What are the Different Types of Software Testing?

By Michael Da Silva | December 8, 2021

With the emergence of test automation and the increasing complexity of applications, a plethora of software testing types have emerged to meet the various needs of increasingly demanding end-users and companies operating in increasingly competitive environments. In this article, we will briefly introduce you to the differences between the major categories of test types and then go into more detail about the definitions of the more specific testing types that will help you deliver defect-free applications.

To begin with, software testing is a procedure that is an indispensable step in the development cycle of all types of applications. Their goal is to inspect, evaluate, and verify that the various elements that make up the software and the components that make it work react as expected. Some testing types also focus on defining the limits to which the product can still be used in a proper way.

Most companies are committed to providing high-quality products to their customers, so they thoroughly test each product before releasing it to the market. But there are many ways to test software to make sure it is close to perfection. You'll need to intelligently choose the most appropriate method for each part of your testing strategy, starting with whether or not you should automate any test you're about to implement.

Manual vs. Automated Testing

Originally, all testing was done manually only. This way has become far too tedious for agile companies and is prone to human error. This is why test automation is becoming more and more popular with QA teams who have to manage fast-moving projects.

As you might expect, there are important distinctions between automated and manual testing.

Manual testing involves humans performing tests slowly and carefully without using test scripts. On the other hand, the software performs automated tests based on pre-determined test scripts and specialized tools.

Thus, most of the manual tests do not require any coding knowledge and can be performed by anyone. However, the majority of automated tests cannot be implemented without the use of tools that require advanced knowledge of specific programming languages and development environments.

Because we want to make test automation accessible to everyone, we created UIlicious, a flexible tool that can be easily picked up even by people who have never coded in their lives. You can try it for free by signing up here.

We have written a detailed article on the pros and cons of manual and automated testing. We invite you to take a look at it if you want to know what types of tests you absolutely must automate or not.

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Functional vs. Non-Functional Testing

Another major distinction between the different forms of testing is the duality between functional and non-functional testing. They are two sides of the same coin, they do not focus on the same aspects of software, but they are both essential to create high-quality user experiences.

Functional testing consists of verifying how the software reacts in comparison with the previously defined requirements and functional specifications. As its name suggests, it focuses on the functionalities of software. Functional testing simulates the actual use of an app by a user, but it does not address the technical specifications and the system architecture to achieve this result.

Functional Testing Types

There are many types of functional testing in software engineering, and here you will learn the definition of the most important among them. Functional testing has a big effect on the project lifecycle. If done right, it also improves communication among analyzers, programmers, and test engineers.

Unit Testing or Component Testing

The main purpose of unit testing is to thoroughly check each unit or function. which is the smallest piece of code that can be logically separated from the rest of the software.

Component Testing

Component testing validates use cases and test requirements by testing each object or component of the software separately. It is performed once unit testing is done. Unlike unit testing, testers do not know the internal architecture of the software when doing component testing.

Integration Testing

Integration testing examines the interaction between distinct components. In other words, testers are looking how subsystems connect to form a single system, and they verify that the results are in accordance with requirements.

To perform integration testing, testers most often use the results obtained from previous tests, in which the components were verified separately. Quality assurance teams organize these components into groups and tests them according to the test plan that has been defined beforehand.

End-to-End Testing

End-to-end testing ensures that the application flow works as expected by testing the entire software system in detail. This method simulates real-world user scenarios to test the system integration and data integrity. The test runs over every activity that the application may execute to see how it interacts with hardware, networking capabilities, libraries, and other applications.

End-to-end tests are often performed after the functional and system testing has been completed.

Smoke Testing

Smoke testing, which is a sort of acceptance testing, is used to ensure that the latest software release and its important functions are stable. This testing, often known as build verification testing, is used to see if new or important functionality achieves its goal.

Sanity Testing

Sanity testing is done after getting the latest software built to confirm that the recent code changes are functioning correctly. This test serves as a milestone to see if the build can move forward with testing. The key objective of this test is to validate that the suggested improvements or functionalities work as planned.

System Testing

System testing verifies software completeness and integration. A system test is used to assess the end-to-end system specifications. Typically, the software is just one part of a bigger computer system. For this reason, the software is eventually interfaced with various software and hardware systems.

Reliability Testing

Reliability Testing is a critical software testing approach ensuring that the program performs and functions consistently in a variety of environments and over a set length of time. It assures that the product is free of flaws and suitable for its intended use.

Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is a kind of software testing in which the end-user or customer verifies and accepts the software platform before deploying it in the production system. Following functional, integrational, and system testing, user acceptance testing is usually performed just before the software deployment on production.

