Small and medium-sized businesses rely heavily on the accounting software to keep their finances in order. QuickBooks is of the most popular accounting software that has been around for over 30 years. It has been providing businesses with an easy and effective way to manage their finances. However, with the rise of cloud technology and changing business work dynamics, companies now have two options for using QuickBooks – QBO and QuickBooks Hosting.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and it can be challenging to determine which one is better for your business. In this blog, we will compare the two accounting solutions and assist you in making the best choice. Take a look! 

QuickBooks online vs QuickBooks hosting

What is QuickBooks Online?

QuickBooks Online (QBO) is a cloud-based financial management software system developed by Intuit, designed to help businesses manage their finances more efficiently. QuickBooks Online Compared to the desktop version, QBO has a different user interface and feature set. It offers a range of features, including invoicing, bill payment, payroll, inventory management, and financial reporting. 

QBO is particularly well-suited for service-based businesses that do not require complex invoicing features or inventory tracking options. However, even though the software offers numerous benefits, companies should take the time to evaluate all their options to ensure that they make the right decision for their company.

What is QuickBooks Hosting?

QuickBooks Hosting is a cloud-based accounting solution that allows businesses to run their QuickBooks software on remote servers accessed through the internet. It involves hosting the QuickBooks software on a third-party provider’s servers and accessing it remotely from anywhere, anytime.

If you want the benefits of a traditional QuickBooks Desktop in a more accessible and robust environment, hosting QuickBooks on the cloud is the way to go.

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QuickBooks Online vs. QuickBooks Hosting: In-Depth Comparison

Choosing the right cloud accounting solution for your business can be crucial to its success. By carefully considering the features and benefits of each option, you can make an informed decision that best meets the needs of your business and positions it for long-term growth and success. Here is an in-depth comparison between both cloud accounting solutions. 

1. Accessibility

Both options provide accessibility for businesses to manage their finances from anywhere with an internet connection. Yet, there is a difference in how they provide this accessibility. QBO is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing businesses to manage their finances on the go. Users can access their data from their web browser or mobile device.  

On the other hand, QuickBooks Hosting provides remote access to the desktop version of QuickBooks. It means that users can work with the familiar interface of the desktop software rather than a web-based interface.

2. Security

Regarding security, QuickBooks Hosting is ideal for businesses that comply with industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA for healthcare or PCI DSS for payment card processing. Additionally, it comes with advanced security features, such as two-factor authentication, to ensure that data is always protected.

In contrast, QuickBooks Online operates in a shared cloud environment, which may make it more difficult for businesses to comply with industry-specific regulations. While QuickBooks Online offers security measures to protect data, companies may be limited in compliance requirements due to the shared cloud environment.

3. Customization

QuickBooks Hosting offers the full range of customization options available in the desktop version of QuickBooks. It allows businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs, including the ability to create custom reports and integrations with other business tools. QBO, on the other hand, has a limited set of features compared to the desktop version of QuickBooks, limiting customization options.

4. Cost

QuickBooks Hosting can be more cost-effective than QuickBooks Online, particularly for businesses requiring advanced features or many users. While the initial cost of hosting QB on the cloud may be higher than QuickBooks Online, hosting providers typically offer flexible pricing plans that allow businesses to pay only for the features and users they need.

Also, they offer support and maintenance services as part of their pricing plans, eliminating businesses needing additional IT staff. QuickBooks Online can be a more affordable option for small businesses with basic accounting needs, but the cost can quickly add up as companies require additional features or users.

5. Integration

QuickBooks Hosting offers seamless integration with other business tools like CRM systems and ERP software. The solution gives businesses a centralized platform for managing their finances, making tracking financial transactions and generating reports easier. It provides an open API that allows third-party developers to create custom integrations and add-ons that can extend the functionality of QuickBooks.

QuickBooks Online offers some integration capabilities but may not be as seamless or customizable as QuickBooks Hosting. Additionally, some integrations may require additional costs or third-party software, making it more difficult for businesses to implement customized integrations.

6. Backup and Disaster Recovery

QuickBooks Hosting provides automatic backups and disaster recovery, ensuring businesses do not lose financial data during a hardware failure or other disaster. The cloud hosting providers who gave this service typically use advanced backup technologies, such as incremental backups, to ensure data is backed up efficiently and securely. Furthermore, they offer disaster recovery plans to ensure businesses can quickly recover from any potential disaster.

Similarly, QuickBooks Online also provides automatic backups, but businesses have limited control over the backup process. Also, companies must have a reliable internet connection to ensure successful backups. Furthermore, QuickBooks Online does not provide disaster recovery services, which means that businesses may need to take additional steps to ensure that they can recover from a disaster.

7. Maintenance and Upgrades

In QuickBooks Hosting, the cloud hosting provider handles all maintenance and upgrades for the software, ensuring that businesses always have access to the latest version of QuickBooks. They eliminate the need for companies to worry about upgrading or maintaining their software, which can be time-consuming and costly. Additionally, they provide technical support and troubleshooting services to help businesses resolve any issues that may arise.

On the other hand, QuickBooks Online also handles maintenance and upgrades, but businesses may not have control over when updates occur or may experience issues with new updates. Additionally, technical support may not be as personalized or specialized as with QuickBooks hosting providers.

8. Performance

QuickBooks Hosting leverages the power of remote servers designed specifically for hosting desktop applications, resulting in faster processing times and improved performance. The solution promises high-performance servers with advanced processors, memory, and storage to ensure that QuickBooks runs smoothly and efficiently. Furthermore, it offers dedicated resources for each user, which provides that resources are not shared among other users, leading to better performance.

