UPDATE (7/6/2018): This post has been updated to exclude systems that were shut down and to include a wider array of bug tracking solutions to give readers a better idea of available options.
Bug tracking is serious business. When developing software, bugs are inevitable. However, when you encounter one bug, it often means there are more issues hiding somewhere in your code.
It’s important to track bugs throughout the development process so that one small issue doesn’t snowball into a million giant issues. It’s also important for your business, since development teams that produce software with unresolved bugs won’t find customers who will buy, use, or trust their products.
A good development team should have a reliable bug tracking solution on hand from the moment they get to work on a project. However, if you’re part of a lean startup that doesn’t yet have tons of cash to spend on software or assigned to a project where every penny counts, investing in an extra system might seem impossible.
Luckily, there’s issue tracking software out there that costs a grand total of zero dollars.
To help you cut back on IT operating costs, we hunted down ten free and open source bug tracking software solutions that will help your team track issues at no cost.
10 free and open source bug tracking software options
Some of these systems are designed exclusively to track bugs, while others are more robust solutions that can help you track multiple phases of your development projects. All are free to use.
Some free systems impose limitations on the number of users or projects you can have in the system at one time. For smaller teams, this might not be an issue. But since this probably won’t work for larger teams or teams working on many client projects at once, I’ve listed out any such limitations so you know what you’re getting into.
Below you’ll find details on ten free or open source bug tracking software options, listed in order of the number of reviews they have on Capterra.
To pick the solutions for this article, I searched for:
- Solutions that came up multiple times in searches for free bug tracking software so you can avoid sifting through multiple pages of Google search results.
- Systems that were still supported and recently (within the last year) updated.
- Systems that offer a free-for-life version.
- Systems that allow more than one user in their free version so you can work as a team.
(65 reviews, 4.5 on Capterra)
A project menu and backlog list in Pivotal Tracker (Source)
Pivotal Tracker is an Agile project management solution built for software developers. Its visual dashboard (shown above) lets you see all the projects you’re working on at once so you don’t lose track of any of the bugs or tasks you’re supposed to be tackling. Its velocity tracking feature monitors the pace at which your team resolves issues.
The system also integrates with GitHub, so you can keep track of your code throughout your project.
What Capterra reviewers say: Pivotal Tracker users love that the system’s dashboards give them great visibility into projects on both a granular and big-picture scale. Many feel that the system is easy to use, but some users noted that the system became difficult to use if they were juggling and tracking multiple projects at once.
Free version’s limitations:
- Three users
- 2 GB of storage
- Can only have two projects in the system at any given time
Cost to upgrade: The lowest-priced paid version of Pivotal Tracker is $12.50 per month for up to five users, five projects, and 5 GB of storage.
Have you used Pivotal Tracker? Leave a review!
(45 reviews, 4.5 on Capterra)
A list of issues in Redmine (Source)
Redmine is more than just a bug tracker. This open source project management solution has been around for over a decade and supports 34 different languages. Redmine is written in Ruby and is compatible with MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL, and SQLite.
If you’re just looking for bug tracking, Redmine might be a little more than you bargained for, but you can use the flexibility of its customizable interface and the slew of available plug-ins to adapt the system to your team’s needs over time.
What Capterra reviewers say: Users of Redmine generally found that a basic version of the system was easy to implement and fairly easy to use. While installing plug-ins and extending and customizing the system via modules can add increased functionality to the software, it can also render the system difficult to use. However, without plug-ins and customizations, the interface can feel outdated and clunky.
Free version’s limitations: Redmine is an open source solution, so the free version includes all features.
Have you used Redmine? Leave a review!
(45 reviews, 4 on Capterra)
Developed by the Mozilla team in 1998, Bugzilla is an open source tool that offers powerful search capabilities, duplicate bug detection, time tracking, and a patch reviewer that makes it easier to read lines of code. You can leave private comments and notes within a bug and grant access to specific bugs to any relevant team members.
The system runs on MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle and requires the installation of Perl.
What Capterra reviewers say: Bugzilla users love that the software is easy to use with a low learning curve. They say that it has all the basic features for bug tracking, but note that if your needs are more complex, this “basic” nature can make the system feel sparse. And most reviewers think the interface could use a facelift.
Free version’s limitations: Bugzilla is an open source tool, so the free version includes all features.
Have you used Bugzilla? Leave a review!
(43 reviews, 4 on Capterra)
A dashboard summary in MantisBT (Source)
MantisBT is built on PHP and compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. It’s commonly used as a bug tracker, but you can configure the system to manage larger projects as well.
MantisBT offers access control that you can change per project, customizable issue fields, notifications, and workflows, and a mobile-optimized UI add-on if your team needs mobile access.
What Capterra reviewers say: Reviewers found that MantisBT is easy enough for an experienced programmer to use, but noted that an average user might require some training before getting up to speed. They also noted that although MantisBT’s interface is outdated, it still offers all the basic features a software development team needs to track and fix bugs.
