An In-Depth Look at Sanity Testing: Understanding its Role in Software Testing

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In this article we will see, What is sanity testing, sanity testing vs smoke testing, sanity testing test cases, examples, differences, when we will do, how to do sanity testing.

Welcome, fellow software testing enthusiasts! Have you ever wondered what’s so “sane” about testing software? Well, you’re in for a treat because we’re about to embark on an exciting journey into the world of “Sanity Testing.” But hold onto your testing hats, because what lies ahead is not just sane—it’s spectacular!

Sanity Testing
Sanity Testing

So, why is Sanity Testing such a buzzword in the software testing universe? What makes it different from its testing siblings like Smoke Testing and Regression Testing? How can you ace Sanity Testing like a pro? We’ve got all the answers and more in store for you. Buckle up, because sanity and software testing are about to become your dynamic duo!

Key Take Aways:

  • Grasp the fundamental concept of Sanity Testing through relatable analogies, making complex ideas simple and approachable.
  • Explore the distinctions between Sanity Testing, Smoke Testing, and Regression Testing, understanding their unique roles and importance in the software testing universe.
  • Dive into the detailed methodology of conducting Sanity Testing, including step-by-step instructions and critical considerations for a successful testing process.
  • Explore real-world scenarios and examples to understand how Sanity Testing is applied in various software applications, giving you practical insights into its implementation.
  • Learn about the manual and automated aspects of Sanity Testing, understanding when to use each method for efficient and effective testing.
  • Discover expert tips, best practices, and common pitfalls to avoid, ensuring your Sanity Testing efforts are accurate, thorough, and impactful.
  • Understand the critical role of Sanity Testing at different stages of the software development lifecycle, ensuring stability, reliability, and user satisfaction.

What is Sanity Testing in Software Testing?

Certainly! Imagine you’re building a house. Once the construction is almost done, you want to make sure that the basic things work before you start decorating the rooms. You’d check if the doors open and close properly, if the lights turn on, and if the plumbing works. In software testing, sanity testing is like checking if the fundamental parts of the software work correctly before doing more detailed and extensive testing.

Here’s a simpler explanation:

When software developers make changes to a program, they need to ensure they didn’t accidentally break something that was working fine before. Sanity testing helps with this. It’s a quick, basic test to confirm that the recent changes haven’t messed up the essential features of the software.

Think of it like a chef tasting a dish before serving it to customers. The chef doesn’t need to eat the whole meal, just a small bite to make sure it tastes right. Similarly, in sanity testing, testers don’t test every little detail; they just check the most critical parts of the software to see if they are still functioning as expected.

For example, if you have a messaging app, sanity testing would involve sending and receiving messages, making sure the basic communication functions properly. If these basic features work fine, it indicates that the recent changes haven’t broken the core functionality of the app.

In a nutshell, sanity testing is a simple, quick test to confirm that the most important parts of the software still work after changes have been made. It gives developers confidence that their recent modifications haven’t created major issues, allowing them to move forward with more comprehensive testing.

Sanity Testing vs Smoke Testing

You can find details difference between Sanity Testing and Smoke Testing.

Is Sanity Testing Black Box?

Sanity Testing is typically considered a Black Box testing technique. In this approach, testers focus on the external behavior of the software without looking at its internal code.

It aims to quickly verify that the most critical functionalities of the software are working after a minor change or a new build, ensuring that the software is still fundamentally “sane.”

Is Sanity a Functional Testing?

Sanity Testing is a subset of Functional Testing. While Functional Testing verifies the overall functionality of the software, Sanity Testing is a narrower form of Functional Testing.

It concentrates on specific critical functionalities or features to confirm that they haven’t been adversely affected by recent changes, updates, or bug fixes.

Sanity Testing vs Regression Testing

This is most common interview question asked in most organizations. also we find some key differences to each. we have enlisted differences between sanity testing and regression testing.

Sanity Testing:

  • Focuses on specific, critical functionalities.
  • Limited scope, covering areas affected by recent changes.
  • Shallow and narrow testing approach.
  • Executed early, providing quick feedback.
  • Primarily done by testers.
  • Limited documentation and test cases.

Regression Testing:

  • Ensures existing functionalities are not affected by new changes.
  • Broad scope, covering significant parts of the application.
  • Deep and comprehensive testing approach.
  • Performed after Sanity Testing, ensuring overall stability.
  • Conducted by both developers and testers.
  • Involves detailed test cases and comprehensive documentation.