On the other hand, QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based solution that relies heavily on internet connectivity. Slow internet speeds or connectivity issues can delay data processing and reduce system responsiveness. Furthermore, QBO is a shared cloud environment, which means that system resources are shared among all users, leading to potential performance issues during peak usage times.

 9. Scalability

QuickBooks Hosting offers greater scalability than QuickBooks Online. It gives businesses the ability to scale their accounting software as their business grows, with the ability to add or remove users and features as needed. On the other hand, QBO also offers some scalability options, but companies are limited in the number of users or features available at each pricing tier.

Differences Between QuickBooks Hosting and QuickBooks Online

To give you a clear picture, here’s a feature-wise comparison table below that provides critical differences between the two cloud accounting solutions:

Features QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Hosting
Accessibility Accessible through the web browser Accessible through desktop icon
Technical support Fixed timing provided by Intuit Always-on support provided by the third-party provider
User interface and customization Features and user experience different than QuickBooks Desktop Same features and user experience as QuickBooks Desktop
Supported versions QuickBooks Online QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Accountant, POS, and Enterprise
Pricing structure Fixed pricing Scalable pricing structure
Additional application hosting Yes Yes
Manage and pay bills Not available with the basic plan Yes
Number of users who can access QuickBooks simultaneously 1 with a basic plan. Maximum 25 users on higher plans Unlimited users (but the maximum number of simultaneous users depends on QB version)
User permission control Not available with the basic plan Yes
Backup and disaster recovery Yes (limited) Yes
Better lead and inventory center No Yes
Create and send a purchase order Not available with the basic plan Yes
Payroll function Available via Add-on Available via Add-on
Inventory management Not available with the basic plan Yes
All QuickBooks Desktop features No Yes
Shipping manager No Yes
Processing speed Slower than QuickBooks Hosting Faster (depending on the server)

What Are the Similarities Between QuickBooks Online & QuickBooks Hosting?

QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting share several similarities in terms of functionality and benefits. Here are some key similarities between the two:

1. Cloud-Based Access: Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting are cloud-based solutions, allowing users to access their accounting software and data through an internet connection. This enables remote accessibility, flexibility, and real-time collaboration.

2. Multi-User Support: Both options support multiple users accessing the same company file simultaneously. This facilitates teamwork and collaboration, allowing different team members to work on accounting tasks concurrently.

3. Automatic Data Backup: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting providers typically offer automatic data backup features. This ensures that your financial data is securely backed up on a regular basis, protecting against data loss due to hardware failures, accidents, or disasters.

4. Scalability: Both options offer scalability, allowing businesses to adjust their computing resources as their needs change. Whether you need to accommodate growing business requirements or seasonal fluctuations, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting can easily scale up or down to meet your needs.

5. Data Security: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting prioritize data security. They implement robust security measures such as encryption, firewalls, and regular security updates to protect sensitive financial information from unauthorized access.

Which Cloud Accounting Solution Should You Choose?

In conclusion, both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting have advantages, and deciding which one to choose depends on your business needs. Yet, for companies that require advanced customization, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, QuickBooks Hosting is the better choice. It is a more robust and comprehensive accounting solution that can help businesses improve their financial operations, make better decisions, and achieve long-term growth and success.

If you have any further inquiries about QuickBooks Hosting or want to learn more about how it can benefit your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experts can provide personalized recommendations based on your unique needs and help you choose the best hosting plan for your business.


Q: Which one is more suitable for businesses with multiple locations or remote teams?
QuickBooks Hosting is generally more suitable for businesses with multiple locations or remote teams. Since the software and data are hosted on a cloud server, it allows users to access QuickBooks from any location and using any device with an internet connection. This flexibility enables seamless collaboration and real-time access to the most up-to-date financial information, regardless of physical location.

Q: What are the cost differences between QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting?
QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting have different cost structures. QuickBooks Online typically operates on a subscription-based model, where users pay a monthly fee based on the plan and features they choose. The cost is predictable and may vary depending on the number of users and additional services required. QuickBooks Hosting, on the other hand, involves paying for both the hosting service and the QuickBooks software license.

Q: Which option offers better scalability for growing businesses?
Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting offer scalability, but QuickBooks Hosting often provides more flexibility for growing businesses. Hosting providers typically offer scalable solutions, allowing businesses to easily adjust their computing resources as their needs change.

Q: What about data security? Which option is more secure?
Both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting prioritize data security, but the level of security can vary. QuickBooks Online, as a cloud-based solution, typically includes robust security measures implemented by Intuit. This includes encryption, firewalls, data backups, and other safeguards to protect your financial information. QuickBooks Hosting providers also implement their own security measures, including encryption, access controls, regular backups, and server-level protections.

Q: Can I use third-party integrations with both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting?
Yes, both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Hosting support third-party integrations. QuickBooks Online has an extensive ecosystem of integrations and add-ons that can enhance its functionality, allowing you to connect with various business tools, such as CRM systems, payment processors, e-commerce platforms, and more. QuickBooks Hosting also supports third-party integrations, although the availability of integrations may depend on the specific hosting provider.

Q: Which option requires less IT maintenance and management?
QuickBooks Online requires less IT maintenance and management compared to QuickBooks Hosting. With QuickBooks Online, the responsibility for server maintenance, software updates, backups, and other technical aspects lies with Intuit as the service provider. This allows businesses to focus on their accounting tasks without the need for extensive IT expertise.

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