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Top Free API Testing Tools in 2024

Explore the top 15 free automated API testing tools of 2024 to help you find the perfect fit for your API testing needs
Top Free API Testing Tools in 2024

API testing is crucial for ensuring the functionality , reliability and performance of your APIs. In this blog we have compiled a list of the top 15 free API testing tools, each with detailed information on their features, pros and cons, pricing, and recommended use cases. Additionally, we've provided a comparative table to help you choose the best tool for your needs.

1. Postman

Postman is a comprehensive API development and testing tool widely used for creating, testing, and documenting APIs. It offers a user-friendly interface and a rich set of features that streamline the API development lifecycle.

Features

  • Collections: Organize API requests into collections for easy access and management.
  • Environment Variables: Use variables to manage environments such as development, staging, and production.
  • Testing and Automation: Built-in tools for writing tests and automating workflows using the Postman Collection Runner.
  • Mock Servers: Create mock servers to simulate API responses.
  • Documentation: Generate and publish API documentation.
  • Collaboration: Share collections, environments, and APIs with team members.

Pros

  • User-Friendly: Intuitive interface with drag-and-drop features.
  • Comprehensive: Extensive support for various API types (REST, SOAP, GraphQL).
  • Community and Support: Large user community and comprehensive documentation.
  • Integration: Integrates with CI/CD pipelines, version control systems, and other tools.

Cons

  • Performance: Can be resource-intensive, especially with large collections.
  • Learning Curve: Advanced features may require a learning curve for new users.
  • Limited Free Tier: Some advanced features are available only in the paid versions.

Pricing

  • Free: Basic features, suitable for individual developers and small projects.
  • Paid Plans: Start at $12/user/month, offering additional collaboration and enterprise features.

Postman is ideal for developers, QA engineers, and teams of all sizes looking for a robust tool to streamline their API development and testing workflows.

2. SoapUI

SoapUI, developed by SmartBear, is a versatile API testing tool specifically designed for testing SOAP and REST APIs. It provides powerful features for functional testing, load testing, and security testing.

Features

  • Functional Testing: Create and execute automated functional tests for APIs.
  • Load Testing: Simulate high loads on APIs to test their performance under stress.
  • Security Testing: Identify vulnerabilities in APIs using built-in security testing tools.
  • Mock Services: Create mock services to simulate API responses.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Use external data sources to drive API tests.
  • Extensibility: Supports Groovy scripting for custom test scripts and plugins.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Testing: Supports functional, performance, and security testing.
  • Extensive Protocol Support: Works well with SOAP, REST, and various other protocols.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Robust data-driven testing capabilities.
  • Enterprise Features: Offers advanced features for large-scale testing needs.

Cons

  • Complex UI: The interface can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Resource-Intensive: Can be slow with complex projects and large datasets.
  • Steep Learning Curve: Requires time to master all its features and functionalities.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source version with basic features.
  • Pro Version: Starts at $759/year, offering additional features like enhanced reporting and data-driven testing.

SoapUI is best suited for QA engineers and testers who need a comprehensive tool for thorough API testing, especially for SOAP services.

3. Hoppscotch

Hoppscotch (formerly known as Postwoman) is a lightweight, open-source API request builder. It offers a fast, minimalistic approach to testing APIs, making it a favorite among developers looking for a quick and efficient tool.

Features

  • Request Building: Easily create and manage API requests.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Share requests and responses with team members in real-time.
  • Environment Variables: Manage multiple environments for different stages of API development.
  • WebSocket Support: Test WebSocket connections alongside HTTP requests.
  • Open Source: Completely open-source, with a growing community of contributors.

Pros

  • Speed: Fast and responsive interface.
  • Simplicity: Easy to use with minimal setup required.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Shareable links for collaborative testing.
  • Free and Open-Source: Entirely free with no hidden costs.

Cons

  • Limited Features: Less comprehensive than some other tools like Postman or SoapUI.
  • Basic Testing Capabilities: Lacks advanced testing and automation features.
  • Smaller Community: Growing but still smaller compared to more established tools.

Pricing

  • Free: Fully open-source and free to use with all features.

Hoppscotch is ideal for developers looking for a fast, simple, and collaborative API testing tool without the need for extensive features.

4. Insomnia

Insomnia is a powerful REST and GraphQL client designed for testing and debugging APIs. Its clean UI and advanced functionality make it a strong contender among API testing tools.

Features

  • Request Management: Organize requests into workspaces and folders.
  • Environment Variables: Use variables to manage different environments.
  • GraphQL Support: Full support for testing GraphQL APIs.
  • Scripting: Use JavaScript to create custom request scripts.
  • Plugins: Extend functionality with community-created plugins.
  • Response Handling: Visualize and manage API responses with ease.

