What Is System Testing: An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Ross Jackman
Ross Jackman
| July 12, 2022

What Is System Testing: An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

Regardless of the industry vertical, it is prudent for businesses to test their systems before going live to the public. This way, it’s easy to ensure efficiency and avoid expensive mistakes. System testing is the last line of defense before releasing a product. It's also the most comprehensive type of testing because it covers everything from business requirements to the end-user experience.

What Is System Testing?

A crucial question to ask before anything else is: “What is system testing?” It’s a process of verifying the end-to-end behavior of a software application. The objective of system testing is to identify errors, gaps, or missing requirements in the overall functionality of the software application.

This is usually done after all the unit tests and integration tests are completed. It’s important to test the software application as a whole before releasing it to the end users.

System testing can be accomplished internally by your business, but you can also outsource it to experts with extensive experience on the entire process, like QASource.


Objectives of System Testing

These are the primary goals of system testing:

  • Reducing Risks: System testing is one of the final and most critical steps in verifying the quality of your software before it goes live. By identifying and addressing these issues before release, you can help reduce risks and ensure a smoother rollout for your users.
  • Preventing Defects: System testing is a process of verifying the functionality of a complete and integrated system to determine if it meets the requirements specified in the system specification. The purpose of system testing is to identify errors, gaps, or missing requirements in the system being tested.
  • Verifying Design: System testing ensures that the system meets its objectives and requirements. In other words, it's used to check whether or not the system has been designed according to the right specifications.
  • Validating the System: System testing is a process of verifying the completeness and accuracy of a system. One of the main objectives of system testing is to provide confidence that the system meets its requirements and performs as expected.

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Different Types of System Testing

Mentioned below are the different types of system testing:

  • Usability Testing

    In usability testing, the system is tested for user-friendliness. Testing participants are given some tasks to perform using the system. Their performance is observed and any problems they face are noted.

  • Regression Testing

    It’s important to ensure that new system changes don’t break existing functionality. This type of testing compares the current behavior of the system with its behavior in a previous version.

  • Performance Testing

    Performance testing is conducted to evaluate the compliance of a system or component with specified performance requirements. It determines whether a system meets its performance objectives, such as response time or throughput.

  • Functional Testing

    It checks whether the system meets the requirements or not — especially for its features. Functional testing can be done manually or using automation tools.

  • Recovery Testing

    This type of system testing is conducted to check if the system can recover from crashes, hardware failures, and other catastrophic problems. It measures how well the system can handle unexpected inputs and events.

  • Migration Testing

    Migration testing is the process of testing how well a system can support moving from one environment to another. This type of testing is important because it ensures that systems can be properly migrated with minimal disruption.

  • Hardware/Software Testing

    System testing can be done on both hardware and software. All the components of the hardware are tested to see if they work together as intended. This might involve testing the system’s wiring, its power supply, and its input/output devices.

    Software testing is a little different. In this case, the system’s functionality is tested without regard to its physical components. All the software that makes up the system is tested to see if it performs as expected.


How We Plan for System Testing

There are different levels of testing in software testing. As such, you have to plan for it meticulously by:

  • Setting Up Environment for Test Case

    It's important to set up the test environment before starting to write test cases. This includes specifying the testing tools, programming language(s), and frameworks that will be used, as well as setting up any necessary configurations and dependencies.

  • Creation of Test Case

    Next, you have to consider your test case. This is the document that contains all of the specific details about what you need to test and how you will go about testing it. The document should also include information on what constitutes a pass or fail for each individual test.

  • Creation of Test Data

    After the test case comes the creation of test data. This data is created keeping in mind the inputs and outputs of the test case. This data can be both positive and negative. While creating test data, one has to be very careful so that all the critical fields are covered, and no important field is left out.

  • Running the Test Case

    You should then have a strategy on how to run the test case, which will give you an output. The output will show whether the test case has passed or failed.

  • Defect Reporting

    The test case should show how the system behaves when it encounters an error or defect. To properly plan for system testing, we need to understand how defects are reported and fixed.

  • Regression Testing

    Regression testing is a way of verifying that new features haven’t introduced any new bugs and that existing functionality hasn’t been broken. This process can be automated through tools.

  • Fixing Defects

    Additionally, having a plan on how to fix defects is important. Not every defect can be fixed, but having a process to evaluate and fix them is key to success.

  • Retesting

    Once a tester has found and documented a defect, the development team should fix it, and then the tester should verify that the fix works as expected. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of having undetected defects in your software. You have to plan for full or selective retesting when necessary.


Important Factors to Keep in Mind While Planning For System Testing

Some important factors to remember as you plan for system testing:

  • Industry Type

    Know the industry vertical to which your company belongs to understand the testing process and ensure that you have the resources to complete the task.

  • Time Required for Testing

    You need to know how much time you can dedicate to testing. This will help you schedule your work and also give you a realistic idea of the progress.

  • Resources Available for Testing

    As mentioned, you need to consider your test team’s size, skills, and experience while planning for system testing. Depending on the size of your application and its complexity, you may need to hire more testers or train your existing staff.

  • Experience of Tester

    It’s important to consider the experience of testers while planning for system testing. If the testers are new, then more time might be needed to complete the test cycle. On the other hand, if they have prior experience, then less time would be required.

  • Overall Cost for Testing

    System testing can be a very expensive process, and it’s important to keep the overall cost for testing in mind while planning your test strategy. There are many factors that can affect the cost of system testing, such as the size and complexity of the system, the number of test cases required, and the amount of time and resources required to execute the tests.


The Tools We Use

Here are a few system testing tools that you can use:

  • Robot Framework

    Robot Framework provides a number of built-in tools and libraries, but you can also create new tools and libraries. Its operating system and application are independent. The core framework is implemented using Python, but the standard library has interfaces for Java and .NET as well.

  • JMeter

    JMeter is a powerful testing tool that can be used to test both web applications and web services. It can be used to simulate heavy load on a server, network, or object to test its strength or analyze its overall performance under different load types.

  • Selenium

    Selenium is a portable framework for testing web applications. It provides a record/playback tool for authoring tests without learning a test scripting language (Selenese).

  • Gallen Framework

    Gallen Framework is a tool that allows for the automation of system testing. It's an open source tool that can be easily integrated into our development process. In addition, it supports a wide range of applications and platforms.



What is system testing in software engineering? It’s the process of verifying that a system meets its requirements. By running tests on all components and functionality, software developers can ensure that the system will work as expected when deployed.

System testing is essential to quality assurance and should be done early and often during the software development process. If the process seems too overwhelming, and you don’t know where to start, you can enlist the help of professionals to provide system testing services to your business. Request a free quote today.


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.