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By Phil Hawksworth in Guides & Tutorials

How to use split tests to give users access to private features

Netlify’s Split Testing (beta) allows you to direct your site visitors to different versions of your site. It does this invisibly, by shaping the traffic at the CDN level and serving different branches to your visitors without changing the URL.

With just a few clicks you can specify what percentage of your traffic is served by each branch, and Netlify’s intelligent CDN will do the rest, including things like version affinity to ensure that repeat visitors are returned to the same version that they were shown previously.

A handy trick

This ability to ensure that returning users always gain access to the same branch is managed by a simple cookie provided by the CDN. But it also has a useful side effect that you can use to let visitors opt into a new feature or version of your site.

We use this technique at Netlify when trialling new features and running betas.

The short video below shows how to do this, including setting up a split test and providing a UI to allow your site visitors to gain access to your new version.

For more information on running split tests and measuring the results, take a look at the Split Testing documentation.