Pros

  • Clean UI: User-friendly interface that is easy to navigate.
  • Advanced Features: Supports GraphQL, environment variables, and scripting.
  • Extensible: Plugin support for extended functionality.
  • Cross-Platform: Available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Some features may take time to master.
  • Performance: Can be slow with very large datasets or complex requests.
  • Limited Free Features: Some advanced features require a paid plan.

Pricing

  • Free: Basic features suitable for most individual developers.
  • Plus Plan: $5/month for additional features like synchronization and sharing.
  • Teams Plan: $12/user/month for team collaboration features.

Insomnia is recommended for developers and testers who need a clean, powerful tool for testing REST and GraphQL APIs, with the flexibility to extend its capabilities through plugins and scripting.

5. JMeter

Apache JMeter is an open-source tool primarily designed for load testing and performance measurement of web applications and APIs. It's a robust solution for testing the scalability and reliability of APIs under different conditions.

Features

  • Load Testing: Simulate heavy loads on APIs and web applications.
  • Functional Testing: Supports functional testing of APIs.
  • Protocol Support: Works with HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SOAP, JDBC, and more.
  • Extensibility: Extend with plugins for additional functionality.
  • Scripting: Supports scripting in BeanShell, Groovy, and Java.
  • Reporting: Detailed test reports and visualizations.

Pros

  • Scalability: Ideal for large-scale load testing scenarios.
  • Flexibility: Supports a wide range of protocols and testing scenarios.
  • Extensive Community: Large user base and active development community.
  • Free and Open-Source: No cost for full functionality.

Cons

  • Complex Setup: Requires configuration and setup, which can be complex.
  • Steep Learning Curve: Advanced features and scripting require expertise.
  • UI: The interface can be outdated and less user-friendly compared to newer tools.

Pricing

  • Free: Completely free and open-source.

JMeter is best suited for QA engineers and performance testers who need a powerful, flexible tool for load testing and performance analysis of APIs.

6. RestAssured

RestAssured is a Java-based library specifically designed for testing RESTful APIs. It simplifies the process of testing APIs by providing a domain-specific language (DSL) for writing tests.

Features

  • DSL: Fluent API for writing readable and maintainable tests.
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrates with Java testing frameworks like JUnit and TestNG.
  • Authentication: Supports various authentication mechanisms (OAuth, Basic, Digest).
  • JSON and XML Support: Easily parse and validate JSON and XML responses.
  • Schema Validation: Validate responses against predefined schemas.
  • Custom Filters: Create custom filters for logging and request/response manipulation.

Pros

  • Readable Tests: DSL makes tests easy to read and write.
  • Java Integration: Ideal for Java developers using familiar testing frameworks.
  • Comprehensive: Supports a wide range of HTTP operations and validations.
  • Community Support: Active community and extensive documentation.

Cons

  • Java Dependency: Requires knowledge of Java and its ecosystem.
  • Setup: Initial setup and configuration can be complex.
  • Limited GUI: No graphical interface; entirely code-based.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source library available for free.

RestAssured is recommended for Java developers and testers who prefer writing API tests within their existing Java testing frameworks.

7. Karate

Karate is an open-source testing framework that combines API testing, performance testing, and UI automation. It uses a simple syntax to define tests, making it accessible for non-developers as well.

Features

  • Unified Testing: Combines API, performance, and UI testing.
  • DSL: Easy-to-read syntax for writing tests.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Supports data-driven test scenarios.
  • Mocking: Built-in support for creating mock APIs.
  • Integration: Integrates with CI/CD pipelines and other testing tools.
  • Parallel Execution: Run tests in parallel to save time.

Pros

  • Unified Approach: One tool for multiple types of testing.
  • Easy Syntax: Accessible for testers without coding experience.
  • Performance Testing: Built-in support for load and performance testing.
  • Community and Support: Active development and support community.

Cons

  • Java Requirement: Requires Java knowledge for advanced features.
  • Resource Usage: Can be resource-intensive with large test suites.
  • Learning Curve: Some advanced features may have a learning curve.

Pricing

  • Free: Completely free and open-source.

Karate is ideal for teams looking for a unified testing tool that simplifies API, performance, and UI testing with an easy-to-use syntax.

8. PyRestTest

PyRestTest is a simple, extensible, and Python-based REST API testing tool. It allows for easy definition of test cases and integration with other Python-based tools and frameworks.

Features

  • Test Case Definition: Define test cases using YAML or JSON.
  • Assertions: Use built-in assertions for validating responses.
  • Extensible: Easily extendable with custom Python scripts.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Supports data-driven tests.
  • Integration: Integrates with Python testing frameworks like pytest.

