What is bug tracking software?

The basic goal of bug tracking software is to help identify defects in software that is being developed. It measures the scope of the defect, or bug, and determines its impact. Software development teams can use bug tracking to identify and record errors during application testing. A software bug exists when software doesn’t perform the way it was designed to. Large software projects can contain hundreds, or even thousands of defects, and each bug must be evaluated, tracked, and corrected. Bug tracking tools automate the tracking and monitoring of bugs, errors, and defects, which can damage the efficient operation of an organization’s technology. This software also saves time for testers, who can then devote their attention to the irregular defects that bug tracking software might miss.

Find your new bug tracking software

Compare the Best Bug Tracking Software

Bug tracking is an important part of software development, product engineering, and website design. Bug tracking software helps development teams to ensure their software is free of technical glitches. Below are some of the best bug tracking software available on the market with in-depth descriptions to help you find the right tool for your business.  
Backlog yes yes yes yes
BugHerd yes yes yes no
Bugzilla no yes yes yes
Jira Software yes yes yes yes
SpiraTest no yes yes no
Product Free Version Dashboard Logs or Archives Notifications


Backlog is a bug tracking solution, part of a larger software development package, that supports development teams work with design, marketing, and other IT teams. Backlog offers features such as file sharing, comment threads, and watchlists. It also allows users to visualize project workflows and daily timelines using Gantt charts, and it can help team members communicate and compare changes made to the project. Teams can track changes taking place, comment on pull requests, and document changes. The primary features of Backlog include project management, subtasking, burndown charts, and issue management. Plus, Backlog’s features provide many benefits to teams, including:
  • An archive of the various bugs the team encounters gives every team member access to information about bugs, past and present.
  • Backlog uses work requests for bug fixes, or issues, which allow teams to share information, feedback, and updates in a much more streamlined way than piecing together comments about problems from spreadsheets, emails, and various chat conversations.
  • All members of the team can see each task, error, and request/issue being worked on, offering true transparency to the development process.


BugHerd is a project management and bug tracking tracking solution created for web designers and software developers. The software helps transform client feedback into goals to be accomplished, which includes listing all the needed changes and screenshots. BugHerd’s feedback feature lets clients report problems directly from the users’ websites. This feature allows devs to view where exactly issues have been reported on the sites. Clients can report the issues by clicking and commenting on the content, and the platform converts this into a bug report. BugHerd also includes a visual task board, which shows the status of all scheduled tasks. Team members can see who is working on what task, when. Users can assign and schedule tasks with a drag-and-drop feature.


Bugzilla is an open-source software originally developed for Mozilla’s bug/error tracking projects, and is now available for anyone’s use. Bugzilla comes with many features a number of its expensive competitors lack, even though it is 100% free to use. Some of the features available include:
  • Scheduled email reports
  • User assignments
  • Advanced searches for tracking and identifying bugs
  • Commenting and attachment capabilities
  • Time tracking
  • Custom workflow
  • Custom database fields
Bugzilla software is an exceptionally customizable tool, and a large number of extensions are available that can tweak its functionality, such as a browser-based bug dashboard, password aging policies, and bots which announce error changes.


Jira has become one of the more popular bug tracking solutions. It is designed to provide a seamless workflow, which can be based on a premade template or created to mirror the team’s process. Over 65,000 teams are currently using Jira for managing their development workflow. Jira works well for agile teams. It offers built-in features for scaling, organizing, planning, and reporting. And tools such as scrum boards, roadmaps, and Kanban boards are available for planning and organizing.


SpiraTest (a subdivision of SpiraTeam) is bug tracking software which lets the entire testing process be managed. Bug tracking features include support for configurable email notifications, customizable workflows, and flexible reporting. SpiraTest can integrate with your process, customizing properties and configuring workflows. Features available out of the box include:
  • Robust sorting, reporting, and searching
  • Can report errors and bugs by way of email
  • Fully customizable incident fields
  • Ability to link errors to other incidents
  • Automatically creates a list of new incidents
  • Email notifications are triggered by customized workflow changes

What are the benefits of bug tracking software?

