The more complex your development project is, the more you need visibility into emergent issues. Focusing on specifics like an open-source format and agile workflow capabilities, we found the best options for bug tracking software available today. Backlog is our top recommendation for most developers. While a project management tool on the surface, it also dives deep into bug tracking, allowing teams to collaborate and track each step with a clean interface.
The Best Bug Tracker Software For Most
Software development is complicated enough. Your bug tracking tool shouldn’t be. Backlog makes complex stuff seem simple with its project management capabilities. Once you add a project, you can add tasks, assign those tasks to team members, and move them along the queue.
With its visual interface, Backlog lets everyone on your team see the overview of each project and task. Then, developers can dig into doing what they do best: resolving and documenting bugs. Backlog levels the playing field for most businesses and their project management and development teams that just want to get stuff done. It essentially drops the need for software development expertise just to oversee a project.
The Best Bug Tracker Software Options to Consider:
- Backlog – Best for most
- BugHerd – Best for website bug tracking
- Jira Software – Best for agile workflow teams
- Bugzilla – Best free open-source bug tracking software
- Airbrake – Best for automated error and performance tracking
- SpiraTeam – Best for organization and syncing
- ReQtest – Best for requirements management
When It Makes Sense to Invest In Bug Tracking Software
Bug tracking software is necessary for companies with technology-focused products, like software or apps, or web design companies that create sites for multiple clients.
No one wants to use an app or software—especially one they pay for—riddled with bugs, errors, and glitches. Nor do they want to visit a website with broken images, links, or navigation. Quality assurance is critical in the tech world, and bug tracking software can help you get it done.
Yes, some companies offer free plans for their software. But these services are limited as far as allowing multiple team members to join a project or capping the number of bugs you can track each month.
And free, open-source software may not be the best solution for teams looking for a simple, visually appealing software that all team members can understand and use productively.
Fortunately, you don’t need to lock yourself in a specific tool before you have the chance to test it out. Most bug trackers come with a fully-featured free trial for you to experiment with and compare to others before you choose the one you want to pay for.
With that said, you may not need to pay for this type of tool if you’re still in the ideation phase of developing your software or app. Small teams of ten or fewer might also be able to stick with a free plan with basic features.
#1 – Backlog — The Best For Most
Backlog is intuitive all the way around with a minimal learning curve, making it a stand-out option for most businesses and developers. Just about anyone can start a project, add tasks, and assign tasks to their team.
Backlog is user-friendly in its board setup. Click and drag tasks from one board to another—Open, In Progress, Resolved, and Closed—and a priority to organize them. A Watchlist and Activity feed keep everyone in the loop at a glance.
Although you can use it for general project management, Backlog has several tricks up its sleeve for bug tracking and is undeniably geared toward this goal. Case in point: the software coins tasks as issues.
Each issue includes notifications and commenting ability for your team to communicate with each other in-depth. Developers can also work on bugs right in Backlog, leaving a visual trail of pull requests.
What sets Backlog apart even more for programmers is its development-friendly features, like version tracking and code comparison. These perks allow your team to see previous changes and adapt code as necessary.
Another reason to consider Backlog is its integrations with popular tools like Slack for communication and notifications and iCal Sync to stay on top of deadlines. Have data stored in Jira Software or Redmine? You can import it, too, after connecting your accounts.
Backlog has a free plan for you to give it a try with one project. Paid plans—which you’ll need for regular business use—start at $35 a month and include a free trial.
#2 – BugHerd — The Best For Website Bug Tracking
If you’re in the business of building websites, then BugHerd is a bug tracking software to put on your radar. This tool keeps your team in the know of everything that requires improvements with your creations, like odd formatting in the mobile version or typos in the “About” page.
No matter the size of your team, you can all get in on the action with BugHerd’s collaborative interface. You can invite an unlimited number of people to provide feedback, including those who aren’t on your team.
Your team and guests can add feedback without needing to learn your coding by clicking on an area of the screen and typing in their opinions or suggestions for improvement. If they see a broken image or can’t get a page to load quickly, they can add a note right where and when they see the issue.
