Alpha testing is an operational testing done by potential users/customers or an independent test team at the developers' site. Alpha testing is often employed for off-the-shelf software as a form of internal acceptance testing, before the software goes to beta testing.
Beta testing comes after alpha testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the company. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future user.
Both Alpha and Beta Testing are done as a part of the User Acceptance Testing.
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