I have worked with TestLink for a few years and I don't really understand why it is recommended all over the place.

IMHO, it

  • doesn't make test creation easy. In many cases, where I was just asked to create a test, I needed to define a requirement, associate things here and there, create a test plan etc. That is a huge overhead on the test management side for someone who is just asked to perform a test.
  • has a bad usability. It doesn't use the power of modern web browsers.
  • makes customizing reports hard
  • is hard to track changes in tests (version history)

What are the key features of TestLink that makes it so powerful that thousands of testers obviously love it? The TestLink website itself doesn't do good advertisement. It just says "Get it", "Forum" and "Issues". There is no list of key features.

Ok, first of all it's a freeware tool, but then...? How could I first convince myself and then my boss to use TestLink instead of something else?

10 Answers 10


Firstly, you say in a comment that it would have been easier to make a Word document. If your test needs are indeed so simple that a Word document fulfils them, then you don't need TestLink or any other test management tool. But just as most organisations that try to use Word/Excel as their issue-management tool soon discover the drawbacks, so they also discover the disadvantages of using them for test management for all but the smallest of projects.

On your specific points: you don't need to define a requirement. Yes, you need to define a project, plan and build, but that isn't very complex. Certainly it isn't after you've done it once. It's probably fair to say there is room for improvement in the documentation, but IME that applies to most tools, both paid and free. "Bad usability" is a judgement call; I wouldn't agree with it, although the UI is indeed not cutting-edge. It is indeed true that building custom reports is not easy. But until very recently I found the standard reports entirely sufficient.

What makes TestLink so widely accepted? (apart from being free). I can only answer from my own experience. I found it pretty easy to learn and have found it reliable. Installation was straightforward and mature compared to a couple of competitors I investigated. There's a lot in it: I've used it at three organisations and so far it has had all the functions we needed. YMMV.


When we decided to implement a centralized test case management system in our company, the team spend a lot of time analyzing and evaluating various available tools.I was actually surprised and rather impressed that companies like Yahoo, Toshiba, Texan Instruments, etc. (full list is available on the Testlink website) have used Testlink in some projects during sometime in the past. Final decision was to implement Testlink and am really happy with how things have turned out to be.

Benefits we saw with Testlink Tool

  1. Free, so no massing/operational budget approval required, we just requested dedicated server from IT department
  2. Open source, so was able to customize the features that we wanted
  3. Seemless integration with JIRA, which was already used by out teams
  4. We have sevaral off shore offices and Testlink allows the Leads/Project QA lead/ PM's to keep track of the project real time.
  5. Easy to use and thus less effort for training teams
  6. Web based tool, can access from anywhere, office or home
  7. Helps for knowledge transfers when people leave. The data/ test are always in the test suite so we can ensure consistent quality of the software.

Overall, we are happy with Testlink. In addition we create regular database backups as part of risk management strategy. Yes, there are some areas of improvement, e.g. more flexibility with user management, ability to import test cases from Excel, better reports etc., but these issues are not deal breakers for us.

At the end of the day, we need to remember that the Tool selected should meet the business present and future needs. Testlink may or may not meet your company requirements, but it is still a simple effective tool.


I think its because its free of costs.

When evaluation test-case management tools in the past we put TestLink aside pretty fast, it felt clumsy and also its looks & feel was horrible.

We eventually settled on TestRail, but as I was not part of the manual test teams I don't know if they are really happy with it. But functionally it felt good, I did some practical cases in it and some test-runs with Jira integration. To test how the whole workflow would work.


As others have said, it's free. There are no licensing costs, and in my experience the time costs of learning and using the tool well are comparable with any other tool regardless of license cost.

It's also open to modification, which means if there's a programmer with the right skillset, you can add features you need, customize at the source code and database level, and do a whole lot more than the obvious (the time cost, of course, is not trivial).

It has some features I like and have not seen in the comparable tools I've used (Team Foundation Server/MS Test Manager, and Rally), particularly the versioning of test cases and results: it prevents the confusion when old results are no longer valid because the test case has been edited to fit changes to the application.

It's typically a case of what tool best fits your needs and budget. If TestLink is good enough for your needs despite the ugly UI and awkwardness, then go with it.


