Why Gray Box Testing Is Actually Good for Your Application

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just getting started with development, knowing the testing basics is essential.

As companies and organizations continue to develop web and mobile applications, one of the most popular and efficient testing strategies is gray box testing. This strategy involves evaluating the quality of an application without accessing its source code.

What is gray box testing? Gray box testing is a form of software testing in which the tester has partial knowledge of the system under test. The gray box tester knows some, but not necessarily all, details about how it operates. With gray box testing, you can avoid some common pitfalls of black-box testing.

Here, we will look at the benefits and drawbacks of this type of testing and why it can benefit your application.

What is gray box testing?

Testing is essential for the success of any application. It’s not just about having fun and checking some inputs against the UI. It’s about making sure that your application does what you need it to do.

It helps you identify potential issues before they happen, so your users don’t have to deal with them.

Black box and white box testing

In the world of software testing, there are three different approaches to testing software: black box testing technique, white box testing technique, and gray box testing technique. The testing type you choose will depend on the software you are developing and your position in the team.

A black box test is when a tester has no information about how the software was coded and doesn’t have the programming knowledge. The tester only has access to the application. He knows how it operates without knowing the inner code.

On the other hand, white box testing is when the testing developer has full access to the original code and programming documentation.

Gray box testing

Gray box testing is the process of testing the system or component with limited knowledge of internal implementation or code. Gray box tester often performs it to uncover implementation errors (such as operating system access errors) and ensure that input to the system is appropriate. In addition, it is often used when the implementation code is not observable or available for testing.

Why should you use gray box testing (the advantages)?

Why should you use gray box testing? Well, there are a lot of advantages:

  • Provides benefits of both black-box and white-box testing techniques
  • It combines both the end-user’s and developer’s perspective
  • It quickly identifies the bugs in your application
  • It is used to test the security of the application
  • Testers can supply more input information to developers
  • Testers don’t need to have an expertise of the programming language

Gray box testing is a great way to test the security and develop the application. But it also takes a lot of time and effort to get it right.

The disadvantages of gray box testing

The gray box testing sounds excellent, but it also has some downsides:

  • It’s time-consuming
  • It can’t be done without access to your source code
  • It can’t be done without some understanding of your source code
  • It doesn’t represent enough edge cases, not suitable for algorithm testing

How to perform gray box testing

The software testers who perform gray box testing need to go through the following steps to achieve the testing goal:

  1. Identify testing inputs
  2. Identify testing outputs
  3. Identify key paths
  4. Identify subfunctions, their inputs, and outputs
  5. Execute test for subfunctions
  6. Verify the results for subfunctions
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for other subfunctions

The tools to use

The testing tools that you can use for this type of testing method are listed below:

Techniques used for gray box testing

The techniques used for gray box testing are:

  • Matrix testing – testing all the fields available in the application.
  • Regression testing – testing that verifies that previously created features still work.
  • Pattern testing – testing using the previous version of the application to discover patterns that cause bugs.
  • Orthogonal array testing – statistical method of performing tests.

Gray box penetration testing

Do you want to know how you can beef up your application’s security? Here is the secret: gray box testing. Gray box testing is the perfect way to detect vulnerabilities in your application before cybercriminals exploit them.

With this approach, an ethical hacker uses his limited knowledge of the system to identify the strengths and weaknesses.

The gray box security testing is just like black box testing in that it utilizes a network-wide penetration test. However, the original black box test involves testing without internal knowledge, whereas in a gray box test, you partially know the application you will be testing before beginning.

The gray box testing technique is an excellent way to find flaws in your program because the testers will use the same methods if they were a hacker in your system. In addition to this, you can create a much more comprehensive report of vulnerabilities when you have the context, which will mean fewer security leaks for you in the long run.


Gray box testing can help your development team improve your testing strategy and help you find and resolve more bugs. It can also provide a cost-effective, quick, and easy method for finding and testing more critical edge cases. But to achieve the best result, you need to combine white box, black box, and gray box testing strategies. Only then will your application be thoroughly tested, and crucial bugs won’t find their way to production.

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