if you forget to mock some requests, though? We are going to set up Jest in such a way that tests fail automatically if a network request was attempted.

Test it like you mean it

I have been using react-testing-library a lot lately to test React applications. Its core design principle is described like this:

The more your tests resemble the way your software is used, the more confidence they can give you.

This is a good thing! In my experience, you write stronger tests once you get used to it. However, if you use this library you probably have seen this error message multiple times:

1: "Warning: An update to %s inside a test was not wrapped in act(...).·
When testing, code that causes React state updates should be wrapped into act(...):·
act(() => {
  /* fire events that update state */

It usually means that there were pending asynchronous requests when the test finished.

Our first attempt at catching errors

We have this starting configuration in the setupTests.js that is loaded automatically if you are using Create React App. It is pretty standard.

import '@testing-library/jest-dom/extend-expect'
import { cleanup } from '@testing-library/react'

console.error = jest.fn()

afterEach(() => {

It is very useful to fail on console.error, because that will show that there were pending requests. However, that output can be fairly confusing. We had a test in my project that was failing because we added a new section to a component. It wasn’t obvious that the new section was fetching data from an endpoint. We ended up “fixing” it by adding await wait() statements all over the place.

That didn’t address the underlying issue, though. I had to spend quite a bit of time digging into it before I figured out what was going on. We want clearer feedback.

A more targeted approach

We use axios to build our API requests. Any test that does a request that is not mocked should fail. It still should be possible to add explicit mocks for things like service tests as well. We also use pact for Contract Testing. These tests go against a local server, no mock should be active when they run. I extended the setupTests.js file to mock axios.

import axios from 'axios'

const spies = {
  get: jest.spyOn(axios, 'get'),
  patch: jest.spyOn(axios, 'patch'),
  post: jest.spyOn(axios, 'post')

beforeEach(() => {

afterEach(() => {

That’s it. With this, any attempt at doing an unexpected request will trigger a nice and explicit failed assertion. We still need to deal with expected requests.

Mocking services

This setup does not define any return for the requests. You need to take care of that if you are building integrated tests for your components.

I tend to deal with that at the service level. My requests are usually encapsulated in a file that gets imported by the components that need them. I use Jest’s manual mocks for that, which sit one level higher than axios. A service could be as simple as this:

// src/recipe-list/recipeList.service.ts
import axios, { AxiosResponse } from 'axios'
import { Recipe } from 'components/recipe/types'

export const recipeList = async (): Promise<AxiosResponse<Recipe[]>> => {
  return axios('/rest/recipes')

Which can be replaced with a manual mock like this:

// src/recipe-list/__mocks__/recipeList.service.ts
import { AxiosResponse } from 'axios'
import { recipes } from '@testing/__fixtures__'
import { Recipe } from 'components/recipe/types'

export const recipeList = async (): Promise<AxiosResponse<Recipe[]>> => {
  return Promise.resolve({
    status: 200,
    statusText: 'OK',
    data: recipes(),
    headers: [],
    config: {}

Mocking axios directly

Another alternative is to mock axios directly and add your behavior, which will replace the mock that we defined initially.


describe('service, () => {
  beforeEach(() => {
    ;(axios.get as jest.Mock).mockResolvedValue(response)

Resetting the mocks

If you need axios to work normally, like in the case of Contract Tests, you can restore the original behavior.

beforeAll(() => {

Summary: Make your errors explicit

That all there is to it. A simple solution, if a bit hacky, to make sure that errors surface as quickly as possible and don’t get hidden.

EDIT 25/12/2019: Grammar review