We started our research on the tool which I could integrate with JIRA and came to a conclusion that testlink is free tool and why we do not try it. After comparing some of the paid tools, I found TESTLINK is the best one to go with. I integrated successfully and later started exploring testlink end to end according to my knowledge it helped us in mapping from test link with ticket in JIRA. I was able to work with all the set of test management activities. I was also able to saggregate my test cases with different configurations and there was no hard work required to rewrite but instead I was able to create a " platform " & this feature is provided in testlink and was able to run test cases successfully. This was very imp for us as QA as we have to work on different devices and environments. When the reports were generated then I could be able to customize with which my customer would see it in the format as required. Newer version is flexible and faster than the older one. Last but not the least its a FREE TOOL which has great features !


there are two factors- price (or lack of) and being one of the least bad tools in the market. How could you convince your boss to use it? easy- decide on a set of features important to you, test some tools (most of them are easy to setup, some have online demo projects) and fill in a table with grades per feature.

If you color code the grades (e.g. excellent-green, terrible-red, OK but not brilliant-yellow) you'll most probably find that testlink is mostly yellow, and others are green-red meaning it is not perfect but at least not terrible in any area


Ok, first of all it's a freeware tool, but then...? How could I first convince myself and then my boss to use TestLink instead of something else?

As other people have said, you first need to understand what are you looking for then you can write down a comparison matrix between all test management tools you are evaluating.

Then, after filling the matrix, you will be able to find for yourself the answer you are looking for.

You can use Matrix Comparison between Spiratest and Testlink Test Management Tools as an example/starting point


where I was just asked to create a test, I needed to define a requirement,

Not true, requirements are not mandatory

associate things here and there

what things are you talking about?

create a test plan

hmm test plans are not an strange thing, and in addition: how many time do you need to create a test plan?


it will be good to understand what your etc includes

That is a huge overhead on the test management side for someone who is just asked to perform a test.

You need to create the following elements

1) Test Project (time needed: less than 1 min)

2) at least 1 Test Suite (time needed: less than 1 min)

3) all test cases you need (time needed: depends of level of detail)

4) at least 1 Test Plan (time needed: less than 1 min)

5) at least 1 Build (time needed: less than 1 min)

6) link test cases to Test Plan (time needed: less than 1 min)

You are ready to run your test cases.

  • I agree that it does not take a lot of time once you understood the terms and how they work together. However, until I have explained someone what a test project is, what a test suite is, what a test plan is etc. it takes more than a day. In contrast, if I have a Word document with test steps, I can hand that over to anyone to perform the test. The effort for explanation is less than a minute. Jun 15, 2015 at 6:37
  • Welcome on QA.SE. Please note that this is not a forum. You have provided two answers. Instead you should probably have provided one answer only and edited the existing answer to provide additional detail instead. Jun 15, 2015 at 6:38
  • If you do not have time to provide minimal knowledge to people that need to do the tests (and IMHO you need only a couple of hours), then probably you do not have time also to write down the specs of things to be developed, and time to test, then your problem is that you do not have the time needed to do the work.
    – Francisco
    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:18
  • you're partly right. That's an organizational issue where TestLink cannot help. Jun 16, 2015 at 6:32
  • IMHO No tool can be the solution to lack of organisation. Culture comes before any tool (at least IMHO), but seems the hallmark of this age is to try to do things without the right amount of time
    – Francisco
    Jun 16, 2015 at 17:21

I think it´s because the Testlink is constantly updating and suit to the new test trends.

In my companie we used the Testlink for manager all test project a few years.

The friendly usability and strong performance grow up the Testlink to the best tool available.

  • Usability and performance? I observe exactly the opposite. Loading the pages is slow and there are unnecessarily lots of clicks. It would perform much better if it's a local desktop application. Ok, that's perhaps much opinion-based. Jun 16, 2015 at 6:21
  • Usability is often a matter of opinion. It also depends a lot on how the target users interact with the application.
    – Kate Paulk
    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:21

TestLink tends to be a popular test management tool mainly because its free and also one of the older tools which means its well established.

There are however plenty of other tools available and here is a list of the top test management tools that we have come across over the years.

If you feel like we have missed any, please do let us know.


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