The different types of software testing

Adina Humayoon

March 14, 2023

The different types of software testing

Did you know, the different types of software testing market size in 2021 was over $40 Billion? And we are expected to reach $70 Billion by 2030, which is massive growth in a decade. These numbers not just signify money made during this time, but the potential of the entire industry, which is part of a bigger picture known as software development.

Software testing is a crucial element within the software quality assurance domain. Each application development phase has its own set of testing modules and protocols that they must follow, ensuring smooth workflow and automation throughout. Regardless, a tester’s journey is never a short one, with various types of testing lined up as soon as the development phase reaches its end. 

These different types of software testing have their own set of features and advantages that benefit the product. From manual to automation testing, from functional to non-functional or agile testing, the list is long and extensive, giving us a scope of how rigorous and effective these testing processes are, not to mention time-consuming. But to deliver a bug-free and elite code, it has to go through all these testing phases. 

Let’s take a look at the types of testing that exist within quality assurance, their features, benefits, and their usage throughout a software development lifecycle.  

Manual VS Automated Testing 

Manual Testing

An old-school yet extremely crucial element of end-to-end testing, manual testing is where a tester conducts in-person testing by clicking and interacting through the app and its various APIs. They create a separate environment on various devices to test out the essential features of the application. While this may seem an appropriate way with a real-time human element involved, this can be extremely costly, time-consuming, and slightly flawed as well. Anything involving human interaction can be prone to human error, or typos that can alter the results based on the elements or steps they missed out. 

Automated Testing

While manual testing was all about humans, automated testing is the exact opposite in terms of testing techniques. Automated tests are performed by a machine running on a test script that was written in advance, based on a complex manner. These scripts can vary from complexities to the actions they want the machine to execute. From a single action to a series of actions within the UI that could lead to the same results. While it may seem extremely easy, with a machine conducting all the tests, it all comes down to how well the testing script was written. 

While anything automation has taken over the entire QA process in these times, it’s still integral to visit back to the roots and rely on manual testing from time to time, also known as exploratory testing, but we’ll talk more about it below.

The different types of tests

  1. Unit Tests

One of the most regularly used, effective, but basic testing methods, Unit testing is used on a separate unit and component to test out its features and corrections. Usually conducted during the application development phase, to find any defects, it’s cheaper to automate and run on a continuous integration server.

  1. Integration Tests

As stated within the name, this type of test provides us with results on whether the components involved within the software are working well together or not. Integration tests are expensive and need to be run continuously on multiple grounds and levels to ensure each component is well integrated and in sync with another one. 

  1. Functional Tests

Functional testing works around testing the business requirements of any application without pondering over the entire functioning of the system. It pays close attention to all the components whether they are functioning well and producing their desired results individually or not.

  1. End-to-end Tests

One of the most important testing phases is quality assurance. End-to-end testing replicates a human behavior of conducting the entire functions within the software, from start to finish. Its main aim is to verify whether basic and complex tasks within the software such as clicking on the right tab or getting the right options in the menu are functioning well or not. 

While this is one of the most important types of testing, it sure is expensive and requires constant attention when automated. To save cost and inconveniences, it is mostly recommended to conduct fewer end-to-end tests and rely more on other similar, but smaller testing types to get similar results on an individual level.

  1. Acceptance Testing

is Also known as the User Acceptance Test (UAT), the final phase of testing where the client, business, or the customer themselves take control over the app. Their testing is conducted in real-time, based on business scenarios and goals they want to achieve success via the application. The final outcome from acceptance testing usually deciphers whether the system is ready to go live or still needs alterations.

  • Alpha Testing

The final round of acceptance testing before the application is released to the customers.

  • Beta Testing

Conducted by the users and customers themselves, the complete application is released to a special set of users who have signed up for this service on the app store. The app is released specifically for these users who conduct a thorough examination of the application in real-time and send in their feedback. The feedback is then considered and incorporated within the app before the official release. 

  • Operational acceptance testing (OAT)

To ensure that the system administrator is working effectively to cater to a user query in a real-time environment, OAT is conducted. 

  1. Performance Testing

To test how an application performs under various scenarios and workloads, Performance Testing is the go-to testing type that you would target for this. It gives an overall idea of how well your application is performing in terms of responsiveness, speed, reliability, and more. To test these out, tools like Loader.IO, JMeter, and LoadRunner are used throughout the process.

This test can help you determine the capacity your application can work, the load it can handle, or the number of customers per minute it can handle. Whether the data that goes through the system is reaching accurately or not. Performance testing is the best possible way to measure any future roadblocks or bottlenecks that may occur, measure stability during peak hours, etc.