Pros

  • Simple Setup: Easy to get started with minimal setup.
  • Extensible: Highly extensible with custom Python code.
  • Readable Tests: YAML/JSON test definitions are easy to read and write.
  • Community Support: Active community and extensive documentation.

Cons

  • Python Dependency: Requires knowledge of Python.
  • Basic Features: Lacks some advanced features found in other tools.
  • Limited GUI: No graphical interface; entirely code-based.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source and free to use.

PyRestTest is recommended for Python developers looking for a simple and extensible tool for testing REST APIs.

9. Swagger

Swagger (now part of the OpenAPI Initiative) is a suite of tools for designing, building, and documenting APIs. Swagger provides tools for creating API specifications and testing them.

Features

  • API Documentation: Create interactive API documentation.
  • API Design: Design APIs using the OpenAPI Specification.
  • Mocking: Generate mock servers based on API specifications.
  • Code Generation: Generate client and server code in various languages.
  • Testing: Test APIs using Swagger Inspector.

Pros

  • Comprehensive: Covers the entire API lifecycle from design to testing.
  • Interactive Documentation: Easy to use and share API documentation.
  • Code Generation: Speeds up development with automatic code generation.
  • Community and Support: Large community and extensive resources.

Cons

  • Complexity: Can be complex to set up and use initially.
  • Limited Testing Features: Primary focus on design and documentation; testing features are basic.
  • Learning Curve: Requires time to learn and utilize all features effectively.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source tools available.
  • Pro Plans: Pricing varies for additional features and enterprise support.

Swagger is ideal for API designers and developers who need a comprehensive toolset for designing, documenting, and testing APIs.

10. Katalon Studio

Katalon Studio is an all-in-one test automation solution for API, web, mobile, and desktop applications. It provides a robust platform for creating and executing automated tests.

Features

  • Multi-Platform Testing: Supports web, mobile, desktop, and API testing.
  • Built-In Keywords: Extensive library of built-in keywords for test automation.
  • Data-Driven Testing: Easily create data-driven tests using external data sources.
  • CI/CD Integration: Integrates with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Git, and Azure DevOps.
  • Test Management: Comprehensive test management and reporting features.

Pros

  • Comprehensive Tool: Covers multiple testing needs in one platform.
  • User-Friendly: Intuitive interface with minimal coding required.
  • Community and Support: Active community and extensive documentation.
  • Free Tier: Generous free tier with essential features.

Cons

  • Resource-Intensive: Can be slow with large test suites.
  • Limited Customization: Some advanced customizations require scripting.
  • Learning Curve: Requires time to master all features and functionalities.

Pricing

  • Free: Basic features available for free.
  • Enterprise Plan: Starts at $759/year for additional features and support.

Katalon Studio is recommended for teams looking for a comprehensive test automation solution that covers API, web, mobile, and desktop applications.

11. Cypress

Cypress is a modern test automation framework primarily designed for web applications, but it also offers capabilities for API testing. It provides a powerful and developer-friendly environment for writing and running tests.

Features

  • End-to-End Testing: Comprehensive support for end-to-end testing of web applications.
  • API Testing: Built-in commands for testing APIs.
  • Real-Time Reloads: Tests automatically reload in real-time.
  • Time Travel: Debug tests with snapshots of the test execution.
  • Dashboard: Detailed test results and analytics dashboard.
  • CI Integration: Seamlessly integrates with CI/CD pipelines.

Pros

  • Developer-Friendly: Designed with developers in mind; easy to write and debug tests.
  • Real-Time Feedback: Immediate feedback on test results.
  • Comprehensive: Supports both end-to-end and API testing.
  • Community and Support: Active community and extensive resources.

Cons

  • Limited API Focus: Primarily designed for web testing; API testing features are basic.
  • Performance: Can be slow with very large test suites.
  • Learning Curve: Requires time to learn and utilize all features effectively.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source with essential features.
  • Dashboard Service: Paid plans for additional features and support.

Cypress is ideal for developers and testers who need a modern, developer-friendly tool for both web and API testing.

12. Selenium CDP

Selenium CDP (Chrome DevTools Protocol) is an extension of the Selenium framework that allows for more advanced browser interactions using Chrome DevTools Protocol. It is primarily used for web testing but also supports API testing through browser automation.

Features

  • Browser Automation: Automate web browser interactions.
  • CDP Integration: Advanced browser interactions using Chrome DevTools Protocol.
  • Cross-Browser Testing: Supports multiple browsers including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
  • Extensible: Integrates with various testing frameworks and tools.
  • Scriptable: Supports scripting in multiple languages like Java, Python, and JavaScript.

