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Difference Between Bugs and Errors

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11 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM
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Hello Ninjas! Welcome back. If you're from a tech background, errors and bugs must sound familiar but do you often get confused between errors and bugs? About what they are and how they are different from each other. If yes, you're at the right place. 

Difference Between Errors and Bugs

This article will talk about the difference between errors and bugs. Let's start with understanding what bugs and errors are and their examples.

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What are Bugs?

Bugs are errors or malfunctions in the software or application of a system. Sometimes, a bug may refer to a problem with the hardware or computer networks. Bugs can have minor and major consequences, sometimes leading to data loss. 

A wide range of issues caused by bugs can be challenging to track and fix. Bugs are an inevitable part of the computer and software development process. Identifying and fixing bugs is called debugging and is essential to hardware and software development. Moreover, software companies often issue updates that include fixed bugs and new features. Users install these updates to keep their systems updated and to smooth the functioning of the software and hardware of their systems. 

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Examples of Bugs

In this section of the article "Difference Between Errors and Bugs," we will talk about some examples of bugs to understand how and why they occur - 

Types og Bugs

Bugs in a Computer Program 

Sometimes while working on a word-processing document, the program crashes or closes without warning. This is caused by bugs in a program that crashes the program when some specific action occurs, such as opening a heavy file.

A bug in a computer program can also result in incorrect functionality of the program. For example - when we try sending an email via email program and the program fails to send the email. This problem may have been caused by a bug in the program when it satisfies a particular set of conditions. These bugs are challenging to track and fix, as we are unsure if a bug caused the problem.

Bugs in Computer Systems and Networks

A bug in a network operating system may result in the unresponsiveness of the network devices and be responsible for the loss of data and connections. These bugs take time to track and fix as they may involve multiple systems and devices.  

Bugs in Hardware

Bugs sometimes may also occur in hardware. Sometimes when we buy a new computer or any other device that doesn't work correctly, this is likely caused by a bug in the computer's hardware. For example - a defective circuit or component. These bugs are challenging to fix as we might have to get the entire hardware repaired or replaced.

What are Errors?

In this section of the article "Difference Between Errors and Bugs," we will discuss and understand why errors occur. Errors are human-made mistakes or faults in a program due to which the program doesn't give the desired outputs. Errors are temporary and can be fixed by the users. Errors may arise due to issues with the software, programming problems, or even unexpected conditions. It is essential to fix these errors so that we can offer a good user experience. It is necessary to debug and test the program so that we can detect and resolve the errors. Various types of errors can occur in a program, such as a syntax, runtime, logical, compile-time, or semantic errors. A good programmer understands, detects, and fixes the different errors that may arise in a program to produce functional and error-free code.   

Examples of Errors

In this section of the article "Difference Between Errors and Bugs," we will talk about the different types of errors and understand why they occur. The errors in computer programming are broadly divided into two main categories: Runtime errors and Compile-time errors. 

Types of Errors in Computer Programming

Runtime Errors

Runtime errors occur when the program fails to execute. This can happen for various reasons, including external conditions and data input. For example, when we store an integer larger than the integer data type's maximum storing ability (compiler dependent), we will get a runtime error.


Let's look at the different types of Runtime errors - 

Semantic Errors

Semantic errors occur when the code does not give the desired outputs even though the code follows all the programming language rules and has no syntax errors. For example, if we are writing a code that intends to multiply two numbers but instead adds them, the code will not raise any error but will execute and show incorrect results. For example -


Logical Errors

Logical errors occur when a program is written correctly but does not satisfy the requirement of the problem. For example - if we are meant to write a program that is supposed to find the average of a list of numbers but doesn't consider negative numbers. For example -


Arithmetic Errors

Arithmetic errors in computer programming refer to mistakes in mathematical calculations.

For example, if we write a program that intends to divide a number by zero, the interpreter will throw a runtime error: "division of any number by zero is undefined."  or it might not show any output. For example -


Compile-time Errors

Compile-time errors occur when a program is not compiled successfully. These errors are caused by incorrect syntax and undefined functions and variables. These errors can be corrected by fixing the errors in the code, ensuring the use of correct libraries, and resolving any complexity in the development environment. For example - when we try to add a string to an integer data type, we will get a compile-time error.


Syntax Errors

The error that occurs while writing code that violates the rules of any programming language is known as a syntax error. For example, in the programming language C/C++, if we forget to add a semicolon (;) after the end of the statement, the compiler will throw a syntax error as the code does not follow the standard syntax rules of that programming language. For example - the program shown below is written in C++ language, and we can see a syntax error as we have not added a semicolon after “hello world.”



Comparison Table Between Errors and Bugs

In this section of the article "Difference Between Errors and Bugs," we will compare errors and bugs. Even though errors and bugs are standard tech terms and cause problems in the software, they have different meanings and are caused by various factors. It is essential to understand their differences as they require different approaches to resolve. Let's look at how errors and bugs differ from each other - 

DefinitionMistakes or faults made by programmersFlaws or defects in the software
OriginHuman-madeCan be human-made or arise from other factors
TypesSyntax errors, logical errors, runtime errors, etc.Logic errors, syntax errors, runtime errors, etc.
DetectionDetected during compilation or executionUsually detected during testing or runtime
ImpactCan lead to program termination or incorrect behaviorCan cause program crashes, incorrect results, or unexpected behavior
PreventionCode reviews, testing, debugging toolsThorough testing, debugging, code analysis
ExampleMissing semicolon, division by zero, logical flawAccessing out-of-bounds memory, incorrect algorithm implementation, UI glitch

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between error and bug in programming?

An error refers to a mistake made by a programmer, like syntax errors or logical errors. A bug, on the other hand, is a flaw or defect in the software, which may or may not be caused by a programmer.

What's the difference between a bug and a defect?

A bug is a general term for any flaw in software, while a defect specifically refers to an identified flaw in the software. Defects are usually discovered during testing or runtime.

What is the difference between a bug and a logical error?

A bug is a general term for any flaw in software, while a logical error is a specific type of bug caused by flawed program logic. Logical errors can lead to incorrect behavior or unexpected results in a program.

Why are errors called bugs?

Errors in software were once found to be caused by a moth trapped in a computer, leading to the term "bug." Since then, the term has been used to describe any flaw or defect in software.

What type of error is a bug?

A bug is a type of error in software, encompassing various types such as syntax errors, logical errors, and runtime errors. Bugs can cause program crashes, incorrect behavior, or unexpected results.

What are bugs?

Bugs are errors or malfunctions in a program, code, or system. Sometimes, a bug may refer to a problem with the hardware or computer networks. 


This article discussed the difference between errors and bugs, what bugs are, and what errors are, along with examples of errors and bugs. If you want to dig deeper into errors, bugs, faults, or defects in computer programming, here are some related articles - 

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