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Top 5 Open Source Source and Free Static Code Analysis Tools in 2020

Last Updated : 25 Feb, 2022
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If you are a software developer or a code security analyst you often need to analyze your source code to detect security flaws and maintain a secure quality code. But there can be many issues in your code which is hard to discover manually. After all, we are still humans, so even the most senior security analyst misses some security flaws. Here comes our source code analysis tool to rescue us, a powerful tool that quickly and automatically checks everything under the hood without even executing the code, and becomes a perfect companion to the human eye.


Source code analysis tools are also referred to as Static Application Security Testing tools or SAST tools which are designed to provide immediate feedback to the developer on issues they might introduce in the code which is very useful compared to finding vulnerabilities much later during the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

With the increase of creating a quality secure code from the beginning there occurs a greater shift towards the adoption of these tools. Nowadays a large no of tools available in the market but the commercial options are too expensive for startups and freelancers but don’t worry here is a list of some top free and open-source static code analysis tools.

1. VisualCodeGrepper

A superfast and powerful source code analysis tool for commonly used most popular programming languages, thorough scan tools,   VisualCodeGrepper is an automated tool for C, C++, C#, VB, PHP, Java, PL/SQL, and COBOL which drastically speed up the code review process by identifying the insecure code. It tries to find phrases within comments that can indicate broken code and provides detailed reports through stats and pie charts. It has some awesome features which make it very useful to anyone conducting code analysis, especially when time is costly:

  • Using this tool you can analyze most of the modern as well as the old popular programming language like C, C++, Java, PHP, COBOL, etc. Just specify the language you are using to properly identify and analyze the code.
  • You can run several scan operations depending upon the type and complexity of your project. Among the possible operations, it helps you to trigger a full scan process for code and during this process, a new window brought up instantly with chard displaying each component for better analysis.
  • Provides a nice pie chart for the entire codebase which shows relative proportions of code, whitespace, comments, and bad code.
  • Displayed a list to view each project along with the possible errors, security flaws number of comments, percentage of the whole project, and potentially unsafe flags and bits of code.
  • Performs many complex checks and allows you to add any bad functions that you want to search for with a config file for each language.
  • Attempts to find a range of phrases within comments that can indicate broken code.
  • Searches intelligently to find buffer overflows and signed or unsigned comparisons.

2. Rips 

RIPS (Re-Inforce Programming Security) is a language-specific static code analysis tool for PHP, Java, and Node.Js. It automatically detects the security vulnerabilities in PHP and Java applications and is an ideal choice for application development. This tool supports all major PHP and Java frameworks. It can be deployed as a self-hosted software or used as a cloud service. with SDLC integration and relevant industry standards. No other tools but RIPS can detect the most complex security bugs which are deeply nested inside the code with perfect accuracy and hence it is the ideal choice for analyzing your code.

  • On-premises scanning of code with local installation for code privacy.  Also provides online scanning with a secure and highly-scalable cloud-based platform (SaaS) without local installation or maintenance overheads.
  • Seamlessly fully automatic security testing and report for code vulnerabilities. Hence after integration with build tools, IDEs and issue trackers, as well as any other custom tools can bring automation facilities.
  • It tracks your application progresses throughout the development lifecycle and finds the risks and vulnerabilities in your code instantly so that you can fix the issues as soon as possible,
  • This tool is very popular for its speed. It scans your code at lightning speed even the huge magneto code with 2.2 billion lines is scanned in less than 20 min.
  • Scan multiple programming languages independently with the help of the RIPS analysis engine considering language’s details for the most accurate analysis.
  • With a very unique approach, this tool can detect some security bugs which can be missed by other scanners.

3. Brakeman 

It is a free and open-source code vulnerability scanner and specially designed for the Ruby on Rails applications. It is a static code analyzer that scans the Rails application code to find security issues at any stage during development. Unlike many other web security scanners, this tool looks at the source code of your application hence there’s no need to set up the whole application stack to use it. After scanning the application code, it produces a detailed report for all the security issues.

  • Just run this tool without any necessary configuration. It requires no prior setups or configuration once it is installed.
  • Run It Anytime, at any stage of the development process. Just generate a new application with rails new and check instantly,
  • Provide more complete coverage of an application. This analyzer can identify security vulnerabilities before they become exploitable.
  • Provides Flexible Testing, each check performed is independent, so testing can be flexible with Barkman,
  • It is much faster than “black box” website scanners and even the large applications can be scanned within a few minutes.

4. Flawfinder 

it is a free, simple program that scans C or C++ source code which identifies possible security flaws quickly and produces a report sorted by risk level. It is available as open-source software and is very useful for quickly finding and removing potential security issues before the program is widely released to the public.  It is very easy to use and specifically designed to be easy to install with python’s pip comes with a simple user guide. It is compatible with Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) and has earned the CII Best Practices passing badge.  It is very useful for beginners which gives a simple introduction to static source code analysis tools. It is designed for use on Unix, Cygwin, Linux-based systems, and macOS as a command-line tool and only requires either Python 2.7 or Python 3.

  • Easy to install and use. It is the perfect tool for getting started with code analysis.
  • It is free, open-source software with OSI-approved license,
  • Works even if you can’t build the software
  • It is super fast and can examine larger programs in a relatively very little period
  • It has a greater hit density (hits per thousand lines of source code).

5.  Bandit

It is a free tool specially designed to find common security issues in Python code. It processes each file with appropriate plugins and generates a detailed report of possible security bugs in the python code. It is open-source software with  Apache License 2.0. This tool can be used during development or afterward to find common security issues in Python code before putting the code in production or to use this tool to analyze existing projects and find possible flaws.

  • Command-line interface to scan your python code.
  • Supports CSV, HTML or JSON files.
  • Allows specifying the path of a baseline report for ignoring known vulnerabilities that you believe are non-issues.
  • Version control integration using pre-commit.
  • Allows users to write and register extensions for checks and formatters.
  • Being an open-source project contribution to Bandit is always welcome!


With the help of these code review tools, the quality of the software gets improved by eliminating the possible bugs in the program. These tools automate the review process which in turn minimizes the reviewing task of the code and overall quality of the Software gets improved by locating the issues that were unnoticed in the initial phase of development. As commercial tools just aren’t for everyone and there is an array of open-source static source code analysis options out there, but only a few are good, So you should use the given powerful tools depending upon your project and programming language.

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