MockMvc vs WebTestClient

Testing is an integral part of developing robust Spring Boot applications, and choosing the right tool for testing web layers is crucial. In the Spring ecosystem, MockMvc and WebTestClient are two prominent tools used for this purpose. Both have their strengths and specific use cases, making them suitable for different testing scenarios. This blog post aims to provide an insightful comparison between MockMvc and WebTestClient, helping developers choose the appropriate tool for their testing needs.

What is MockMvc? 

MockMvc is a part of the Spring MVC testing framework designed to test controller layers without starting a full HTTP server. It simulates the behavior of a web application, providing a fluent API for sending HTTP requests to the server and asserting responses. 

Advantages of MockMvc 

Focused Testing: Ideal for testing the web layer (controller layer) in isolation, especially useful for unit testing controllers. 

Speed: Tests are faster as they run without an actual server, reducing the overhead of context loading and HTTP requests. 

Detailed Inspection: Allows for a detailed analysis of HTTP requests and responses, headers, status codes, and payloads. 

What is WebTestClient? 

Introduced in Spring 5, WebTestClient is a part of the Spring WebFlux module. It can be used in both a traditional servlet-based Spring MVC application and reactive WebFlux applications, offering a way to test web components through actual requests and responses. 

Advantages of WebTestClient 

Versatility: Can be used for both blocking (servlet-based) and non-blocking (reactive) applications, offering more flexibility. 

Realistic Testing: Suitable for integration and end-to-end testing, reflecting more realistic scenarios by interacting with an actual or mock server. 

Asynchronous Support: Especially advantageous for testing reactive streams and asynchronous behavior in WebFlux applications. 

MockMvc vs WebTestClient: Choosing the Right Tool 

Application Type: If you are working with a traditional Spring MVC application and your focus is mainly on the controller layer, MockMvc is the go-to tool. For applications built with Spring WebFlux or when you need to test asynchronous behavior, WebTestClient is more appropriate. 

Testing Scope: For detailed unit testing of the web layer in isolation, MockMvc is ideal. If your testing involves broader integration tests or end-to-end scenarios, including reactive streams, WebTestClient offers a more suitable approach. 

Performance and Overhead: MockMvc is generally faster due to not requiring a running server, making it efficient for large test suites focused on the web layer. WebTestClient, while slightly slower due to the server requirement, provides a more comprehensive testing environment. 


Both MockMvc and WebTestClient are powerful tools for testing Spring Boot applications, but their effectiveness depends on the context of your application and testing requirements. MockMvc is excellent for fast, detailed tests of MVC controllers, while WebTestClient excels in testing more complex, real-world scenarios, including asynchronous and reactive logic. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of each tool will empower you to write more accurate and efficient tests, leading to higher-quality Spring Boot applications.