Differences Between Bug Severity and Priority in Testing [with Examples]

severity and priority

While testing any website or software, do you know what happens if your software crashes in the middle?

“A bug encounter! Your software slowed down or crashed due to a bug.”

Defect, mistake, and glitch are all synonyms for “bug”, and the goal of testing is to identify software issues before a release cycle so that they can be fixed before being made available to users. 

mobile app automation

Various types of testing and bug tracking are carried out to guarantee that the flaws discovered during software development are fixed, ensuring that the final product is high-quality and bug-free. So here’s the guide to differentiate between bug severity and priority in testing.

Bug Severity and Priority in Testing: Definition and Difference with Example

Bug severity and priority are two phrases that are frequently used throughout the entire process of identifying and fixing bugs. The confusion between the two terms, bug priority and severity, has frequently been raised. 

Software testers, project managers, and even developers sometimes need to assign the same values for issue severity and bug priority when highlighting a bug to their coworkers.

We are preparing this article with you to help you distinguish between problem severity and priority using real-world examples.

In this article, we will define the terminology, discuss the key distinctions between bug severity and priority using examples from the real world, and more.

Both severity and priority are used to emphasize the urgency of addressing a defect. Which bug should be fixed first is further selected based on these two variables. So let’s dive deep and clear the confusion once and for all.

What Is Bug Severity?

The term “bug severity” refers to the impact of any bug (or defect) on the creation or operation of an application feature when it is used. It depends on how the bug affects the system. 

A higher severity level will result from a bug or flaw having a more significant impact on the system’s operation. A quality assurance engineer often determines the severity of a bug or defect.

There are various levels of bug severity that correspond to how much of a risk the bug can be to the software:

  • Low: The bug gets the least amount of attention. It could be positioned under the development bucket or not be placed.
  • Medium: The fix might be taken into account after the publication of the following or upcoming version.
  • High: The problem must be corrected in the forthcoming version since it severely impacts the system, and the system cannot be used until the bug is fixed.
  • Critical: This bug has seriously interfered with the functionality of the entire web application or website. The remedy must be implemented right away or as quickly as possible.

How To Determine Bug Severity?

Now that you know about bug severity, the next step is to learn about how you can actually determine the severity of any bug:

  1. Determine how often the bug can occur: Even a little bug in the code might be troublesome if it happens frequently. This tiny flaw has the potential to harm the end-user experience significantly.
  2. Once the flaw has been located and isolated, it can be evaluated to see how serious it is.

Rules That Every Tester Should Take Into Account When Deciding On A Severity

The testers evaluate the severity parameters, whereas the manager or the client team evaluates the priority parameter. To prevent confusion with the development team, a tester must select the correct severity when prioritizing a problem.

  • Comprehend the meaning of importance and severity
  • Always determine the type of severity degree to determine the issue’s priority.
  • Recognize the impact on the user of a certain situation or test case.
  • Consider how long it would take to verify the problem and how complex the defect is.

What is Bug Priority?

The urgency with which a bug must be corrected and removed from the website or application is referred to as its priority. In essence, it is a ranking of the bug’s importance inside the debugging hierarchy.

In order to successfully design a software development life cycle, bug priority must be assigned correctly.

Similar to the various levels of bug severity, there are different levels of bug priority that correspond to the risk of the bug to the software:

Bug Priority Levels

  • Low: The bug can be solved later. Other, more detrimental bugs take precedence.
  • Medium: A bug that can be rectified during standard development and testing.
  • High: The bug must be fixed as soon as possible because it has a negative impact on the application and makes it useless until it is solved.

Testers can use the same processes to assess bug severity and establish priority.

Difference Between Severity and Priority:-

Bug PriorityBug Severity
It is the sequence in which developers need to fix bugs or defects.It is a measure of the impact that any bug can have on the functioning of the software.
Business values and release time drives bug priority.The performance of software drives bug severity.
It is unlikely to change significantly in the entire software development process.It is very likely to change over the course of the process based on the resolution of other bugs.
Priority can be classified into three levels: Low, Medium, and High.Severity is classified into five levels: Low, Mild, High, and Critical
It indicates how early any bug will be fixedIt indicates the seriousness and impact of the bug, and hence, the fixing queue is determined.
Bug Priority is finalized by the manager in consultation with the client.Bug Severity is determined by the QA engineer.
It is based on customer requirements.As mentioned, It is based on the software’s functionality and technical aspects.

