What Is Backend Testing? A Detailed Guide

What is the Backend Testing?

Backend testing ensures the smooth functioning of your application on the server side and guarantees the quality of the database.

When we input data on the front end, it gets stored in the backend using databases such as MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.

Backend testing verifies that the data we input is correctly stored and retrieved from the database, ensuring its proper and timely management.

Backend testing diagrammatical representation.

Types of backend testing

#1) Structural Testing:

  • Think of it as checking the backbone of the system. Structural testing looks at things behind the scenes, like tables, keys, columns, and other technical stuff that users don’t directly interact with.

#2) Functional Testing:

  • This is about making sure that when you ask the system to do something, like finding the price of a product on an online store, it connects correctly with the information in the background and gives you the right answer.

#3) Non-Functional Testing:

  • Non-functional testing is like testing how well the system performs under pressure. It’s about making sure the database can handle unexpected loads without slowing down. This includes checking for security to ensure your information is safe and sound. It’s like ensuring the system can run a marathon without tripping.

 Tools categories:

  1. Postman: The industry-standard for API testing, offering a user-friendly interface, powerful scripting, and excellent collaboration features.
  2. Selenium: Open-source automation framework for web app testing that supports multiple browsers and languages and is ideal for complex backend interactions.
  3. JMeter: Robust performance testing tool for analyzing load, stress, and functional behavior under high user traffic.
  4. SoapUI: Specialized tool for testing SOAP and REST APIs, offering efficient test case creation, execution, and reporting.
  5. Katalon Studio: All-in-one test automation platform that supports web, API, mobile, and desktop testing with a user-friendly interface and scripting capabilities.
  6. Appium: Open-source framework for mobile app testing, extending Selenium’s capabilities to native and hybrid applications.
  7. Cypress: Powerful JavaScript-based test automation framework for web apps, emphasizing developer friendliness and easy integration with CI/CD pipelines.
  8. Puppeteer: Node.js library for controlling Chrome or Chromium headless browsers, ideal for automated browser testing and scraping.
  9. RestAssured: Java library for streamlined API testing, providing concise syntax and integration with JUnit and RESTful services.
  10. Gatling: Open-source performance testing tool with a powerful Scala-based core, offering high accuracy and ease of customization.

Importance of Backend Testing

  • Guarantees data integrity and security: By verifying data storage, retrieval, and manipulation, backend testing safeguards sensitive information from corruption and unauthorized access.
  • Optimizes performance and scalability: Testing ensures efficient resource utilization, preventing crashes and sluggishness even under peak load, crucial for reliable user experiences.
  • Bolsters application stability and reliability: Proactive identification and mitigation of server-side vulnerabilities and logic errors minimizes downtime and unexpected outages, fostering user trust and confidence.
  • Reduces development costs and accelerates time-to-market: Early detection and resolution of backend issues prevents costly downstream fixes and delays, significantly improving project efficiency.

Backend testing test cases

Grey Box Testing Approach:

    • Utilize a grey box testing approach, assessing both the functional and internal workings of the backend.

Data Mapping Sheet:

    • Implement a data mapping sheet to streamline database testing, ensuring efficient verification of data storage and retrieval.

Column Value Verification:

    • Verify the values in each column, ensuring accuracy and consistency.

Operation Log Addition:

    • Test the addition of operation logs, confirming proper recording of backend activities.

Numeric Field Assessment:

    • Evaluate numeric fields with both negative values, assessing responses for both acceptance and non-acceptance.

Database Commitment Check:

    • Confirm that data is appropriately committed to the database after any operations.

Index Creation and Testing:

  • Create and test table indexes to ensure optimal database performance.

Functionality of Buttons:

    • Validate that all functionalities of buttons and drop-downs are accurately saved in the database.

Database Design and Length:

    • Assess databases for correct design and length, aligning with specified requirements.

Stored Procedure Validation:

    • Test stored procedures with relevant data to ensure correct execution and outcomes.

Null Values in Primary Key:

    • Check whether null values are appropriately handled in primary key columns.

Table Constraints Verification:

    • Verify that table constraints are functioning as intended, maintaining data integrity.

