Difference between Severity and Priority in Software Testing

Posted By Oodles Technologies | 03-Jan-2017

Difference between Severity and Priority


Often people get confused between Severity and Priority while this question get asked in many of the interviews for Software Testing positions. Infact, this topic is confusing in so many ways to count upon. However, to understand the basic difference between the said terminologies is not that difficult or complex if explained in a simple and understandable manner. Apparently, the scope for confusion emerges only due to the non-availability of platforms which can explain it in a simple and clear way. Besides, Software Testing has become one of the many job generating verticals in the IT sector around the world.


Bug Fixing is one of the most essential process under Software Testing. And, in order to fix these notorious bugs comes various bug tracking systems which are responsible to detect the errors and to reflect their severity and the sequence in which they need to be addressed called “priority”. These terms namely “Priority” and “Severity” gets reflected under the various results obtained on running these so called Bug Tracking Systems to test an intended piece of mobile or web application.


What Exactly is Meant by Severity in Simple Terms


Severity basically means the degree of impact a bug or defect has on the functionality of the said application or software. Higher severity of the bug means the higher its potential to affect the working of an application in a negative manner. Mostly, the Quality Assurance Engineer determines the severity of a bug.


What Exactly is Meant by Priority in Simple Terms


Priority is nothing but the order in which the said bugs or defects need to be addressed to. Higher priority of a bug means that it needs urgent attention regardless of its severity. Consider this - A bug might be of low severity but if assigned a high priority, then it has to be fixed more sooner than a bug with a higher severity.


Categorization of Types of Severity and Priority




Critical : This kind of bug or defect is the one which is leading towards complete shutdown of the process that means a tester is not able to proceed further while doing his work.


Major : It is as serious as the critical one, but the only difference is that in this kind of defect certain parts of the system still works while the whole system collapses.


Medium : Some expected behaviour can be detected while running the application but still the application is functional. However, the app will not respond as per the expectations.


Low : It is a minor bug which affects the system and the functionality to an extent which does not hampers its functionality but impacts negatively in regard to the reputation of the web or mobile application in question. It’s not going to result in the breakdown of the system.




High : High priority means that the defect should be resolved as soon as possible as it's affecting the system severely and has made the system come to a complete shutdown.


Medium : It requires for the defect to be resolved as soon as you get time to address the concerned bug while the application development is also been carried out simultaneously. However, it does not allow developers to sit back and relax if this level of fault has occurred.


Low : There is not an urgent requirement of fixing these kind of bugs. However, it does not mean that you are free to let them be, as it's not affecting the system in a critical manner. It only gives you the luxury to fix these kind of errors whenever you get time after fixing the major ones.

Let’s Make It Simpler With The Help of These Practical Examples


High Severity Low Priority


Logo of the Company : Suppose, a company’s logo colour is showing different or there has been an incorrect spelling of the company’s name in the URL found of what it should be.That means it’s a case of high severity because the company’s reputation and accessibility has been affected in a severe manner. Why Severe ? Because, if the company URL is incorrect, that means, whenever people will type the URL in their browser’s address bar, the site will not open. Likewise, colour fault in the logo can create dissimilarities of the site’s appearance at different places on the web which leads to negative impact on the reputation of the site.


High Severity High Priority


Submit Button on the Login Page not working or not getting Displayed : You may have easily understood about why it's high on both severity and priority. If one is unable to login on your site, then what’s the use of your site and added is the bad response it will generate among the users that will eventually make users leave your site promptly.


Low Severity High Priority


Kick Start not working in a Bike but Self Start Does : High Priority because Self Start could stop to work at any time as self start is more prone to defects than the manual Kick Start. Low Severity because self start is still working and your bike is still functional.


Low Severity Low Priority


A Few Spelling Mistakes In the Text of Home Screen : Both severity and priority are low because it’s not affecting much the functionality of the site and the spellings can be corrected any time with a lot of ease in the free time.


Hope this blog has cleared all the confusions and misconceptions with regard to the ever confusing topic - “Difference between Severity and Priority”.


Also Read : Static and Dynamic Testing


Best wishes to all the interviewees who intend to take interviews in the near future for various positions in Software Testing and of course, the learners !


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