In software development, making sure each piece of written code is error-free is the responsibility of testers or a testing team. Bug identification is a crucial part of the software development cycle. Because errors are common in software development, removing them to ensure software quality is quite important. In the simplest terms, if recently developed software doesn’t perform as intended when it is released, the testers are responsible. Part of a tester’s job is to keep a tracking record of all the errors showing up in a software app. Testers want effective bug tracking software to catch these mistakes as early as possible. Bug tracking software can help testers with detecting and fixing bugs. These tracking systems help with many of the challenges testers face during the development process. Other reasons testers should use bug tracking software include:

Improved Teamwork

With bug tracking software, the overall communications between team members improves. When a problem occurs, the right person is contacted immediately, so it can be addressed as quickly as possible. With the right bug management tools, all defects are listed, assuring they aren’t duplicated.

Increased Proactivity

Proactivity is a behavior promoted by bug tracking software. Eliminating bugs early helps to create an efficient workflow, with tasks progressing smoothly and quickly. Also, identifying and correcting errors early reduces problems at later stages.

Improved Consumer Experience

The ultimate goal of bug tracking software is the delivery of a working product which is as error-free as possible. Unfortunately, not all bugs get caught. When bugs are reported by a customer, the feedback should be taken seriously and resolved as quickly as possible. Additionally, the customer should receive a report (and a thank you). Customers will feel their voice has been heard, resulting in a positive customer experience.

Greater Understanding

After distribution, testers need access to all the data on a project to understand the problems reported by the software users. A thorough understanding lets the tester replicate the bugs accurately. A bug tracking tool can then provide documentation and a reporting platform which will capture the error in sufficient detail. The data taken from the testing process will also help provide insights for future tests and bug management activities.

Common Features of Bug Tracking Software

Ideally, bug tracking software should be streamlined to reduce the time and resources when identifying, isolating, and repairing bugs. A good bug tracking solution will allow customers to give feedback after a software product has been released. This process identifies defects the developers and testers may have missed. Some of the key features which should be included in your error tracking software are:

User-Friendly Interface

A good bug tracking solution comes with a user-friendly interface. The interface ought to have customizable fields that will gather pertinent information about the error. It should also have custom fields like drop-down lists, checkboxes, or text, allowing users to easily input the bug’s environment, module, and more. This allows errors to be easily categorized and prioritized, so bugs can be captured quickly, their root cause determined, and then repaired immediately.

Customizable Workflows

Bug tracking software ought to have customizable workflows, which can be modified to specific industry needs.

Repository Code Hosting

It is important to have a well-designed source code repository host. Codes make the software work, and if you are working on software projects or with business development software, a bug tracker that supports source code integration should be chosen.

Seamless Integration and Collaboration

Bug tracking software must integrate well with other digital tools. Selecting software which can export data directly into your tools allows you to manage error tracking from a single location.

Test Reports, Metrics, and Analytics

It’s important to get feedback and insights about the projects being worked on. Test reports, metrics, and analytics help in monitoring changes and trends which might affect work productivity. Bug tracking software should include dashboard metrics which can transform data that’s been collected into graphs or charts.

Worklog and Time Tracking

Bug tracking software that logs the users, tasks, and amount of time spent on them, called worklogs or archives, make tracking errors and bugs much easier. This is a very useful feature, and should be a requirement. A trackable history makes it easier to discover who did what at each phase of a project.

Selecting Bug Tracking Software

Choosing the right bug tracking software requires a little thought. The best choice is a software system that meets your needs and is affordable. If there are any doubts, you should consider consulting with one of TechnologyAdvice’s advisors. Evaluate your needs: When considering a bug tracking solution, make a list of the problems you want to resolve. What specifically do you want in your bug tracking software? Two lists could describe features that are mandatory and optional. Business size: A large business with multiple teams might want extensive collaboration features in their bug tracking software. A single small team might prefer features that focus more on reporting and bug tracking. The business’s size will also affect the software’s subscription fee since most offer a range of plans, with prices based on the number of users per plan. Budget: Budgets play a very important role when selecting the best error tracking software for your company. If your business is a start-up, a free open source solution, such as Bugzilla, might be a good choice. If there are no significant budget restrictions, Backlog, SpiraTeam, Jira, or Bugherd are worth consideration.