5 Best Free and Open Source Bug Tracking Software for Cutting IT Costs

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Software experts did the work for you. These are the best free and open source bug tracking software available to date. 

Bug tracking is serious business.

When you’re developing software, bugs are inevitable. But when you encounter one bug, it often means there are more issues hiding somewhere in your code.

Enter bug tracking software.

What are bug tracking tools?

Bug tracking software automates the process of tracking and monitoring bugs, defects, and other issues that impede the efficient operation of an organization’s technology and information infrastructure.

Using issue tracking tools during your software development process helps prevent one small issue from snowballing into a million giant ones. 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.

When you’re busy doing important work patching bugs and improving your software development projects, the last thing you want to think about is your budget. With these free bug tracking software solutions, you might never have to think about budget again.

We’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of five free and open source bug tracking software solutions that are sure to meet your needs.

5 free and open source bug tracking software options

To be included in our list, issue trackers must have had more than 20 reviews at the time of publication, be free forever, and have above-average user ratings on Capterra. See more about our methodology here.

Products are presented alphabetically.

Chart of best free bug tracking software

1. Backlog

Made for developers, Backlog is an online project management solution that includes bug tracking. The system allows you to see where all of your bugs fit into your overall project workflow. You can document work with as many details as you want or need, and create custom fields to resolve issues efficiently.

Pros Cons
Backlog users love that the free version of the system includes access to a wiki and said that the system, overall, is easy to use and set up. Some users noted that the reporting and data analysis features could be improved to allow more in-depth insights.

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.

Best bug tracking software for: Users who want something easy to use no matter their business size.

A bug description in Backlog (Source)


Read user reviews of Backlog


2. Bugzilla

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 relevant/necessary team members.

Pros Cons
Bugzilla users love that the software is easy to use with a low learning curve. Users note that if your needs are more complex, the system’s “basic” setup can make it feel sparse. And most reviewers think the interface could use a facelift.

Cost to upgrade: N/A; Since Bugzilla is open source, all offered features are free forever.

Best bug tracking software for: Users who work in quality assurance or businesses that want something without any distracting bells and whistles.

A bug list in Bugzilla (Source)


Read user reviews of Bugzilla


3. MantisBT

MantisBT is built on PHP (hypertext preprocessor) and is compatible with MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. It’s commonly used as a bug tracker, but you can configure the system to manage larger software development projects as well. MantisBT offers access control that you can change per project, customizable issue fields, notifications, and workflows, as well as a mobile-optimized UI add-on if your team needs mobile access.

Pros Cons
Reviewers found that MantisBT is easy enough for an experienced programmer to use, but noted that an average user might require some training. Users said that although MantisBT’s interface is outdated, it still offers all the basic features a software development team needs to track and fix bugs.

Cost to upgrade: MantisBT offers an SaaS version that starts at $14.95 per month for one project and up to five users.

Best bug tracking software for: Senior software engineers or developers who want something customizable.

A dashboard summary in MantisBT

A dashboard summary in MantisBT (Source)


Read user reviews of MantisBT


4. Redmine

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.

Pros Cons
Users of Redmine generally find a basic version of the system easy to implement and fairly easy to use. 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 plugins to adapt the system to your team’s needs over time.

Cost to upgrade: N/A; Redmine is an open source solution, so the free version includes all features.

Best bug tracking software for: Project managers in the IT service field.

A video product description of Redmine (Source)


Read user reviews of Redmine


5. Zoho BugTracker

Founded in 1996, Zoho is an online suite of software solutions that includes a free bug tracker. Zoho BugTracker works for companies of all sizes, and allows project collaboration to help users resolve issues faster. The free version allows up to five users on one project.

Pros Cons
Users find the tool easy to use and report that it has great functionality. Reviewers say that the company’s customer service could be improved.

Cost to upgrade: $40 per user, per month

Best bug tracking software for: C-suite users and business founders who want insight into their issue tracking, and developers looking for an easy-to-use tool.

A video product description of Zoho BugTracker (Source)


Read user reviews of Zoho BugTracker


Which bug tracking tool is best?

Now that you’ve seen our list of the five best free bug tracking options, give them a try, see what’s best for your business, and then get out there and resolve your project glitches and system errors. The software development world will be a better place for it.

If you’re using a free system you love that’s not on this list, feel free to shout it out in the comments below.


Methodology

This article was updated in August 2019. Products considered for this article had to:

  • Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).

Software that met the market definition also needed a minimum of 20 user-submitted reviews published before July 31, 2019, and have an above-average overall user rating compared to other products in the category.

  • “Top” free tools had a minimum overall rating of 4/5 stars from reviewers on Capterra at the time of publication.

Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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

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About the Author

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Tirena Dingeldein

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Tirena Dingeldein is a former Lead Emerging Technology and Business Trends Analyst for Capterra.

Comments

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Mark wilson What Effi tool?

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Hiˏ thanks for sharing the list and I have one more suggestion. I′m currently working in a startup as a developerˏ and our team is using Effi which is a user-friendly mobile QA app. Direct screenshot sync from mobile to PC function is awesome and feedbacks are instantly notified to team members with visualization. It saved a lot of time in the QA process by cutting out unnecessary steps. Do you have some other tools to share? Thank you.

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Have a look at https://primetrack.io it is very suitable for new startups and it is free

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Nice and helpful List 😉

I would like to point out a very simple and small Solution that is ideal for a single developer and it don’t need a Database:

https://codecanyon.net/item/todo-list-issue-and-bug-tracker/21870465

and yes, it cost a one-time-fee of 10 $ and also yes i’m the Author, but…
If you prefer a free tool and spend several hours to install it, i would like to use a tool that is installed in minutes and cost a small fee 😉

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Great topic, and I’d love to add BugRem.com bug tracking tool. It’s so effective

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FYI, Lean Testing is shutting down as they were not able to get enough paid subscribers.

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i think bugrem is also a good tool for bug tracking http://www.BugRem.com

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Hi Kelsie, please also consider Backlog – https://backlogtool.com/ which is an issue and bug tracking software made for developers. It has the added functionality of Git/SVN and Wiki in one. It’s free for teams of 10.

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Have you ever try out Tuleap open source tracking tool? Its issue tracking system is really powerful: each project team can create new trackers, add new fields, change layout, permissions by field etc. , triggers CI jobs, changes on child trackers, be linked to Git, SVN, Eclipse and so on. Try it here : demo.tuleap.org

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