When someone comments on an issue, BugHerd takes an automatic screenshot that logs the task and allows others to learn more about, add comments, and mark with a status. You can then organize screenshots and tasks into visual groups and boards.
BugHerd isn’t going to be the solution you need for software development bug tracking. But for website development, it’s tough to beat, especially if you use crowdsourcing to get feedback on your sites.
Start a 14-day free BugHerd trial to test all its features. Paid plans range between $39 and $109 per month with special pricing for Enterprise subscribers.
#3 – Jira Software — The Best for Agile Workflow Teams
Jira Software is one of the most talked-about solutions for bug tracking. It’s designed for a seamless workflow, whether you want to use a premade workflow template or create one that mirrors your team’s process. More than 65,000 teams currently use Jira Software to manage their development workflow.
As software for agile teams, Jira Software has built-in features for planning, organizing, reporting, and scaling. For planning and organizing, choose between roadmaps, scrum boards, and kanban boards, depending on how you like to visually present your project.
Then, customize your workflow to ensure that your team completes each step in your process in order. Your workflow map includes arrows and colored boxes that point developers and project managers in the right direction to avoid missed tasks.
Your team can view reports for sprints, work velocity, issue analysis, code tracking, and more with Jira Software. The team dashboard gathers all project information on one spot for a quick overview of its data, complete with a search function to find what you need.
Jira Software Free supports up to ten users and includes 2 GB of storage. Large teams may benefit from Jira Software Premium for $14 per user per month with up to 10,000 users, multi-project automation, and sandbox testing.
Premium also allows full scalability with unlimited storage, admin insights, and project archiving.
Get started by test driving Jira Software today.
#4 – Bugzilla — The Best Free Open-Source Bug Tracking Software
Bugzilla is an excellent option for teams that prefer the flexibility of open-source software. Originally designed for Mozilla’s bug tracking projects, the software is now a collaborative effort of development-focused contributors made available for anyone to use.
Even though Bugzilla is 100% free to use, its features are still impressive compared to other paid options. Some of the features you can expect from Bugzilla include:
- User assignments
- Scheduled email reports
- Commenting and attachment capabilities
- Advanced search for tracking and listing bugs
- Time tracking
- Custom database fields
- Custom workflow
Bugzilla is an exceptionally customizable software, too. You can add numerous extensions that tweak its functionality, including bots that announce bug changes, a browser-based bug dashboard, and password aging policies.
Let’s be clear: Bugzilla isn’t going to win awards for being visually appealing. Nor is it the friendliest for project managers and other non-developers to use. But the fact that it’s free, its automated duplicate bug detection, optimized and speedy interface, and high-level security are strong features.
Download and install a Bugzilla MySQL database to your server and configure it to your needs using these step-by-step installation guides.
#5 – Airbrake — The Best for Automated Error and Performance Tracking
If automation is a priority in your bug tracking process, try Airbrake on for size. This lightweight software has already made its rounds with well-known companies like Netflix, Broadcom, and Cisco, which trust its continuous monitoring capabilities to keep them ahead of the game.
We get it. Tools that can save us time in any way, shape, or form are invaluable. But is bug tracking something that can be left to technology?
When you put it in the hands of Airbrake, we’re shouting a confident, “Yes!” Airbrake keeps an eye on bugs and errors, so you don’t always have to. Monitor issues in just about any programming language, including Java, Rails, Python, and Magento.
More importantly, Airbrake considers your app or software’s overall performance, not just its code. Pages loading slowly? User satisfaction taking a hit? Airbrake tracks and records it all in real-time to show you where to spend your time making improvements.
With Airbrake, you’ll get:
- Actionable insight reporting for all errors and performance data
- Apdex Score tool to monitor user experience
- Tips for improving your Apdex Score
- 24/7 monitoring and alerts
- Error path reports
- Duplicate bug detection
- Error searches
Airbrake offers five pricing tiers to cater to your business and development needs, starting at $19/month for limited event and error tracking. Each tier comes with a free 30-day, no-risk trial.
#6 – SpiraTeam — The Best for Organization and Syncing
Organization across all channels is the name of the game for SpiraTeam. Companies in a range of industries worldwide trust SpiraTeam for bug tracking, including Liberty Mutual Insurance, Ralph Lauren, and Windstream Communications.