Read also: Advanced Guide to Write An Effective Bug Report.

1. High Severity and Low Priority Example

In legacy browsers, your website’s home page renders poorly. The logo doesn’t load, or the text overlaps. The functionality and user experience of the product are being hampered.

Hence the severity of the bug is high. Although it will only bring in a few visits because we’re talking about the old browser, it could be regarded as a low priority.

2. High Severity and High Priority Example

As a website tester for a SaaS company, let’s say you test your website on Chrome and have no problems with how it looks or feels. However, the text and frames on the pricing page appear distorted if you switch from Google Chrome to Internet Explorer.

Both the buttons for purchasing the plans and the pricing you were provided based on the features included in a plan have vanished. Consumers might not comprehend what they are getting for what price. In addition, the buttons are missing, so even if they wanted to buy them, they couldn’t.

High Severity because the buyer is not shown the pricing grid, resulting in a barrier to purchasing the product.

High Priority because the problem must be fixed right away because it prevents the sale of the product.

3. Low Severity and High Priority Example

You’re attempting to test the website’s functionality. When the website is invoked in the most recent version of Google Chrome, the buttons can be seen to overlap slightly. Even if they can still be clicked on separately, the visual representation is becoming unsteady.

There are a few minor alignment concerns on the website. Even though it doesn’t look good, the user can still enjoy browsing the internet.

4. Low Severity and Low Priority Example

You may have discovered a typo while checking a website’s privacy statement or disclaimer, or you may have discovered that the font and colour scheme needs to match the overall design of your website. 

Although it doesn’t affect your web app’s functioning and also because most users wouldn’t see it, it is not as it should be. Hence it is a bug. Maintaining a low severity and low priority would be acceptable since it doesn’t have to be fixed immediately. 

Ease Your Efforts With TestGrid

Did you notice the UI variations brought on by the various search engines used by browsers?

Looks interesting, right?

But how can we test our website or web application across various browsers without downloading them to our computer? 

“If you plan to do it manually every time, your efforts and release time will break the ceiling, and you might end up offering very limited services that are tangible for you and your team to handle.”

But what if it can be done simply and quickly? How?

“By using a cloud-based cross-browser testing tool like TestGrid”. 

You may test the compatibility of more than many different browsers using TestGrid. Additionally, it provides an on-cloud Selenium Grid to expedite your cross-browser automated testing efforts.


In software testing, assigning the incorrect severity to a bug can significantly slow down the STLC process and impact the team’s performance as a whole. In order to assign a bug, the responsible person must be specific and accurate.

Choosing severity and priority carefully when developing websites is important since they might significantly impact the system’s overall performance. The two phrases must be used individually in your bug-tracking procedure. To prevent confusion later on, new teammates must convey their differences when joining the team.
We hope that this article helped clarify the distinction between a bug’s priority and severity, and to read more on the topics related to software testing, you can head over to the TestGrid Blog section here.

Read also: Easy & Step-By-Step Ways of Finding Bugs in Software.


What is the meaning of priority?

Bug priority denotes how urgently a specific bug needs to be fixed and eradicated from the app or website. It is a measure of how a bug needs to be prioritized.

What are the 4 levels of severity?

There are 4 Severity levels ranging from 1 to 4.
Level 1 – Critical Impact/System Down. Complete system outage
Level 2 – Significant Impact/Severe downgrade of services
Level 3 – Minor impact/Most of the system is functioning properly
Level 4 – Low Impact/Informational.

Is Priority 1 or 5 higher?

Priority 1 is higher than 5 since it is urgent and can have a major impact on the application. Hence it needs to be fixed first.

Who sets the priority and severity in testing?

The priority of faults is determined after consulting with the manager/client. The QA engineer determines the defect’s severity level.

What is a Severity 3 issue?

It implies moderate severity, which means a moderate loss of performance or application functionality that can impact multiple users.

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