QuickBooks Online vs QuickBooks Hosting: What’s the Difference?

Earlier in the series, we compared abilities of the cloud against the desktop version of accounting and tax applications. Cloud cuts down the immediate cost of physical infrastructure while keeping solutions equipped with the latest updates for better performance and security. Cloud also eliminated the limitations that exist with the local hardware.

Hence, in that comparison cloud appeared to be a more affordable, reliable and convenient solution for businesses as well as individual users.

quickbooks online vs quickbooks desktop

When it comes to business accounting, QuickBooks commands its positions as one of the most popular, trusted and used applications. As the dependency of businesses on cloud technology surged, the accounting application had to keep up with the market demand.

As a result, two versions of QuickBooks on the cloud are available for the users – QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting. In this article of the series, we will compare these variants on various scales.

What is QuickBooks Online?
Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks, introduced the cloud-based version of the application in 2001 as ‘QuickBooks Online’. Currently, among all the online accounting applications, it enjoys the most number of subscribers. Compared to the desktop version of QuickBooks, it is vastly a different product and there are a number of distinctions between the features, functionality, and usability between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop.

What is QuickBooks Hosting?
QuickBooks Hosting is a well-versed and accomplished desktop version of QuickBooks available on the cloud. It means that the QuickBooks Desktop is installed on a third-party server, which can be accessed over the internet. Hence, all the features of QB desktop are available for the users along with the benefits of cloud for business accounting.

1. Features and Performance

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online has some features, such as – better user collaboration, automatic scheduling to send invoices, accessibility over Mac, PC and mobile devices, etc. that are not available with the desktop version. So, the performance might appear to be on the better side. However, there are some features (like – calculations and rebilling of job cost, customer discounts, etc.) with QuickBooks desktop that QuickBooks Online is not able to provide.

QuickBooks Hosting

As mentioned above, hosting is availing the desktop version on the cloud. Therefore, it inherently offers all the features of QuickBooks desktop and then adds onto it the abilities of the cloud to provide multi-user collaboration, cross-device compatibility, and more. Some of the hosting providers have been able to craft their servers to deliver QuickBooks specific performance boosters as well.


As an accountant who is accustomed to QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online has significant changes to welcome. The fact that it is still developing does not help either. QuickBooks Hosting on, the other hand offers a fully-featured QuickBooks desktop solution on the cloud. Since QuickBooks Desktop is already a performance packed software any further improvement is the best way to go for now.

2. Support & Speed

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online has improved for better in terms of speed since its advent. Yet it has often faced criticism for processing slower during the peak hours. Support with QuickBooks Online is considered better than that of desktop version as Intuit offers the phone support online version without any charges. With desktop version, the phone support is available at $89 for 90 days.

However, the pricing factor does not take away the waiting time for the support. During the rush hours, wait-time on the call can sometimes be in the range of few minutes.

QuickBooks Hosting

The speed with QuickBooks Hosting is mainly dependent on your choice of hosting provider, server type, resources, etc. User experiences have varied significantly with these factors as the speed of processing QuickBooks commands depends on them. The story with the support abilities is slightly similar as well.

Different hosting providers follow different support practices as some offer paid support and others provide it for free, but almost all of them are able to deliver it instantly.


Remember that in this case, we are considering that you are working on a substantial internet content. Not exactly the fastest one, but still fast enough and consistent. QuickBooks Online has just one standard that offers neither amazing nor really repelling experience. However, a third-party hosting provider has the opportunity to offer both the experiences.

Yet the QuickBooks Hosting gets the edge in the competition as it has more customization in the form of server choice (shared, private, etc.), and resources (RAM, Storage space, etc,), which allows more control over the speed. Additionally, support is a key selling point and most likely they are not going to let the customer down with it.

3. Reliability & Futuristic Solution

QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online has spent more than a decade in the market and gained a heavily in the terms of customer shares. Being a leader among the online accounting software itself speaks of its merits. Given that industry experts have referred cloud technology as the future of all computing operations, QuickBooks Online is here to stay and looking pretty healthy.

QuickBooks Hosting

QuickBooks Hosting provides the desktop version of QuickBooks over the internet. As QuickBooks is the leader among all sorts of accounting software and leads by miles for its features and friendly user interface are some of the factors that have maintained the customer base intact even when the competition has soared. Bring it on hosting and most of the reasons that make cloud important are accomplished.


QuickBooks Online has a lot to improve with features and functions with respect to the hosting of the desktop version, which makes it a susceptible option in the current conditions. Intuit with its recent upgrading strategies has shown more interest in QuickBooks Online.

So, some years down the line hosting might slip its grip but for now, QuickBooks hosting seems a more reliable option for the business accounting needs. With all that said, the precise requirements of the users are variable and those must be considered while making a final choice.

Coming Up Next

With the next article in the blog series, we will discuss deeper QuickBooks specific concerns of business accounting. In the article Everything You Need to Know about QuickBooks Add-ons we will mention some of most useful add-ons with QuickBooks, their benefits and the best practices for maintaining and them.

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