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Test Environments Unraveled: Essential Best Practices

Author: The MuukTest Team

Last updated: July 15, 2024

test environment
Table of Contents

A test environment is a software application that simulates the production environment to test new applications, patches, or updates. Some test environments are elementary, and you can set them up on your desktop with an emulated server. Others require more complex hardware setups.

You should configure the test environment as closely as possible to the production environment for test results to be accurate and reliable. Follow the best practices when setting up your software testing environments to ensure they are practical and efficient.


What Is A Test Environment? Why Does It Matter?

A test environment is a replica of the production environment where developers or QA testers can test the software and verify its quality before release. The test environment should include all components and configurations used in production. 

A test environment should ensure that all team members can access the test environment so they can perform proper testing. You need to create a system to distribute software builds and configurations within the test environment. 

The system should also include automated tests that run every time developers make a change to the code base. This will ensure quality control of any changes made by developers or testers. Here are the key elements of a proper test environment: 

  • Server hardware and software
  • Network configuration
  • Database configuration
  • Web server(s)
  • Application test environment
  • Networking and security configuration (if any)
  • Test data
  • Tools and utilities

Any test environment should be set up in a way that is similar to the production infrastructure but separate from it. The test server(s) and software components should match those of the production servers and software components as closely as possible. This will help to ensure accurate test results.

It’s essential to set this up because many different software components are involved in running a web application. When you use the same environment for testing and production, you can ensure that everything works correctly before it goes live.


Different Types Of Software Testing

There are many different types of software testing. But here are some popular ones:


Unit Testing 

Test units of source code to verify that they operate correctly. The goal is to ensure each unit functions properly in isolation from the rest of the program. This type of testing typically targets modules or classes, not an entire application.


Integration Testing 

Testing how individual modules work together. Developers prefer conducting this test after unit testing and before system testing. The goal is to find problems that occur when the system combines different modules.


System Testing 

Testing the entire application against a set of requirements or use cases. You can do this manually or with automated tools. The goal is to ensure that the application meets requirements and works as expected.


Acceptance Testing 

Also known as functional testing, this type of testing verifies whether or not an application satisfies user needs and fits business goals. You can also do this manually or through automated tools like Selenium Webdriver. 

Software developers usually create Black box (functional) test cases based on specifications, typically features and requirements. This type of testing also goes by the name of compliance testing.


Regression Testing 

Testing to ensure that previously fixed bugs have not been reintroduced into the application through new code changes or updates. After completing other tests, the dev team usually applies regression tests to ensure that changes are backward compatible.



Creating A Test Environment & Software Testing Plan For Your Application


creating a test environment


When creating a test environment for your software application, it’s essential to plan out what you need in advance. This will help ensure that you have set up the test environment correctly and that it meets all of your testing needs. 

Create a process for testing new code changes or updates before they go live in production. This will help prevent regression bugs from being introduced into the application after you’ve completed other types of tests (unit, integration, system).

Consider your test environment maintenance requirements. You’ll need to ensure that you’ve installed new software updates or hardware configurations before you begin testing again in the future. 

If this will be an issue for your team, consider setting up a different server just for dev/test purposes. Alternatively, you can use virtualization technology to simplify these processes.

Determine if you need to isolate your test environment or whether it can connect directly to production servers. Isolated environments are easier to secure and maintain but require more time for testing changes. That’s because the new code must be pushed through an additional server first before it goes live in production (assuming that you’ll do this type of regression testing regularly as you release new code). 

If your test environment is connected to production servers, you’ll need to ensure that the proper security measures are in place for this type of testing.

You can use Docker containers to simplify this process and create an isolated test environment without switching back and forth between servers.


Some Best Practices For Software Testing

Creating a software testing environment is essential for any organization that wants to ensure the quality of its software applications. By setting up a proper test environment, you’ll be able to run the appropriate tests and identify and fix defects early in the development process.

However, testing a software application can be a tricky thing. You need a test environment designed to meet the needs of your testing effort. This includes running the correct type of tests and having all of the necessary hardware and software on hand to do so. 

Setting up a proper test environment takes some time and effort. But following some techniques will help ensure that it’s as straightforward as possible. Here are a few key best practices to keep in mind when setting up your software testing environment:

  • Define the goals of your testing effort. What do you want to achieve with your tests?
  • Identify the types of testing that will be needed. Unit, integration, system, acceptance, regression – these are the most common types.
  • Determine the scope of your testing. Which parts of the application will be tested?
  • Create test cases or scenarios based on requirements or features.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary hardware and setup to support your test environment.
  • Identify the necessary networking configuration, if any. Consider security issues as well. 
  • Plan for scalability – your test environment should be able to handle growing volumes of traffic and data.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date software to support your testing needs.
  • Ensure that the test environment is properly networked among all dev team members.
  • Create a process for regularly testing code changes before they go live in production.
  • Isolate the test environment whenever possible.
  • Regularly update your test environment to reflect new software and hardware configurations.

Following these best practices will help ensure a smooth and successful software testing experience.


Bottom Line

Setting up a test environment is vital for any company that wants to test the quality of its software applications. The key best practices are outlined above, and following them will help you avoid costly regression bugs down the road. 

From test environments that are isolated or connected to production servers, it’s essential to set one up. That way, your team can test their new code changes before they go live in production. By taking time now to decide what type of software testing environment you’ll need, you won’t have an issue later when figuring out how this should be done effectively!