When it comes to free test management software, quality assurance (QA) teams are spoiled for choice. However, in a world where we are used to paying for almost everything, it’s easy for teams involved in software testing to view free software suspiciously.
In this article, I aim to help agile QA teams find free software solutions for quality assurance tasks like a bug and issue tracking.
After presenting the ten best free test management software tools on the market, I will start by answering some of the questions most frequently asked by QA and DevOps teams looking for the best test case management tools on the market.
I will also look at the features you need to look out for when choosing software to facilitate your whole product testing life cycle and improve your test results.
The 10 Best Free Test Management Tools List
Here’s a shortlist of the 10 best test management tools in 2021:
Best Free Test Management Tools Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best test management tools? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Just because the tool is free or has a free version should not mean that it has to be unattractive.
Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Is it user-friendly? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? Even though free tools are likely to offer limited support, you want to select the one that makes life as easy as possible. Open-source tools may offer communities where you can ask for help.
Integrations: Apart from providing functionalities like regression analysis or the ability to do manual testing, how well does the free software integrate with other tools you already use for your testing activities?
Key Features To Look For In Free Test Management Software
To a certain extent, free software should provide your team members with a certain level of freedom whether they’re doing a manual test or an automated test. Of course, freedom always has its limits.
However, the need for free software may leave some QA teams feeling as if they have no right to expect the software to have many useful features, such as test automation tools.
Here are some features to look at when choosing between different kinds of free test management tools:
Seamless workflow: Does the free test management solution manage the whole test lifecycle in one place? If you are already using another tool like Testlink or TestRail, how well will the issue management tool you select work with them?
The right metrics: Determine the metrics you want to track and decide if the tool will deliver the right reports based on those metrics.
Test automation: The reason you are not using Excel is that you want a test management methodology that is more sophisticated and can automate your agile projects to save you time.
Collaboration: A good test management tool should allow your team to share ideas and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Test case generation: Ensure that you do not spend a lot of time generating test cases manually with test case reuse, automated test case generation, and other features.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Free Test Management Tools
Here’s a brief description of each of the 10 best free test management tools on my list, showing what the specific tool does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
1. AppAchhi – Best for mobile app start-ups looking for test automation
One of the main features users recommend AppAchhi for is the strategic bot. The bot is handy for those that don’t have scripts. The bot can click and take different flows to report crashes, ANRs, and risks for memory, the CPU, and the network.
AppAchhi has a free version that does not expire. However, for teams that need functionalities not found in the free version, the paid version starts at $200.
2. Loadium – Best for performance and load testing
For teams involved in performance and load testing, Loadium comes with some of the most valuable features an open-source tool can have. For instance, users can use automated test scripts developed using Selenium when testing for performance. The software provides reporting features with graphic or tabular data.
The Loadium free trial lasts an entire month with all the features. After the free trial, you can decide between one of the paid plans or the free Basic plan. The free basic plan only allows for 15 tests, while the first paid plan allows for 250 tests.
The developers of Appium describe it as “an open-source test automation framework for use with native, hybrid and mobile web apps,” which “drives iOS, Android, and Windows apps using the WebDriver protocol.” The tool is designed based on the idea that testing native apps should not involve an SDK or recompiling your app.
To use Appium for free, there is no need to download or install anything on your device. Also, you can use any testing framework with the tool.
4. RedLine13 – Best for executing and managing load testing
RedLine13’s is great for teams that are scaling. The tool makes it possible to customize tests that can be reused several times, saving time in the process. It also allows users to create their own open-source load testing plugins or use ready-made ones.
RedLine13’s free plan lasts for one day and includes all the features that are part of the paid version. This makes the tool more suitable for teams that want to quickly determine if this is the tool they want to use.
5. Loadster – Best for teams managing apps with many users
Loadster provides QA teams and developers with the ability to record load test scripts on their browsers using the free Loadster Recorder extension. Also, the tool is designed to make it easy to capture and validate users’ responses so that you can use them in the script later.
The Loadster free account comes with all the vital features, including fast recording of scripts, editing on the browser, and automatic test reports. The free trial allows for 50 hours of testing.
6. BlazeMeter – Best open-source testing tool for teams shifting left
Testing at all phases of the development process is progressively becoming the norm in software development. The developers of BlazeMeter say that the tool can be used “to create tests or reuse your existing scripts and run them at scale as part of your continuous testing strategy.”
