Pest Extermination Episode 3: Good Steps for Reporting Bugs


We have been in a little series about website bugs. We have already talked about how to identify bugs on your website and we have discussed some examples. But now, here is a good list of what you should do when you find a bug on your website:

  1. Acquire a fly swatter. Okay, just kidding. 
  2. First take a screenshot of the webpage where you found the bug. The “Prt Scrn” button on your keyboard will usually do the trick, but be sure to save that image off your clip board!
  3. Copy and paste the URL of the webpage where you found the error and save it somewhere safe. This super handy step will save your developer precious time. It is nice to be able to copy and paste a URL rather than having to type out a long URL from a screenshot.
  4. Note what internet browser and what version of that browser you were using to view your website when the problem arose.
  5. If the issue is image related, (such as images are not showing up, or images are not aligned like you think they should be on your website) clear your browser’s cache to try and fix the problem. If that does not work, be sure to save the specific trouble causing image file.
  6. Note what operating system you have installed on your system.
  7. If the bug produces itself after a series of steps, take specific notes or make a video of yourself taking the steps on your website to make the error happen. (This is awesome for edge case website bugs.)
  8. Make sure that Flash is enabled on your computer and up to date (especially for problems related to video and sound on your website.)
  9. Similarly, make sure that Java is enabled on your computer and the version is up to date.
  10. Once you have gathered all of this information and checked into all these different avenues about the website bug, be sure to tell your developer about everything you have found.
  11. And finally, under no circumstances should you try to delete the content, users, or elements involved in whatever you used to trigger the website bug. Your developer must have all the exact same information and files in hand that you used to find the bug when diagnosing your website.

If you do all these steps when identifying website bugs then you should be very proud of yourself. You have become and expert exterminator of website bugs! Tada! 

In conclusion, bugs are an inherent part of software development in general – that does not exempt web development. If you have a strong website development team, the frequency of bugs you find on your website will usually asymptote out getting closer and closer to zero all the time. But bugs will never fully go away. You got to know, bug solving is a healthy part of software development.

So if you have a few bugs on your super complex and humongous website, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself because you do not have a million. The wonderful thing about bugs is that if you take the right steps in documenting them, bugs can get resolved with more grace and ease you ever hoped. Happy day!

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