Performance testing on its own is divided into further branches of testing like, 

  • Load Testing
  • Stress Testing
  • Scalability Testing
  • Volume testing (flood testing)
  • Endurance Testing (Soak Testing)
  1. Smoke Testing

If you want to find out whether your application is functioning well overall before it’s deployed, or is adjusting well in a new environment after deployment, a Smoke test is your answer. Without going deep into the system, smoke tests do a quick, in-expensive run-through of your software assuring that the system is well intact and all the major functionality is running smoothly.

While the smoke test in itself is inexpensive, it does help you decipher whether a more expensive test is to be conducted any further or not. Usually, a smoke test takes place right after it is deployed into a new environment, to see if there are any discrepancies or not.

  1. Security Testing

Laying under non-functional testing, security testing is one of the most essential testing types that is conducted by a special team with expertise and background in cybersecurity. They conduct a clean sweep of the entire interface and software of the app to check on any internal or external threats it may be vulnerable to. The testing covers the system for any viruses, and hacks, and also takes a deep look into the authentification and authorization processes if any. An overall protective shield is also applied to prevent any attacks as well.

  • Penetration Testing

Pen testing is an authorized self-inflicted cyberattack on the application to declare any weak aspects or data leaks within the complete system. This form of ethical hacking is performed by professionals who then submit the final report to the organization.

  1. Usability Testing

While testing is a pretty rigid and robotic task on its own, what is it that tests out the overall “user experience” of the application? Usability testing. To see whether the app is working well, a human perspective is instilled in this testing method to test the user-friendliness of the application overall. 

  • Exploratory testing

An informal testing method whose aim is to find any flaws within the existing application through their knowledge of the business domains. 

  • Cross-browser testing

It is essential to find the look, feel, and performance of an application on multiple browsers, operating systems, mobile devices, and platforms. This is an essential feature for a well-ensured user experience, as not every user owns the same device, but they deserve the best experience regardless. A browser stack is a good tool to carry out this type of testing.

  • Accessibility Testing

Leaving no stone unturned here, accessibility testing is focused on making the app effective and user-friendly for the disabled. Features like font size, color saturation, sound, etc are taken a good look at to avoid any inconvenience. 

  1. Compatibility Testing

Finding compatibility is not just a human factor anymore, even applications and systems require a compatibility test that deciphers whether the system is working well on various platforms and devices or not. It is important to figure out whether the system is in sync with the web servers, hardware, and network environment or not. It ensures whether it’s good enough to work around various configurations, databases, and browsers, or not.

Other Types of Testing

The world of testing doesn’t end here, with various complexities around us in technological forms, now fixing their roots in AI and metaverse, this factor within software quality assurance has evolved as well. To keep itself relevant the field of QA has further extended its roles and created new factors within testing that not only cover the basics but have the technical abilities to delve deeper. 

Some of these non-conventional testing methods are as follows: 

  • Ad-hoc Testing
  • Back-end Testing
  • Browser Compatibility Testing
  • Backward Compatibility Testing
  • Black Box Testing
  • Boundary Value Testing
  • Branch Testing
  • Comparison Testing
  • Equivalence Partitioning
  • Example Testing
  • Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing
  • Incremental Integration Testing
  • Install/Uninstall Testing
  • Mutation Testing
  • Negative Testing
  • Recovery Testing
  • Regression Testing
  • Risk-Based Testing (RBT)
  • Static Testing
  • Vulnerability Testing

Final Thoughts

Software quality assurance testing is necessary, and more importantly, it’s an integral part of the software development timeline. Without all these testing branches and features the application will come across various developmental and scalability crises that will result in the overall app and business performance as well.

FAQs Related to Different Types of Testing

If we put it simply, then the testing criteria mainly revolve around 4 major types of testing, namely: 

  • Unit testing: This is where the focus is on an individual component or unit within the application system.
  • Integration testing: Where the results and functionality of an integrated system are tested out. 
  • System testing: The entire system is given run-down and end-to-end testing takes place here to test everything out.
  • Acceptance testing: Testing out whether the final product is user-approved or not by conducting human-like activities around the system.



If you want to get to the roots of the types of software testing that exist, then manual, automated, and continuous testing are the ones we should be focusing on, because the rest of them are simply branches of these. Out of all these, automated testing is well-loved and appreciated.





The main types of software testing look somewhat like this: 

  • Unit tests
  • Integration tests
  • Functional tests
  • End-to-end tests
  • Acceptance testing
  • Performance testing
  • Smoke testing



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