Pros

  • Advanced Capabilities: Access to advanced browser features through CDP.
  • Cross-Browser: Supports multiple browsers and environments.
  • Community Support: Large and active community.
  • Free and Open-Source: No cost for full functionality.

Cons

  • Complexity: Requires setup and configuration.
  • Learning Curve: Advanced features require expertise.
  • Limited API Focus: Primarily designed for web testing; API testing features are secondary.

Pricing

  • Free: Completely free and open-source.

Selenium CDP is recommended for testers and developers who need advanced browser automation capabilities with support for API testing through Chrome DevTools Protocol.

13. Playwright

Playwright is an open-source automation framework developed by Microsoft, designed for web application testing. It provides comprehensive support for end-to-end testing, including API testing capabilities.

Features

  • Cross-Browser: Supports testing on Chrome, Firefox, and WebKit browsers.
  • API Testing: Built-in support for API testing.
  • Headless Testing: Run tests in headless mode for faster execution.
  • Network Interception: Intercept and modify network requests.
  • Test Isolation: Isolate tests with browser contexts.
  • Parallel Execution: Run tests in parallel to save time.

Pros

  • Comprehensive: Supports end-to-end, API, and network testing.
  • Cross-Browser: Test across multiple browsers with a single API.
  • Performance: Fast and reliable test execution.
  • Community and Support: Growing community and extensive documentation.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Requires time to master all features.
  • Resource-Intensive: Can be slow with very large test suites.
  • Complexity: Advanced features require expertise and setup.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source and free to use.

Playwright is ideal for developers and testers looking for a powerful, cross-browser automation tool that supports both end-to-end and API testing.

14. Pact

Pact is an open-source tool focused on contract testing for APIs. It ensures that services can communicate with each other as expected by verifying interactions between them.

Features

  • Consumer-Driven Contracts: Define and verify API interactions from the consumer's perspective.
  • Provider Verification: Ensure providers meet the expectations set by consumers.
  • Cross-Language Support: Supports multiple languages including Java, JavaScript, Ruby, and more.
  • Pact Broker: Share contracts between teams and services.
  • Mocking: Create mock servers based on consumer contracts.

Pros

  • Contract Testing: Focuses on verifying interactions between services.
  • Cross-Language: Supports multiple languages and platforms.
  • Community and Support: Active community and extensive resources.
  • Open-Source: Free to use with no hidden costs.

Cons

  • Niche Use Case: Primarily focused on contract testing; not a general-purpose API testing tool.
  • Complex Setup: Requires setup and configuration.
  • Learning Curve: Advanced features require expertise.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source and free to use.

Pact is recommended for teams practicing microservices architecture and looking for a robust solution for contract testing between services.

15. Rest-Client (Ruby)

Rest-Client is a simple HTTP and REST client for Ruby, designed to make HTTP requests and handle responses easily. It's a lightweight solution for testing and interacting with APIs from Ruby code.

Features

  • HTTP Requests: Simplifies making HTTP requests from Ruby code.
  • Response Handling: Easily handle and parse HTTP responses.
  • File Uploads: Support for file uploads in requests.
  • SSL: Supports SSL for secure connections.
  • Custom Headers: Easily add custom headers to requests.

Pros

  • Simplicity: Easy to use with minimal setup.
  • Integration: Integrates seamlessly with Ruby applications.
  • Lightweight: Minimal dependencies and footprint.
  • Open-Source: Free and actively maintained.

Cons

  • Limited Features: Basic functionality compared to full-fledged API testing tools.
  • Ruby Dependency: Requires knowledge of Ruby.
  • No GUI: Entirely code-based with no graphical interface.

Pricing

  • Free: Open-source and free to use.

Rest-Client is ideal for Ruby developers looking for a simple and lightweight tool for making and testing HTTP requests.

Comparison Table

Conclusion - Recommendations Based on Criteria

Selecting the right API testing tool depends on your project's specific requirements, team expertise, and budget.so you can make a choice based on which category of use cases you have now or in future.

  • For Beginners and Ease of Use: Postman, Hoppscotch, Insomnia, Katalon Studio, Cypress
  • For Advanced Features and Flexibility: SoapUI, Apache JMeter, RestAssured, Karate, Selenium CDP, Playwright, Pact
  • For Added Performance Testing: Apache JMeter
  • For Added Contract Testing: Pact
  • For Ruby Environments: Rest-Client (Ruby)
  • For Java Developers: RestAssured, Karate
  • For Python Developers: PyRestTest
  • For Comprehensive API Lifecycle Management: Postman, Swagger
  • For Added Cross-Browser Testing: Playwright, Selenium CDP
About the author
Irfan Ahmad

Irfan Ahmad

Software Quality Leader | Helping software teams to deliver with speed, security and scale.

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