End-To-End Testing Process Explained: Manual vs. Automated Testing

End-to-end testing involves testing the entire application from start to finish. This means testing every application component, including third-party integrations and APIs. Developers usually perform end-to-end tests. But testers can also run them for specific purposes.

You can perform end-to-end either manually or automatically. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. But it’s essential to understand each type of test and when it’s appropriate.

This article will explain the differences between manual and automated end-to-end testing. It also describes how each is performed.

What is Automated End-To-End Testing?

Automated end-to-end testing is a software development method. It relies on using software automated testing tools to perform test cases. E2E test automation is a process that helps businesses ensure their applications and services are meeting quality standards from start to finish. In automated end-to-end testing, a human tester records the test cases and automates the manual tests that take place for the entire user flow. They are then repeatedly played by the automated tool.

This allows for faster execution, repeatability, and consistency than the manual counterpart. It would help if you used automated end-to-end testing when it is not feasible to test the software manually.

For example, suppose the software is large and complex, with many input combinations. It may be impossible for a human tester to test the software thoroughly. They can’t manually enter different input values and verify the output.

Pros of Automated End-To-End Testing

Automated testing offers the following advantages:

Automated e2e testing is more thorough and accurate.

Accuracy is often a benefit of automated end-to-end testing. You can write automated tests in such a way that they cover all input combinations. This ensures that the software works as expected under all circumstances.

You can perform automated end-to-end testing more frequently.

Software updates are often pushed out quickly. And ensuring that the most recent version of an application works as expected is crucial. You can perform automated e2e testing more frequently than manual end-to-end testing. This is typically limited by how quickly human testers can complete their work.

Automated e2e testing can be more cost-effective than manual e2e testing.

Automated end-to-end testing can be more cost-effective than the manual version. This is because it requires less time and labor. It also helps to ensure that software changes don’t break existing functionality. This saves companies from troubleshooting bugs in their products after new version updates.

Cons of Automated End-To-End Testing

These are the cons of automated e2e testing:

Automated end-to-end tests are only as good as the inputs and conditions programmed into them.

A disadvantage of automated e2e testing is that it’ll work if the tests are well-written. Suppose developers don’t properly account for all conditions in their tests. They could miss essential bugs that they would have caught otherwise.

What is Manual End-To-End Testing?

Manual e2e testing lets testers manually execute test cases by interacting with the application. It differs from e2e test automation because it does not use automated tools.

Instead, manual end-to-end testing requires human intervention to run and evaluate test cases.

It is recommended to use this test when automated e2e testing may not be practical. This can include cases where the user interface is complex or frequently changes. Or it can be where it is challenging to create accurate and reliable test cases.

Pros of Manual End-To-End Testing

The pros of manual e2e testing include the following:

Allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of the software

With manual end-to-end testing, testers can perform a more thorough evaluation of the software. This is especially important when the software being tested presents complex user interfaces. Or when it works with large amounts of data.

It can be easily adapted to changes in the software or testing requirements.

Manual e2e testing is also easy to adapt to software changes or testing requirements. It lets testers identify and correct issues with their test cases quickly. This way, there’s no need for lengthy rework cycles that may occur when using automated testing tools.

Can provide valuable insights and feedback from a human perspective

Human beings will use your software. You need to understand how people will use your software and what they expect from it. Manual end-to-end testing provides insights into your software’s usability.

Cons of Manual End-To-End Testing

The cons of manual end-to-end testing include the following:

Manual e2e testing is subject to human error.

You want to ensure that your software is as bug-free as possible. Manual e2e testing is subject to the human element, which is unreliable. People can make mistakes or misinterpret requirements. This leads to errors in testing that could cause problems down the road.

Manual end-to-end testing can be challenging to repeat consistently.

Software testers must be able to repeat their tests consistently. But it can be difficult if it’s a manual process. Suppose you have a manual test procedure that takes several hours to complete. And suppose your testers are unavailable for two weeks. How will you ensure that the system still works?


The end-to-end testing process ensures a software system’s quality and functionality. Both manual and automated e2e testing have advantages and disadvantages. So, the decision of which method to use ultimately depends on the specific needs and goals of the project. The best approach is often to use a combination of both manual and automated end-to-end testing. This will maximize the benefits of both methods.

About the author

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Benjamin Noah

Benjamin is a professional blogger and marketer, who frequently writes about custom packaging, technologies, news and health to help businesses understand and adapt new ways to reach and inspire their target audience.