How to do Sanity Testing

Here we will see most imposrtant steps to follow while doing sanity testing.

How to do Sanity Testing
How to do Sanity Testing

1. Understand recent changes made to the software:

  • Before beginning any testing process, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the recent changes made to the software. This understanding provides context and helps testers focus their efforts on the areas that have been modified.

2. Identify critical functionalities affected by the changes:

  • Determine the core functionalities of the software that have been influenced by the recent changes. These critical functionalities are the backbone of the application and are essential for its proper functioning.

3. Develop specific test scenarios for critical functionalities:

  • Create detailed test scenarios that specifically target the identified critical functionalities. These scenarios should cover various use cases, user interactions, and system responses related to the essential features.

4. Prepare a test environment identical to the production setup:

  • Set up a testing environment that mirrors the actual production environment as closely as possible. This includes configuring servers, databases, networks, and other components to replicate the conditions under which the software will be used by end-users.

5. Create detailed test cases outlining step-by-step actions:

  • Develop comprehensive test cases that provide step-by-step instructions for testing the critical functionalities. These test cases should include inputs, actions to be performed, and expected outcomes. Clear and detailed test cases ensure systematic testing.

6. Execute the test cases on the modified software:

  • Run the developed test cases on the software after the recent changes have been implemented. Execute the tests precisely as outlined in the test cases to validate the functionality and behavior of the critical features.

7. Observe and document outcomes, noting any discrepancies:

  • During the test execution, carefully observe the outcomes. Compare the actual results with the expected outcomes defined in the test cases. Document any discrepancies, unexpected behaviors, or errors encountered during the testing process.

8. Communicate issues clearly to the development team:

  • Clearly and concisely communicate any issues, defects, or unexpected behaviors detected during testing to the development team. Provide detailed information about the problems encountered, including steps to reproduce the issues and any relevant logs or error messages.

9. Retest after fixes are implemented:

  • After the development team addresses the reported issues and implements fixes, retest the critical functionalities to ensure that the problems have been resolved successfully. Verify that the fixes do not introduce new issues and that the critical features now function as intended.

Sanity Testing Test Cases

Sanity Testing, a subset of regression testing, focuses on quickly validating specific critical functionalities of a software application after minor changes or bug fixes.

When creating Sanity Testing test cases, it’s essential to select a subset of test scenarios that cover these critical functionalities. These test cases are designed to ensure that the fundamental features of the application are still intact and functioning as expected, despite the recent modifications.

To create Sanity Testing test cases, start by understanding the recent changes made to the software. Identify the key areas impacted by these changes, which typically include high-priority modules or functions crucial for the software’s core functionality.

Develop test scenarios that cover these areas comprehensively. Each test case within these scenarios should outline a series of steps to validate the critical functionality, including inputs, actions, and expected outcomes.

For example, consider an e-commerce website undergoing minor changes in the checkout process. The Sanity Testing test cases might focus on functionalities such as adding items to the cart, applying discounts, entering shipping information, and completing the purchase.

Test cases would be created for each of these steps, checking if the changes have not disrupted the flow and ensuring seamless navigation through the modified checkout process.

Sanity Testing Test Cases Template

Test Case ID: [Unique Identifier for the Test Case]

Title: [Brief description of the functionality being tested]

Objective: [State the objective of the test case, e.g., to validate user login functionality after recent updates]


  • [List any prerequisites or conditions necessary for executing the test case, e.g., a registered user account exists]

Test Steps:

  1. [Detailed step-by-step action to be performed, e.g., Open the application and navigate to the login screen]
    • Expected Outcome: [What is expected to happen after this step, e.g., Login screen is displayed with input fields for username and password]
  2. [Next step in the test case, e.g., Enter valid username and password]
    • Expected Outcome: [The system accepts the credentials and moves to the next step in the process]
  3. [Continue detailing the steps, ensuring comprehensive coverage of the functionality being tested]


  • [State the expected system state after the test case execution, e.g., User is logged in and directed to the dashboard]

Pass Criteria:

  • [Specify the conditions that need to be met for the test case to be considered as passed, e.g., User successfully logs in without encountering any errors]

Fail Criteria:

  • [Define the scenarios or outcomes that indicate a failure of the test case, e.g., User is unable to log in, or error message is displayed]


  • [Any additional information, context, or special instructions relevant to the test case]

Test Data:

  • [Specify any specific test data required for the test case, e.g., valid username and password]


  • [Attach any relevant files or screenshots that support the test case, if applicable]


  • [Name of the tester executing the test case]


  • [Date when the test case is executed]


  • [Names of individuals who reviewed and approved the test case]

By following this template, you can create structured and detailed Sanity Testing test cases tailored to the specific functionalities of the software being tested.

