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What is a Beta Release?

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A beta release is a version of a product, service, process, system or document that is released to customers on a limited basis with the warning that the release is experimental or potentially unstable.

Open vs Closed

An open beta is available to all customers. A closed beta is only available to a subset of customers. This may be done to minimize the impact if something should go wrong. Alternatively, a business may perform a wide variety of beta versions concurrently with different sets of customers to test the effectiveness of each release.

Candidates vs Releases

Releases are typically tested in a phase known as beta testing that may be initially closed to customers. Such versions are known as beta candidates. As such, the term beta release indicates that customers currently have access to the release.
Overview: Beta Release
A version of a product, service, process, system or document that is undergoing testing by customers. Typically released without warranty with the explicit warning that the release is unstable and experimental.
Allows teams to get working versions in front of customers as quickly as possible so that they may be improved using customer feedback and hardening by exposure to real world conditions.
Beta releases are effective when the risks associated with an unstable product, service, process or system are acceptable. For example, you wouldn't typically release a beta version of something with health & safety risks such as an aircraft or vehicle.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about testing.
Acceptance Criteria
Acceptance Testing
Beta Release
Compliance Testing
Conformance Testing
Defect Density
Document Testing
Dry Run
Operational Testing
Performance Testing
Regression Testing
Sanity Testing
Test Cases
More ...
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