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Hotfix vs. Bugfix: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 10, 2023
A hotfix is an urgent update to fix a critical issue in software without disrupting its operation, while a bugfix addresses a general software error or flaw, often in regular updates.

Key Differences

Hotfixes are implemented quickly to address critical, often operational, issues in live systems. Bugfixes, conversely, are routine fixes for identified errors in software, typically part of scheduled updates.
Hotfixes are designed to be minimal and non-disruptive, targeting a specific problem. Bugfixes can be more comprehensive, addressing various bugs in a single update.
The urgency of a hotfix is usually due to security vulnerabilities or major functionality issues. Bugfixes, while important, may not always address immediate threats or critical breakdowns.
Hotfixes are applied to live environments, often without requiring system restarts. Bugfixes are typically part of a planned update cycle and may necessitate downtime or reboots.
In terms of deployment, hotfixes are usually temporary and quickly replaced by more permanent solutions. Bugfixes, in contrast, are permanent improvements to the software’s codebase.

Comparison Chart


High, for critical issues
Lower, for routine errors


Immediate, in live systems
Scheduled in regular updates


Minimal, often no restarts required
May require downtime or reboots


Specific, targeting one issue
Can be broader, fixing multiple bugs


Often temporary until a full update
Permanent codebase improvements

Hotfix and Bugfix Definitions


An immediate patch applied to operational software.
A hotfix was deployed overnight to fix the login error.


A routine part of software maintenance to improve functionality.
The scheduled release contains several bugfixes.


A temporary solution to a pressing software flaw.
The hotfix provided a quick fix until the next version release.


An update aimed at enhancing software stability and performance.
The bugfix improved the game's frame rate significantly.


An urgent update to fix a critical problem in a live system.
They released a hotfix to address the security breach.


Corrections made to the code to eliminate known bugs.
After the bugfix, the application ran more smoothly.


A quick, minimal change to solve a major software issue.
The hotfix resolved the server crash without downtime.


A regular process of refining software by fixing reported issues.
Each version update includes bugfixes based on user feedback.


An update that requires minimal user intervention.
The hotfix for the app was applied automatically to all users.


A software update that corrects errors or glitches.
The latest update included a bugfix for the syncing issue.


(computing) A cumulative package of one or more files used to address a problem in a software product.


(computing) A patch or change that fixes the unwanted behaviour caused by a bug.


How is a bugfix implemented?

As part of scheduled software maintenance and update cycles.

What is a hotfix?

An urgent, minimal update to fix critical issues in live software.

How quickly are hotfixes deployed?

They are deployed as soon as possible, often immediately.

What is a bugfix?

A correction in software to fix errors, part of regular updates.

Are hotfixes disruptive?

They're designed to be minimally disruptive, often requiring no restart.

Is user action required for bugfixes?

It depends, sometimes a download or restart may be needed.

When is a hotfix used?

For immediate, critical problems, often security or functionality related.

Can hotfixes be permanent solutions?

Usually, they're temporary until a more comprehensive update is released.

Can a bugfix address multiple bugs?

Yes, bugfixes often resolve several issues in one update.

Are bugfixes part of version upgrades?

Yes, they're typically included in version updates.

How are hotfixes tested?

Quickly but thoroughly, given their urgency and impact.

Do bugfixes require downtime?

Sometimes, particularly if part of larger updates.

How do developers prioritize bugfixes?

Based on the severity and impact of the bugs.

Do hotfixes go through regular release cycles?

No, they bypass standard cycles due to their urgency.

Are bugfixes part of agile software development?

Yes, they're an integral part of ongoing software refinement.

Are bugfixes only for minor issues?

No, they can address a range of issues, from minor to significant.

Is a hotfix always a software patch?

Generally, yes, it's a patch to address specific issues.

Is a hotfix always small in size?

Typically, yes, to ensure quick deployment and minimal impact.

Can bugfixes improve software performance?

Yes, they often enhance stability and performance.

Are hotfixes common?

They're less common than bugfixes, used only for urgent issues.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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