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What is Grey-Box Testing Method?

Grey-box testing is a method used in testing application by means of having a limited understanding of the internal workings of an application. In software testing, the phrase the more you know, the better carries a lot of weight while testing an application.

Mastering the domain of a system always gives the tester an upper hand over someone with limited domain understanding. Contrasting to black-box testing, where the tester only tests the application's user interface; in grey-box testing, the tester has access to design documents and the database. Knowing this understanding, a tester can prepare better test data and test scenarios while making a test plan.


1. Offers collective benefits of black-box and white-box testing wherever possible.

2. Grey box testers don't depend on the source code; instead they depend on interface description and functional specifications.

3. Based on the limited information obtainable, a grey-box tester can design excellent test scenarios particularly around communication protocols and data type handling.

4. The test is conducted from the opinion of the user and not the designer.


1. Given that the access to source code is not accessible, the ability to examine the code and test coverage is limited.

2. The tests can be unnecessary if the software designer has already run a test case.

3. Testing every possible input stream is unworkable because it would take an irrational amount of time; thus, many program paths will go untested.

Comparisons between Black-Box Testing, Grey-Box Testing and White-Box Testing Methods

1. The interior workings of an application need not be known when using Black-Box testing method while the tester has limited understanding of the internal mechanism of the application when using Grey-Box testing method and tester has full understanding of the interior workings of the application when using White-Box testing method.

2. Black-Box testing is also called close-box testing, data-driven testing or functional testing while Grey-Box testing is also known as translucent testing, as the tester has limited understanding of the interiors of the application and White-Box Testing is regarded as clear-box testing, structural testing, or code-based testing.

3. Black-Box and Grey-Box testing are conducted by the end-users and also by testers and developers while White-Box testing is generally performed by testers and developers.

4. Black-Box testing is based on exterior expectations - Internal behavior of the application is unknown while Grey-Box testing is conducted on the base of high-level database diagrams and data flow diagrams and White-Box testing is done based on full knowledge of internal workings and the tester can design test data consequently.

5. Black-Box testing is thorough and the least time-consuming while Grey-Box testing is partly time-consuming and thorough whereas White-Box testing is the most extensive and prolonged type of testing.

6. Black-Box and Grey-Box testing are not suited for algorithm testing while White-Box testing is suited for algorithm testing.

7. Black-Box can only be conducted by trial-and-error process while Grey-Box testing data domains and internal boundaries can be tested, if known whereas White-Box testing data domains and internal boundaries can be better tested.


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