SpiraTeam is a project management software based on Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), meaning that it works to manage projects from beginning to end. It’s available for download to your system or as a cloud-based platform, but all tasks and projects sync between channels, regardless of how your team chooses to use it.
Reporting is fully customizable, so you can tweak your dashboard to organize it in a way that displays pertinent information for your team. Customize your workflow, plop projects into tidy kanban boards, and categorize bugs and issues with a few clicks.
One feature we love is SpiraTeam’s folder organization. It looks similar to what you’d see in Windows Explorer. Add new folders for tasks, create sub-tasks, and keep everything handy in one spot for ultimate coordination. You can even print a task or entire task list from your folders.
SpiraTeam is a bit pricier than other options on our list, starting at $37.80 per month per user for up to three concurrent users. However, you can try it for free for 30 days with all features on the website.
#7 – ReQtest — The Best for Requirements Management
For teams focused on requirements management to ensure agreement on each step of their processes, ReQtest is a solid option. Its requirements management module allows sorting requirements by hierarchy, setting permissions, and linking requirements directly to tickets.
With these capabilities, ReQtest offers incredible traceability of each step in the process. Know who’s doing what and when, as well as any errors that may have crept up during tasks. Reports can also show you how effective your requirements are and give you insights for potential improvements.
ReQtest is simple to configure to each project’s needs through agile boards, task delegation, and progress visualization. If you still have unfinished tasks to complete on one board, you can quickly copy them to your next sprint, saving you time setting up a new project.
As cloud-based software, ReQtest shares benefits like automatic updates, real-time syncing and collaboration, and accessibility from anywhere without downloading anything to your computer system.
The lowest pricing per user ($6) is reserved for teams of more than 100 users. Smaller teams of up to 50 users will pay significantly more per month per user ($45), so ReQtest might not be the best option if you have a small team.
Still, you can try it for free for 10 days, just to make sure.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Bug Tracking Software
With many similarities between bug tracking software options, it can be challenging to pick apart the specifics to find the right one for you, your team, and your business. This is the methodology we used to determine the top choices on our list. Use it to weigh your options as you decide on the best software for your needs.
How many people are on your team? A solo user has different needs than a team of 10 to 20 people or more. Bug tracking software typically already caters to teams, but large groups might require more or different organization and collaboration features than smaller ones to keep everyone on course.
Pricing can also change significantly depending on how many users you need to add. Some software package pricing includes an unlimited number of users for each tier, while others charge extra per user or by the number of users.
Collaboration is the key to successful bug tracking software, but how that software lets you collaborate with others can make a difference in your productivity.
A few questions to ask about the software you’re considering include:
- Can you receive alerts outside of the platform, like push notifications or emails?
- Can all users comment on tasks?
- Can you assign roles to make sure the right people are working on the right tasks?
- Do the collaboration tools work in real-time?
- Does the software log all activity?
These features are vital to keeping all communication and activity in one spot for everyone to access. You may also want to see if the tool can integrate with your existing communication tools if you don’t like the built-in ones.
Bug tracking software should make the development process simpler for your team. Automation features can make yours live up to your expectations.
Some software options come with automatic bug detection based on previous bugs you’ve already encountered and flagged, simplifying the actual detection process.
Others include ways to automate team notifications, reminders, and reporting. Automatic upgrades can also save you and your team time transitioning to new version releases.
Team members involved in the bug tracking process may not all have high-level software development experience. A program’s user interface should reflect this fact.
For example, a project manager should be able to log into the software and quickly see the status of a project and what they might need to do to speed things along without digging through code they don’t understand.
Visual components and organization tools can give your team equal opportunity for simple and effective collaboration.
Your digital product’s quality relies on your company’s diligence in catching and fixing bugs before they become significant issues.
Whether you work on one project for months with a small team or manage multiple projects and teams simultaneously, there’s a bug tracking software option for you.
You know your team best. Use the methodology noted in this guide to decide what software will help you and your team manage bug tracking tasks as productively as possible.