Pros of Backend Testing

  • Helps you test databases, servers, and API.
  • It detects bugs at an early stage, thus reducing the cost of fixing them.
  •  Help you test your application more comprehensively, providing you complete control over the test coverage.
  • Evade deadlock and data loss issues.
  • Enhances the system’s functional constancy and sturdiness.
  • Enhances data quality.

Cons of Backend Testing

  • To conduct manual backend testing, you are required to have deep database knowledge.
  •  It can add to your organizational cost.

Backend Testing Validation Mechanism:

Backend Testing includes validating Keys and Indexes, Sequence testing, data integrity testing, Stored procedures testing, Database server validations, Functions testing, Performance check, Database tables, Triggers, etc.

Skills Required For Backend Testing:

Skills Required for Backend Testing:

  1. Database Knowledge:

    • Understanding of database concepts, SQL queries, and database management systems (DBMS).
  2. API Testing:

    • Proficiency in testing APIs, including request and response validation.
  3. Programming Skills:

    • Knowledge of programming languages such as Java, Python, or others used in backend development.
  4. Data Mapping:

    • Ability to create and understand data mapping sheets for effective database testing.
  5. Grey Box Testing:

    • Familiarity with grey box testing methodologies, assessing both functional and internal aspects.
  6. SQL Proficiency:

    • Strong skills in writing and executing SQL queries for data verification and validation.
  7. Test Automation:

    • Experience in test automation tools for backend testing, such as Postman or RestAssured.
  8. Web Services Testing:

    • Understanding of web services and testing methodologies for backend systems.
  9. Backend Architecture:

    • Knowledge of backend architecture and how different components interact.
  10. Scripting Languages:

    • Familiarity with scripting languages for test automation and backend scripting tasks.
  11. Performance Testing:

    • Ability to conduct performance testing to ensure backend scalability and responsiveness.
  12. Security Testing:

  13. Analytical Skills:

    • Strong analytical skills to identify issues and troubleshoot backend functionalities.

Backend Testing Elements:

  1. Database Testing:

    • Assessing the correctness and efficiency of data storage and retrieval.
  2. API Testing:

    • Verifying the functionality and performance of application programming interfaces.
  3. Data Integrity:

    • Ensuring the accuracy, consistency, and reliability of data within the backend.
  4. SQL Queries:

    • Crafting and executing SQL queries for data validation and manipulation.
  5. Server-Side Logic:

  6. Performance Testing:

    • Evaluating the scalability, speed, and responsiveness of the backend under various loads.
  7. Security Testing:

    • Identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities to ensure data security.
  8. Backend Architecture:

    • Understanding and validating the overall structure and components of the backend.
  9. Logging and Auditing:

    • Verifying the proper recording of operation logs and auditing functionalities.
  10. Error Handling:

    • Testing the system’s response and error-handling mechanisms.
  11. Data Migration:

  12. Integration Testing:

    • Ensuring seamless interaction and communication between various backend components.
  13. Concurrency and Transactions:

    • Testing how the system handles concurrent transactions and maintains data consistency.
  14. Caching Mechanisms:

    • Verifying the efficiency and correctness of data caching mechanisms.
  15. Compatibility Testing:

    • Ensuring compatibility with different databases, environments, and configurations.

Backend Database Testing

The database is an important part of your application. Seamless interaction between the GUI and the database is very important for the proper functioning of your application.

Any kind of discrepancy can cause performance bottlenecks and security issues. Hence, backend database testing is the most important. 

How to do Backend Testing?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to backend testing:

1. Planning and Analysis:

  • Gather requirements: Understand the backend’s functionalities and interactions with other components.
  • Identify test scope: Determine what areas to focus on based on business priorities and risk assessment.
  • Choose testing tools: Select appropriate tools aligned with your needs and environment.

2. Test Case Design:

  • Create test cases: Cover diverse scenarios, including positive, negative, boundary value, and error conditions.
  • Cover different testing types: Incorporate functional, integration, security, performance, and API testing.

