Review: Mantis Bug Tracker (MantisBT)

MantisBT is a full-featured bug-tracking system that not only keeps track of bugs, but includes a user system so that multiple users can interact and multiple projects can be tracked.

If your company creates its own software, has its own Web site, or needs to keep track of software-related issues, then you need a bug tracking tool. Naturally, there are tons of such tools available. Many of these tools are either complex to use or complex to install. MantisBT, on the other hand, is both simple to use and simple to install. This open source bug tracker is written in PHP, uses MySQL, and can be installed on Linux, Windows, Mac, OS/2, and more.


Who's it for?

MantisBT is for any company that relies on a centralized system in order to keep track of software/Web site bugs. This system can be used by any level of business from SMBs to large enterprises.

What problem does it solve?

MantisBT is a full-featured bug-tracking system that not only keeps track of bugs, but includes a user system so that multiple users can interact and multiple projects can be tracked.

Standout features

  • Simple installation and use
  • Supports projects, sub-projects, and categories
  • Various levels of user access
  • Changelog support
  • "My View" page
  • Search and filter tools
  • Reporting and graphing built in
  • Custom field support
  • Email notification
  • Customizable issue workflow

What's wrong?

MantisBT is an amazingly simple tool to install. However the included download file does not contain any documentation. Instead you are directed to the on-line documentation from within the /docs/directory. It would behoove the MantisBT developers to include this documentation within the tar file (since it is rather brief). Outside of that, MantisBT is rock solid.

Competitive products:

Bottom line for business

Bug tracking is a key issue for so many companies. Without a solid bug tracking system your software or Web site development would be severely handicapped. Finding the right mix of cost and solution is crucial in today's economy. MantisBT solves all of these issues in one fell swoop. At no cost (thanks to the GPL) you can deploy MantisBT and have an easy to use, dependable bug tracking system up in less than five minutes.

User rating

Have you encountered or used MantisBT? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


devZing provides a hosted MantisBT so you don't have to worry about the installation, maintenance and upgrades.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What do you use for your bug management? Is it as effective as you'd like it to be?


I agree with PoppaTab. My company has been happily using Mantis for 2 to 3 years now. It's not flashy - it's very simple and it just plain works. Most of our bugs are logged by non-tech users, who like being able to track what's happening. Admin is straightforward, and we've used it to good effect on numerous projects, some of which are complex multi-vendor affairs.


Why use a hosted application for $72.00 a year to start? I've had Mantis running for a year without trouble. The reporter simply logs in and reports a problem. I've had some really non-tech users working with this without incident. Admin on it is not difficult as well. I have the plus of having this onsite and archive, etc.

Justin James
Justin James

For ages (10+ years?) we had been using a giant Word document. We just moved to TFS (we've been transitioning our entire development work to the TFS stack), and so far we're pretty happy with it, after the initial acclimation period. The real weak spot is with reports, since the reports system relies upon the awful SQL Server Reporting Services. J.Ja

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