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The Top 8 Free and Open Source Bug Tracking Software Solutions

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“Jira, Jira, Jira.” That’s all I ever hear when it comes to bug tracking software.

free bug tracking software

Don’t get me wrong, Jira is a great system for development projects and issue tracking. But teams just starting out, or teams with tight budgets, might want a system that’s cheaper.

For instance, one that costs a grand total of zero dollars.

For projects where every penny counts, here’s the story of eight free bug tracking software that will help your team track issues at no cost.

Some of these systems are designed exclusively to track bugs. Some are more robust solutions that can help you track multiple phases of your development projects. But all are free to use.

That means no limits on the amount of users or projects in the system, no limits on how long you can use them, and no credit card required.

Without further ado, below you’ll find details on eight free or open source bug tracking software options.

free bug tracking software

Jumping for joy for free software

1. Bugzilla

free bug tracking software

Source: Niko Projogo

Developed by the Mozilla team in 1998, Bugzilla might be one of the most recognized open-source bug tracking solutions on the market today. An estimated 2,000 customers use Bugzilla to track issues.

Notable features include:

  • Granular advanced searches
  • Detailed reports that you can view in tables, line and bar graphs, and pie charts in the system or export to CSV so you can manipulate your data on your own
  • Time tracking
  • A patch reviewer
  • Ability to “watch” other users by receiving their email notifications as long as you have the same level of access to their bugs. The Bugzilla team markets this as a way to stay on top of your team’s workload, even if a developer leaves or goes on vacation.
  • Custom fields and workflows
  • A “Sanity Check” function that can scan your database for inconsistencies, report errors, and suggest fixes
  • Lots of integrations and extensions for various browsers, email clients, and project management tools so you can link the system with other solutions you’re already using

Requirements

Bugzilla is written in Perl and is compatible with multiple databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle. There are no minimum requirements for its web server, but the team recommends Apache 2.2 for optimal performance.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave another review for Bugzilla here.

2. Fossil

free bug tracking software

Source: Antonia Braz Silva Finizola Tominhas

Fossil is a software configuration system that can help you track not just bugs, but the progress of your entire development project. If you’re only looking for a bug tracking solution, Fossil might come with too many features. But if you’re looking for bug tracking to complete your development stack, this system could be your all-in-one stop.

Notable features include:

  • Version control
  • Wiki creation
  • Technotes to associate wikis with a point in time rather than a topic so your team can record milestones, blog entries, process checkpoints, announcements, or anything related to your project

Requirements

Fossil is a self-contained solution, so there’s no need for your own web server or database. The system stores content in SQLite—and SQLite actually uses Fossil for version control. By the organization’s own admission, Fossil isn’t a great choice for projects whose files are “scattered hither and yon all over the disk,” but if you can archive them into a ZIP file or tarball, you’re good to go.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave a review for Fossil here.

3. Lean Testing

Lean Testing is a bug tracking and test case solution. Its free version allows unlimited users, projects, and test cases, so you don’t have to worry about your team outgrowing it.

Its paid version allows you to pay for specific features, like advanced email notifications, rather than an entire package with extras your team might not use. But according to the company, “Over 97% of the companies that use Lean Testing find that the free version is perfectly suited to their needs.”

Notable features in Lean Testing’s free version include:

  • Browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox that allow you to take screenshots of and report bugs on the spot
  • Easy-to-read project status reports
  • Email notifications
  • In-app bug reporting in mobile apps that allows you to annotate screenshots from your phone

Extra features like pre-built integrations or more storage space cost $5 to $10 per month each.

Requirements

Lean Testing is a SaaS solution, so installation doesn’t require a database or web server. Their data is hosted via Amazon Web Services. Heads up, while you can export data from Lean Testing, the system doesn’t currently offer the ability to import issues from other bug trackers. So if you need to migrate data, you might want to look into another solution for now.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave another review for Lean Testing here.

4. MantisBT

Released in 2006, MantisBT’s open-source, self-hosted system is free. Though most commonly used as a bug tracker, you can configure the system to track issues and manage projects. MantisBT also has a SaaS version that starts at $13.75 per month.

Notable features include:

  • Access control that you can change per project
  • Customizable issue fields, notifications, and workflows
  • A mobile-optimized UI add-on if your team needs mobile access
  • Lots of other plugins available to customize the system to your needs

Requirements

Written in PHP, MantisBT works with MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL, and Oracle databases. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and OS/2 and functions in any web browser.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave another review for MantisBT here.

5. OTRS

OTRS is an open-source help desk and ITSM solution that includes bug tracking. With over 170,000 installations and 5,000 community members since its creation in 2001, it’s been used in the IT, telecommunications, government, healthcare, manufacturing, education, and consumer products industries. It’s a good bet this system can meet a variety of needs, no matter what market you operate in.

Again, OTRS is a ticketing system, so if you’re looking for a system that will help manage the IT services you provide, including staying on top of bugs, this is a good deal. But if you’re only looking for bug tracking, its many features might be overwhelming.

Notable features include:

  • A customer portal for issue creation
  • Time accounting
  • Mobile-optimized UI
  • Knowledge management
  • SOAP and REST APIs

Requirements

OTRS is written in Perl and works with MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB. It runs on Linux and Unix derivatives. An Apache2 web server is recommended.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave another review for OTRS here.

6. Redmine

Redmine is another solution on our list that’s more than just a bug tracker. This open-source project management solution has been around for over a decade and supports 34 different languages. As it’s a full-fledged project management system, you can use it for your development projects, and other teams can use it for their projects, all for no cost. But if you’re just looking for bug tracking, this system might have more features than you need.

Notable features include:

  • Gantt charts
  • Document management
  • Per project wikis
  • Time tracking
  • Issue creation via email
  • Lots of plugins

Requirements

Redmine is written in Ruby on Rails and runs on Unix, Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems. It’s compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL, and SQLite.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave another review for Redmine here.

7. Trac

Trac also offers more features than bug tracking alone. It’s specifically built for development projects and issue tracking but can also be used for requirements and document management. Once again, this might be more than you need for bug tracking. But for those looking for a solution with a robust set of features, Trac might be worth checking out.

Notable features include:

  • Ability to set project milestones and view a roadmap of your progress
  • Code highlighting and file comparison
  • A variety of plugins for features like time tracking or Gantt charts

Requirements

Trac is written in Python and works with SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. Trac can run on a standalone server or on FastCGI, Apache with mod_wsgi, or Apache with mod_python if you want to use a web server.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave a review for Trac here.

8. WebIssues

free bug tracking software

WebIssues was designed with team collaboration in mind. A highly customizable open-source solution, you can access it from any web browser or via its desktop client.

Other notable features include:

  • Ability for different people to work simultaneously on the same issue
  • Maintains full history of changes
  • Permission control for different areas of the system
  • Ability to attach files to individual issues
  • Export reports in HTML or PDF files
  • Export issues to CSV files
  • Issue creation via email
  • Ability to encrypt communication with the server via SSL protocol

Requirements

WebIssues requires PHP and runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, and OS/2 operating systems. It’s compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server databases.

What users say

free bug tracking software

Leave a review for WebIssues here.

What do you think?

Have you used any of these free solutions? How did they work out for you and your team? Did we miss any free bug tracking systems?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best IT Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Kelsie Anderson

Kelsie is a writer and researcher for Capterra. She has a background in English and French literature, so she can read pretty good. When she's not reading and writing about software trends, she enjoys reading about literally anything else, dabbling in comedic pursuits, and settling Catan.

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