Free version’s limitations: MantisBT is an open source solution. The self-hosted free version includes all features.
Cost to upgrade: MantisBT also offers a SaaS version that starts at $4.95 per month for one project and up to five users.
Have you used MantisBT? Leave a review!
(11 reviews, 4.5 on Capterra)
A bug description in Backlog (Source)
Made for developers, Backlog is an online project management solution that also includes bug tracking. The system allows you to see where all of your bugs fit into your overall project workflow.
You can document all work with as many details as your team wants or needs, and create custom fields to add anything else your team requires to resolve issues efficiently.
What Capterra reviewers say: Backlog users loved that even the free version of the system includes access to a wiki and said that the system, overall, is easy to use and set up. However, some users noted that the reporting and data analysis features could be improved to allow more in-depth insights.
Free version’s limitations:
- Ten users
- One project at time
- 100 MB of storage
Cost to upgrade: The lowest-priced paid version of Backlog is $20 per month for up to 30 users, five projects, and one GB of storage.
Have you used Backlog? Leave a review!
(9 reviews, 4.5 on Capterra)
Ticket overview in YouTrack (Source)
If you’re an Agile development team, you’re in luck: YouTrack was designed with you in mind. You can search the full text of a bug with its search query functionality. You can also group issues by using tags (making them easier to find in your system), or link different issues to each other to track related bugs.
You can also let end-users report issues from various third-party apps via YouTrack’s REST API.
What Capterra reviewers say: YouTrack’s users said that the system can be set up quickly, is easy to integrate with other apps you might be using, and described the search functionality as very powerful. However, many noted that the clunky UI results in a fairly steep learning curve
Free version’s limitations:
- Limited to ten users
- The cloud version has a storage limit of 5 GB
- The cloud version doesn’t allow you to create private projects
Cost to upgrade: The lowest-priced paid version of YouTrack’s SaaS solution is $200 per year for up to 15 users. To host YouTrack on your own servers, YouTrack is $500 for up to 25 users.
Have you used YouTrack? Leave a review!
(2 reviews, 4.5 on Capterra)
A ticket list in Trac (Source)
Trac is specifically built for development projects and issue tracking, but can also be used for requirements and document management. It has a minimalist design, an integrated wiki, and integrates with Apache Subversion and GitHub.
You can link bugs to various tasks, files, wiki pages, and other bugs. Trac is written in Python and is compatible with SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
What Capterra reviewers say: There are only two reviews for Trac on Capterra as of this writing, but both reviewers gave Trac a perfect five-star rating for value for money.
Free version’s limitations: Trac is an open source solution, so the free version includes all features.
Have you used Trac? Leave a review!
(1 review, 4 on Capterra)
A project in Fossil (Source)
The good news about this open source CMDB solution with built-in bug tracking is that it’s self-contained, so there’s no need for your own web server or database. The system also offers version control, wiki creation, and automatic file updates.
Your team can create technotes to associate wikis with a point in time rather than a topic, letting you record milestones, blog entries, process checkpoints, announcements, or anything else related to your project.
What Capterra reviewers say: Fossil only has one review on Capterra as of this writing, but the single reviewer deemed Fossil’s bug tracker “useful.” However, they also noted that customization was difficult.
Free version’s limitations: Fossil is an open source tool, so the free version includes all features.
Have you used Fossil? Leave a review!
(1 review, 5 on Capterra)
Visual ticketing in Futuramo (Source)
Futuramo is a visual ticketing solution that allows you to add images—such as screenshots—to a ticket to provide better details about bugs. You can annotate your tickets with drawings, as well as text.
Issues can be assigned to one person or shared across your team, and the solution’s smart search function lets you use any words associated with an issue to locate it in the system. Futuramo also offers a slew of other modules, including time tracking and project and contact management if your team ever needs to expand.
What Capterra reviewers say: Futuramo’s single reviewer on Capterra said that the system saves their team time and helps their teams communicate effectively.
Free version’s limitations:
- Limited to three users
Cost to upgrade: The lowest-priced paid version of Futuramo starts at $8 per license, per month after your third user.
Have you used Futuramo? Leave a review!
Tuleap currently has no reviews on Capterra
Issue view in Tuleap (Source)
Tuleap is an Agile project management solution for development teams. Its tracking feature lets you track bugs, as well as project requirements and tasks. Each team can create and configure new items to track without approval from the system administrator in order to get the information they need to get their jobs done when they need it.
Tuleap also allows the creation of customized workflows, and you can apply those settings to Kanban boards to visualize your progress.
Free version’s limitations: The free version of Tuleap is missing more advanced features, such as time tracking and test management.
Cost to upgrade: Tuleap offers enterprise and cloud plans for teams that need access to more advanced features. These plans also offer paid support options. Tuleap does not list its pricing on its site.
Have you used Tuleap? Leave a review!
Disclaimer: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.
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