BlazeMeter’s Starter Plan is free. It allows you to connect up to 50 concurrent users, run ten tests, one mock service, and 25,000 API calls. The maximum test duration in the free plan is 20 minutes. The data generated can be retained for only one week.
ActivePython is a test management tool centered around a feature called the ActiveState Platform. The open-source tool automates the tools that ActiveState (the company that developed ActivePython) has put together in over two decades.
For developers, one of the tool’s main advantages is that it allows teams to work with their preferred open-source language without worrying about maintenance.
For development and testing environments, you can use ActivePython for free. However, if you need to use the tool beyond development, you will have to select one of the paid plans.
8. QADeputy – Best for integrating with existing bug tracking tools
QADeputy is a testing management tool that can easily integrate with most existing tools. The software facilitates efficient communication between stakeholders while also allowing teams to customize the tool based on their unique needs.
QADeputy’s free trial allows for one user and one test suite. It also comes with 100 test cases. Free plan users can also run unlimited tests, customize the platform, and use integrations.
9. Obkio – Best for categorizing issues based on seriousness
One great feature of Obkio is the tool’s ability to speed things up for development and QA teams. For instance, the copy and paste command or typing the hardware’s serial number in the app can get you started with your test management task. The ability to detect a failure within 5 seconds and the deployment of automatic updates are other features you can expect from this tool.
The Obkio free trial lasts 14 days and gives users access to all the tool’s premium features. However, you can register for the free plan that comes with limited features. The free plan only includes one customer device, standard device polling of 5 minutes, two agents maximum, seven days history, and one monitoring session.
Perforce Helix TeamHub provides development and QA teams with a solution for storing their source code. Users can also add multiple repositories in a single project and create a distinct repository for every project they are running.
A free Perforce Helix TeamHub account accommodates up to five users and 1 GB of data. It also allows for integration with common tools like Jira, Slack, and Jenkins.
There is no better place to find the answer to this question than from the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The FSF defines free software as “software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it.” Adding, “We call this free software because the user is free.”
The definition by the FSF above is on one end of free. It emphasizes the freedom of the user and says very little about the software developer. So, I checked out to see whether everybody shares this definition. I would say that the phrase “free software” could be looked at in at least two ways.
The first refers to software developed by a for-profit enterprise and then offered to the market for free. This type of free does not necessarily mean that users have a right to copy, modify, or distribute the software. Also, this software’s functionality can be restricted.
You may discover that a free version of a given software may not permit development teams such functionalities as continuous integration. In that case, you may be using the software, but your freedom is restricted.
The second definition of free software is related to the open-source concept. This refers to publicly accessible software that individuals can modify and share freely.
When looking at the definition of free software, I notice that it is generally politicized. However, in simple terms, it refers to software that you can use without paying anything or at a minimal cost. The freedoms extended by different types of free software differ widely.
Why Do Software Makers Provide Free Test Management Software?
Most businesses commit some of their resources to community development and ensuring that people that don’t have the means can also access services.
For instance, students studying quality assurance may need tools to develop test plans, test cases, or gain other test management and execution skills. Companies that offer such tools may be paying it forward because students may end up working for them.
A developer of a test management tool may also offer the software for free as a test drive. Using a free version can help a user try some functionalities and get a practical example of the tool’s features such as traceability, provision of real-time reports, or requirements management. The hope is that the user will be so pleased as to decide to pay to use the software after the free trial.
Free test management tools can provide software as a service (SaaS) companies with a great marketing opportunity.
Why Is Free Test Management Software Useful For QA Teams?
Quality assurance and project management teams can take advantage of a free test management solution to determine whether a particular software type is suitable for their long-term needs.
QA teams in smaller companies with tight budgets could also use free test management software for different testing processes, test runs, and management of testers. Free tools allow such teams to try the functionalities of tools without the need to commit scarce resources.
What Do You Think About These Free Test Management Tools?
What do you think about the free test management tools I have listed here? Have you used any, or any other test management tools? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments section.
If you have used the free versions of other tools we haven’t listed here, like Bugzilla, Redmine, Zephyr, Practitest, TestLodge, or QTest, we would like to hear your evaluation of the tools as well. And if you’re looking for tools to use specifically with Jira, here’s our list of the 10 Best Test Management Tools For Jira In 2021.