Interface Testing or UI Testing

UI testing involves QA specialists interacting with a software program's graphical interface. Tests are made on UI components such as buttons, menus, and data inputs to verify that the UI sequences and the selected functionalities work as requested.

Regression Testing

If you need to make adjustments to any feature, element, or method, you must ensure right after that the entire system works properly. Regression testing is the process of testing the entire system after these changes.

White Box Testing

White-box testing occurs when the programmer or QA engineer who tests the software can see its core systems, implementation, and architecture. This method can take many forms of functional testing, such as unit testing, integration testing, and system testing.

With white-box testing, testers are looking at several parts of the software. These tests can focus on data and their targeted results, along with selection branches, loops, and code lines.

Black Box Testing

This software testing technique requires analyzing the app functions without knowing the internal code structure, implementations, or internal routes. For this reason, black-box testing is a type of testing process that focuses on the outputs and inputs of software applications.

Agile Testing

Agile testing is a sort of testing which is performed by the Quality Assurance department and it follows the agile methodology's principles. The following are the fundamental principles:

Alpha Testing

The first end-to-end testing of a product is called alpha testing, and it ensures that it fits the company requirements and performs properly. It is usually carried out by internal staff in a laboratory or staging environment. An alpha test confirms that the software works as expected and fulfills its goals.

Beta Testing

Beta testing allows real consumers to try the software in a production environment to find any faults or problems until it is released to the broader public. Beta testing is the last cycle of testing, just before the software is released into the market. It is a controlled environment where the goal is to find as many flaws or UX concerns as possible.

Production Testing

Production testing is a software engineering method that involves testing different code modifications on actual customer traffic rather than in a staging environment.

This is one of the testing methods that is repeated several times after the software is released. These are perfect cases to start your test automation strategy rather than continuing to test them manually.

API Testing

An API (for Application Programming Interface) is a link between multiple software platforms, and they're becoming more common as users want apps from different publishers to work together seamlessly. API testing verifies that API requests and responses work as expected. It also includes how content and customer rights are managed.

Usability Testing

Usability testing involves asking real people to use the software you've created and analyzing their behavior and reactions. Usability testing is essential to ensure that your customers have a functional, fast, and enjoyable experience.

Accessibility Testing

The process of ensuring that your software is accessible to as many users as possible is known as accessibility testing. It allows people with disabilities (visual, hearing, etc.) to use the software.

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Non-Functional Testing Types

Non-functional testing is a method of the testing process that examines a software application's non-functional elements (effectiveness, usability, reliability, and so on). It's intended to assess a system's readiness based on non-functional criteria that aren't covered by functional testing. In this section, we will share the definitions of the main forms of non-functional tests.

Performance Testing

This testing type evaluates the pace, response time, consistency, reliability, scale, and resource utilization of software under specific workloads. The basic objective is to find and eliminate performance bottlenecks in the application so that the program can deliver the best results to the end-user.

Security Testing

These tests are performed to ensure the security of your software and avoid vulnerabilities. It is usually conducted by security experts who are trying to find any security flaws in order to improve the application's protection.

Load Testing

Load testing is a type of testing process that determines how much traffic an application can handle before its quality degrades. This allows engineers to determine the maximum load of a system.

Compatibility Testing

The main purpose of compatibility testing is to see if the software or item tested can operate in a variety of browsers, databases, hardware, operating systems, mobile devices, and networks. For this reason, this type of testing is considered one of the most effective ways to improve user experience.

Scalability Testing

This test determines whether the software is scalable. In other words, it ensures that your software works properly when the number of users, content, or activities increases significantly.

Volume Testing

With Volume Testing, the product or application is subjected to massive amounts of information. This kind of test examines the behavior and response time of the software when faced with a large amount of data that can degrade its performance.

Stress Testing

This type of test verifies the stability and resilience of a software application. Stress testing is used to evaluate the durability of the system and its error handling capabilities under unusually high pressure. It also ensures that the software does not collapse in critical scenarios.

Recovery Testing

This testing type examines the ability of a program to self-recover after an incident or malfunction such as application failures or communication interruptions.


The testing process is an intrinsic component of the project lifecycle. When deciding on a testing method, there are numerous aspects to consider.

The golden rule of testing is to automate as many repetitive tests as possible. Manual testing is much more time-consuming and therefore less efficient in the long run than test automation. As a result, your team should spend time establishing an automated testing solution.

UIlicious is a great solution for automation tests. Our end-to-end automated testing tool enables you to verify all types of scenarios under a wide variety of situations. With it, you can test your site's functionalities and spot bugs, even if you don't know much about QA or coding.

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About Michael Da Silva

I'm a digital marketing expert and project manager passionate about automation. When I'm not automating tests and experiments on UIlicious, you can find me blogging about Japan, where I live, on Nipponrama.com.

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