3. Test Environment Setup:

  • Configure environment: Replicate the production environment or use a staging server as closely as possible.
  • Set up test data: Prepare relevant data sets, ensuring privacy and security compliance.

4. Test Execution:

  • Execute test cases: Run planned tests manually or using automation tools.
  • Log results: Document test outcomes, including any errors, issues, or unexpected behaviors.

5. Defect Reporting and Analysis:

  • Report defects: Clearly document any issues found, providing steps to reproduce and expected vs. actual results.
  • Prioritize fixes: Collaborate with developers to address defects based on severity and impact.

6. Retesting and Regression Testing:

  • Retest fixed defects: Verify that issues have been resolved effectively.
  • Conduct regression testing: Ensure changes haven’t introduced new problems in previously working areas.

7. Test Closure and Reporting:

  • Summarize results: compile test outcomes, metrics, and recommendations in a comprehensive report.
  • Identify areas for improvement: Analyze the findings to enhance testing processes and backend quality.

Additional Tips:

  • Involve stakeholders: Keep developers, testers, and business analysts informed throughout the process.
  • Prioritize automation: Automate repetitive tasks to save time, reduce errors, and enable continuous testing.
  • Integrate with CI/CD: Integrate backend testing into continuous integration and delivery pipelines for efficient feedback loops.
  • Adapt testing strategies: Stay updated with evolving technologies and best practices to ensure effective backend testing.

For example, if we consider a train ticket booking website, it asks users to create their profile and also uses various online payment methods to book train tickets.

These websites use backend testing to ensure the highest level of security and efficient working. The process ensures that profile information like name, address, payment method, etc. is stored in their designated database tables, and no information is missed.

A proper test should be carried out to ensure that the data are timely and correctly retrieved. For all monetary transactions, ACID properties should be properly tested. 

Common practices while performing backend testing

  • Test early; it helps reduce fixing costs considerably
  • Focus on test coverage to test the system thoroughly.
  • Try to keep yourself at bay with issues like deadlock and data loss.
  • Focus on the application’s functional stability and robustness.

How to deal with common mistakes in backend testing:

While performing the process, many testers generally make a few mistakes to reduce the testing cost. Dealing with such issues is very important. Here is how 

  1. Inadequate testing approach

it is not very easy and requires good knowledge of databases. If your team is not very skilled and efficient, they might end up doing only black-box testing, which can lead to inadequate coverage and leave many bugs undetected.

Hence, always rely on an experienced and skilled backend tester who has a good knowledge of databases, can accurately cover the test cases, and can also perform white box testing.

So, your solution is to hire an experienced backend tester.

  1. Depending on the simulated data

To save time and effort, testers often depend on simulated data for testing; this can lead to many bugs being unidentified. Hence, it is always advised to use more realistic data, which can save you a lot of time in finding bugs at a later stage and fixing them.

  1. Randomly picking up automation tools

Companies often pick up any automation tool without realizing the cost it can incur in the future. To save costs, they often pick free tools that might not be suitable for their testing requirements. Such scenarios can lead to unrealized costs in later stages. Hence, it is advisable to make a wise choice about your automation tool.

Focus areas when testing a database in backend testing

While testing a database, apart from checking the connections and the security, here are the other things that must be included in your tests.