Sanity Testing Example

Let’s delve into an example to illustrate Sanity Testing further. Suppose a social media application has recently undergone updates, particularly in user authentication and posting functionalities. In this scenario, Sanity Testing would involve creating specific test cases to validate these critical areas.

  1. Test Case 1: User Login
    • Steps:
      1. Launch the application and navigate to the login screen.
      2. Enter valid username and password.
      3. Click on the login button.
    • Expected Outcome: The user should be successfully logged in, accessing the home screen without any errors.
  2. Test Case 2: Post Creation
    • Steps:
      1. Go to the “Create Post” section.
      2. Enter text and multimedia content for the post.
      3. Click on the “Post” button.
    • Expected Outcome: The post should be created and displayed in the user’s feed without any glitches.

By executing these test cases, testers can quickly confirm if the recent updates have not adversely affected the user authentication process or disrupted the ability to create posts. This concise and focused testing approach ensures that crucial aspects of the application remain functional, providing confidence in the software’s stability despite recent changes.

Smoke vs Sanity vs Regression

Testing TypePurposeScopeTimingOutcome
Smoke TestingTo verify essential functionalities of a new build for basic stability.Broad and shallowAt the beginning of the testing processIf it fails, the build is considered unstable, halting further testing until issues are resolved.
Sanity TestingTo validate specific areas of the application after minor changes.Narrow and deepAfter Smoke Testing, providing quick feedbackHelps gain confidence that essential features are working, allowing more detailed testing to proceed.
Regression TestingTo ensure existing functionalities remain intact after new changes.Broad and in-depthThroughout the software development lifecycleEnsures existing features aren’t broken, maintaining overall stability while new features are introduced.

When we will do sanity testing?

Sanity Testing is a critical phase in the software testing lifecycle, providing a rapid yet comprehensive evaluation of the essential features of an application. It is typically conducted after minor changes, bug fixes, or enhancements to verify that the critical functionalities are still intact and working as expected. Here’s a detailed explanation of when to perform Sanity Testing, outlined in a comprehensive list format:

1. After Code Changes:

  • Scenario: Whenever there are minor changes made to the codebase, such as bug fixes or patches.
  • Reason: To confirm that recent code alterations have not negatively impacted the core functionalities of the application.

2. After Integration of Modules:

  • Scenario: Following the integration of new modules or components into the existing software.
  • Reason: To ensure that the integration process has not disrupted the essential features of the interconnected modules.

3. After Configuration Changes:

  • Scenario: When there are configuration modifications, such as changes in server settings or database configurations.
  • Reason: To validate that altered configurations have not led to the malfunctioning of crucial application components.

4. Following UI/UX Updates:

  • Scenario: After implementing changes in the user interface or user experience elements.
  • Reason: To check that the user-facing features, like buttons, navigation, or input fields, still function seamlessly and as intended.

5. Post-Patch Application:

  • Scenario: After applying patches or updates to the existing software.
  • Reason: To ensure that the patches have resolved the identified issues without breaking other critical functionalities.

6. Post-Bug Fixes:

  • Scenario: After fixing reported bugs or issues within the software.
  • Reason: To confirm that the fixes have successfully addressed the reported problems without causing regression in other areas.

7. After Performance Optimizations:

  • Scenario: Following performance optimization efforts to enhance the application’s speed and responsiveness.
  • Reason: To validate that the optimizations have not adversely affected the essential features while improving overall performance.

8. Post-Security Patch Installation:

  • Scenario: After installing security patches to address vulnerabilities.
  • Reason: To make sure that security patches have been applied without compromising the integrity of essential functionalities.

9. Before Detailed Testing Phases:

  • Scenario: Before diving into more comprehensive testing phases like regression testing or user acceptance testing.
  • Reason: To serve as a gatekeeper, ensuring that the application is stable enough to undergo more exhaustive testing procedures.

