Is your software development team spending more time fixing bugs than rolling out new updates to improve your products? If yes, then you should consider using a bug tracking tool.
Bug tracking software, also known as defect tracking software, helps record the bugs or errors reported in a software or mobile app by customers and internal users. It provides details such as the time the bug was found, who reported it, and a description of the error. Based on this info, your development team can check the severity of the bugs and prioritize their resolution.
But buying a bug tracking system that doesn’t have the right functionality or has unnecessary features will only bleed money and raise your IT costs instead of cutting them down. To avoid such a conflict, try out a free bug tracking tool. You’ll get a better understanding of your needs, and if required, you can upgrade later.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the four best free bug tracking software solutions and explained their features in detail. These tools are arranged alphabetically and have a minimum user rating of 4.5 (out of 5) and at least ten user reviews on Capterra. Read the full selection methodology here.
Backlog is a project management tool with bug tracking features. It lets you assign bug requests to team members, describe the problem, set issue priority, attach files for reference, and track bug resolution on a Kanban-style dashboard.
If your software development team uses a source code management solution, such as Git or Apache Subversion, to store the codes of different software versions, Backlog can be a suitable bug reporting tool for you. Since it integrates with SCM solutions, it can serve as a collaboration platform where developers can view, share, compare, and discuss code changes to fix bugs as well as develop new product features.
- Free plan: Supports 10 users, one project, and 100MB file storage. It offers features such as team management, issue tracking, live chat and email support, and mobile apps.
- Paid plans: The starter plan costs $35 for 30 users (billed annually) and includes five projects and 1GB of storage space. It offers additional issue management features such as subtasks and custom fields.
Clubhouse is a project management tool that helps manage bugs via its Story feature. The feature allows you to describe the bug, assign it to a developer, and track its resolution status. You can check the relationship between bug requests. For instance, if bug A needs to be resolved before bug B. You can also add attachments, leave comments, and track all ticket activity on a Kanban-style dashboard.
If you follow an Agile project management methodology such as Kanban or Scrum, Clubhouse can be a suitable bug tracking tool for you because it includes features that support Agile concepts. It lets you run Scrum sprints for project tasks—break them down into milestones, epics, and stories—and visualize them on an Agile board. It also offers velocity and burndown charts to help you track Agile projects.
- Free plan: Supports up to 10 users and offers all the core features including stories, epics, milestones, iterations, reporting, workspaces, custom workflows, mobile apps, and integrations. Support is available only via a Slack community.
- Paid plans: The first tier starts at $8.50 per user per month (billed annually) and includes all the core features along with priority support and access to new and advanced features.
GoodDay is a project management solution with built-in templates to track bugs and issues. Its bug tracker template lets you assign tasks to team members, add due dates, set task priority (minor, major, or critical), and describe the action required. It also offers an issue tracker template that is specifically designed for tracking the issues submitted by customers rather than internal users.
GoodDay can be a suitable bug and issue tracking tool if you’re looking for additional project management features. It includes features such as Gantt charts to plan project timelines, identify bottlenecks, and understand team workloads. It also offers time tracking features such as daily/weekly timesheets and a task timer to help track project progress.
- Free plan: Includes 15 users, unlimited projects, basic support, and 1GB of document storage space. It allows access to features such as activity streams, time tracking, and calendar and events management.
- Paid plans: The starter plan costs $4 per user per month (billed annually). Besides the features of the free plan, it offers unlimited storage, reports and advanced analytics, advanced time tracking, and 24/7 support.
Zoho BugTracker is an issue tracking tool that lets you capture details such as what needs to be fixed, who the request is assigned to, and when it will be fixed. You can view this data in a list format or as Kanban cards. You can customize the card view using filters such as assignee, due date, and status. You can also export this information as an XLS or a CSV file and get email notifications on the bug resolution status.
Zoho BugTracker can be suitable for your business if you use the Zoho suite of apps. For instance, you can raise a ticket in Zoho Desk and simultaneously get your bug logged in Zoho BugTracker. It’s also a great tool if you already have a project management solution and want a stand-alone tool for only tracking bugs.
- Free plan: Includes three users, one project, 10MB of storage space, basic reports, and features such as bug tracking, document management, and bug import (via CSV files and Jira).
- Paid plans: The first tier costs $3 per user per month (billed annually) for up to 10 users. It includes 10 projects, 5GB of storage space, and additional features such as project templates, time tracking, bug export, automatic capture of bug details from emails, bug status, and advanced bug reports.
How to choose the right bug tracking software for your business
These considerations can help make software selection a little easier for you:
- Do some research. Create a checklist to compare products based on features, pricing, and other factors relevant to your business requirement. If you find yourself struggling to filter out tools, use our product comparison template. You can also visit Capterra’s bug tracking category page to check user ratings and read reviews from real software buyers.
- Test the tools. Schedule a demo with the software vendor to check out the tool’s unique features, total costs, security and data privacy measures, and support options. Read this article to learn how to make the most of software demos.
- Check the upgrade cost. Discuss the different pricing plans with the software provider, and check if the upgrade cost is within your budget. Also, inquire if there are any hidden costs, such as priority support, training, and data migration.
- Ask about integration options. Integrations are essential for bug tracking solutions. Some common ones are with project management, ticketing, and document management solutions. Be sure to ask the software provider whether or not their tool integrates with your existing systems. Also, check if the vendor offers API, so you can build your own integrations.
Common questions to ask while selecting a free bug tracking software tool
Here are a few questions you can consider asking the software provider to learn more about the bug tracking tool you’re planning to buy:
- How frequently do you release new updates? The answer to this will help you gauge how active the vendor is in maintaining and improving the tool. If the vendor hasn’t released an update or a new feature in a year, this can be a sign that you may face challenges in using the tool.
- When did you last raise your product price? The answer to this will help prevent any surprises later in your billing. Some vendors make regular changes to their pricing plans. Knowing this beforehand will help you set up a contract with a fixed price for the subscribed period.
- Can I speak to a customer who has deployed your tool in the past six months? The answer to this will help you understand if the vendor puts in an effort to ensure customer satisfaction. If the vendor is reluctant to share the details, then it’s a sign that you may not get the customer service you expect.
How we rate
This article was updated on Feb. 9, 2021. 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).
- Meet our bug and issue tracking software market definition: Bug and issue tracking software helps software teams find, record, and track bugs in their software.
Software that met the market definition also needed a minimum of 10 user-submitted reviews and an above-average overall user rating compared to other products in the category.
- “Best” free tools had a minimum overall rating of 4.5/5 stars from reviewers on Capterra at the time of publication.
Looking for IT Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best IT Management software solutions.