  1. Validating the schema: schema mapping is how the objects in the UI are related to the database. They help store and retrieve data values from one function or module to another. It is important to check that each object in the UI is mapped to the correct data in dB.
  2. Database tables: the data in a dB is arranged in tables; it is important to check that the data is stored in the correct tables with the expected key value and is also under access control as per the requirements.
  3. Columns: checking the columns would include checking the data types, the length of data it can take, and even the mapping between primary and foreign keys.
  4. Key and index: Indexing and keys help to retrieve the data faster from a huge database and are especially true for big data or Hadoop, which deals with huge data. In testing, you check the index and keys to ensure you can fetch the required data in less time.
  5. Stored Procedures: Simply put, a stored procedure is a set of SQL queries that can be saved and run in a sequence to achieve the required operation. These stored procedures need to be tested with different combinations of input parameters to confirm the viability of these procedures.
  6. Triggers: Triggers are actions performed on the table when any add, edit, delete or truncate operation is performed on the dB. For testing these triggers, the SQL query in the trigger is executed standalone, and the results are noted down. Next, the trigger is executed as a set, and the results are compared with the standalone results.
  7. Database server validations: The validations at the server level mainly deal with security and access control as per the business needs. Some fields in the dB should be read-only, some should be accessible only for a certain user group, some others may be a one-time edit, and so on. This business logic for a server needs to be tested thoroughly.
  8. Data duplications: As the name suggests, tests need to be performed to ensure there is no data duplication. Duplicate data not only creates confusion during the data update but could also lead to incorrect results and more burden on the dB. It is very important to avoid these duplications.
  9. Data masking: Some data needs to be masked, as these would be related to the personal information of the customers or some other very secure data. It is very important to check that while saving and retrieving these data, they are masked and cannot be accessed by unauthorized personnel at any level. In many cases, even legal action can be taken if data masking is done and the information gets leaked out.

API Backend Testing

In the most simple terms, an API is an interface that offers some sort of service to another application or software. API testing is also a form of backend testing since we do not need a UI to test these, and they are triggered when one or more actions are performed on the UI.

For testing the API, we need to know the endpoints where these APIs hit when called, the expected response code, the number of retries, and the error message returned for an unsuccessful call. All these parameters are tested as part of the API.

Some tools commonly used for API automation and testing are:

  • SoapUI
  • JMeter
  • Postman
  • REST Assured
  1. Poor communication

Communication is an important factor while conducting backend testing. There should be an open and free flow of communication between the team so that testers have a clear picture of what changes and additions are made to the database. Poor communication can lead to testers missing many test cases that could have evolved with the changes in the database, hence leading to inadequate testing.

Challenges in Performing the process

  • Testing scope

Testing the backend involves databases that are often very vast. Getting a clear insight into these databases and gathering requirements to build test cases can be a daunting task, especially when databases are very big.

  • Short test database

When an application is passed on to the testers for testing, the data in the database is generally very small. It is sufficient only to execute the application. Hence, it becomes a challenge for the testers to test the application.

  • Changes in database structure

Changes in databases are very frequent. But it throws a big challenge to the testers testing the application. Supposedly, they have prepared the test cases and are executing them as per their designed test plan and test cases, and in the middle, there is a database change, which can create many challenges for the tester. So with every structural change in the database, the testers must modify their test cases to ensure proper testing. Not only that, they will also have to rework the test data.

  • Running multiple test cases simultaneously

Another big challenge in the process is that you cannot run multiple test cases simultaneously, as it can decrease the performance of your application and can underrate its performance.

  • Complex test plans

It is a complex task to deal with complex databases. Hence, it involves complex test plans. It should be ensured to keep test plans as simple as you can.

  • Good understanding of SQL

The process requires you to have a good understanding of SQL, which can help in proper and accurate testing.

How is backend testing different from front-end testing?

Backend Testing

Front-end Testing

1.       It is performed on the database or servers

1. It is always performed on the application GUI

1.       To test the backend, a tester must have good knowledge of SQL, dB connections, and database fundamentals

2.  To test the front end, the tester needs to know the business and functionality of the application.

2.      There should be sufficient data in the database before the testing can be done

3. It can be performed with the minimum amount of data in the system.

3.      No GUI is required to perform a backend test

4. GUI is mandatory to perform frontend tests.

4.      Types of backend tests are SQL tests, dB tests, API tests, etc

5. Types of frontend testing are functional tests, unit tests, regression tests, smoke tests, etc.

5.      The main aim is to check the integrity of data to see if it is stored correctly, accessible as per need, any loss, etc.

6. The main aim is to verify the functionality of the application as customers would use it.


Through backend testing, you can check the ACID properties, schema, etc. The most astounding feature of back-end testing is that you don’t require the help of a GUI. You can directly inject data into the database with the help of a browser.

Database testing also helps in testing the business logic of an app. If you wish to know more about why your app needs it and how it’s beneficial from a business perspective, you can talk to us.