10. Before Production Deployment:

  • Scenario: Before releasing a new version or build of the software to users.
  • Reason: To provide confidence to stakeholders that the critical functionalities are intact, assuring a smoother user experience upon deployment.

Who is responsible for sanity testing?

  • Sanity Testing is typically the responsibility of the software testing team, specifically the QA (Quality Assurance) engineers or testers.
  • They are tasked with conducting Sanity Testing after minor changes or updates to ensure the critical functionalities of the software are working as expected.
  • Testers collaborate closely with developers and stakeholders to confirm the application’s stability and usability.

Sanity Testing Is Functional or Nonfunctional

  • Sanity Testing falls under the category of functional testing.
  • It focuses on verifying specific functional aspects of the software, ensuring that essential features and critical functionalities perform correctly after modifications.
  • Unlike nonfunctional testing, which assesses aspects like performance, security, or scalability, Sanity Testing concentrates on the visible and functional aspects of the application’s behavior.

What is Smoke & sanity testing with examples?

Smoke Testing:

  • Definition: Smoke Testing, also known as Build Verification Testing, is an initial test that checks whether the software build is stable enough for further, more detailed testing. It involves a quick verification of the basic functionalities to ensure that the software is ready for in-depth testing.
  • Purpose: To verify if the major and critical components of the software are functioning properly, confirming that the application can undergo more rigorous testing.
  • Example:
    1. Login Functionality: Verify if users can log into the application successfully.
    2. Homepage Display: Confirm that the main interface of the application loads without errors.
    3. Navigation: Check if basic navigation links and menus are functional.
    4. Database Connectivity: Validate that the application can connect to the database.
    5. Data Submission: Ensure that forms and data submission mechanisms are operational.

Sanity Testing:

  • Definition: Sanity Testing is a focused testing approach that verifies specific functionalities of the software after minor changes or enhancements. It aims to ensure that the recent modifications have not adversely affected the core functionalities.
  • Purpose: To validate specific areas of the application and provide quick feedback, allowing further, more detailed testing to proceed with confidence.
  • Example:
    1. User Registration: Check if users can register new accounts without encountering errors.
    2. Shopping Cart Functionality: Verify that items can be added to the cart, and the cart total calculates correctly.
    3. Payment Processing: Confirm that payment methods (e.g., credit card, PayPal) are processing transactions accurately.
    4. Search Feature: Validate that the search functionality returns relevant results.
    5. User Permissions: Ensure that users have the correct permissions based on their roles (e.g., admin, regular user).

What is Sanity and Regression Testing?

Sanity Testing is a focused and narrow form of testing that validates specific functionalities of a software application after minor changes, ensuring that core features are still operational. On the other hand, Regression Testing involves testing the entire software application to confirm that new changes have not adversely affected existing functionalities. While Sanity Testing is selective, Regression Testing is comprehensive and ensures the overall stability of the software.

Is Sanity Testing Retesting?

No, Sanity Testing is not retesting. Retesting involves re-executing test cases that previously failed to ensure that the reported issues have been fixed. In contrast, Sanity Testing is conducted on a new build or after minor changes to verify specific functionalities, not focusing on previously identified defects. It aims to validate broader aspects of the application.

Is Sanity Testing Manual or Automated?

Both manual and automated testing can be used for Sanity Testing. The choice between manual and automated testing depends on factors such as the project requirements, budget constraints, and the complexity of the functionalities being tested. Some aspects of Sanity Testing, especially those involving critical user interactions, might be well-suited for manual testing due to the need for human judgment and intuition. Meanwhile, automated testing can be efficient for repetitive and data-driven scenarios, enabling faster execution and regression testing in complex applications.

Final Word

Well, dear reader, you’ve just embarked on the delightful journey of unraveling the secrets of Sanity Testing in the realm of Software Testing! But hold on to your curiosity because the adventure has only just begun. As you’ve discovered the basics, get ready to dive deeper into the magical world of testing nuances. We’re about to uncover intriguing details, share expert tips, and explore real-world examples that will leave you in awe. So, fasten your seatbelt and keep turning those digital pages because what lies ahead is nothing short of testing wizardry. Let’s venture forth together, where testing meets its enchanting edge! Stay tuned for an exhilarating exploration!


Avinash is the Founder of Software Testing Sapiens. He is a blogger and Software Tester who has been helping people to get thier Jobs over a years Now.

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