SharePoint Online vs on premise

If you want to implement SharePoint in your organization, the first thing comes to mind is SharePoint Online or on-premise? In this blog post, we will discuss in detail sharepoint online vs on premise.

What is the difference between SharePoint Online and on premise? The main difference between SharePoint Online and on-premise is the installation and maintenance. For SharePoint on-premise use, you need to install everything in your premises including the servers, your IT team will take care of the installation, updates, and patches. In the case of SharePoint Online, everything will reside in the Microsoft cloud (Office 365) and Microsoft will take care of installation, updates, patches, etc. In the case of SharePoint Online, you can save a lot of costs in terms of hardware and can save lots of money as you do not need an additional IT team or SharePoint admin team.

SharePoint Online vs on premise
SharePoint Online vs on premise

As an organization, if you want to implement SharePoint then you need to know whether you should go for SharePoint Online Office 365 or you should go for SharePoint on-premises versions like SharePoint 2019 or SharePoint 2016.

Well, there are a lot of things to consider based on the implementation scenario like if you are previously using any SharePoint version or if you are going to implement SharePoint newly in your organization.

Microsoft is providing a lot of benefits in SharePoint Online Office 365 compared to the on-premises versions but still, there are a lot of organizations who are not ready to move to SharePoint Online.

Some companies do not want to move their SharePoint on-premises data to the cloud because of security-related restrictions in the organization. Also, some organizations do not want to move to the cloud because of the existing solutions which are working fine.

Because the SharePoint server object model code or the solutions, developed in the legacy SharePoint versions are not supported in the SharePoint cloud or SharePoint online.

SharePoint on premise

  • You need an IT team to manage your servers and SharePoint farm because in on-premise or in your corporate network, the SharePoint farm needs to be hosted in your organization.
  • The organization’s IT team will be responsible for future updates, patches, and maintenance of the servers. They also need to maintain the organization’s active directory.
  • In SharePoint on-premise you will get full access to SharePoint, anything you can use and customize in SharePoint.

Below are the on-premise versions released by Microsoft till now.

VersionFree VersionPaid VersionYear
1.0STS (SharePoint Team Services)SPS 2001(SharePoint Product Services)2001
2.0WSS 2.0SPS 20032003
3.0WSS 3.0Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 20072006
2010SharePoint Foundation ServerSharePoint Server 20102010
2013SharePoint Foundation ServerSharePoint Server 20132013
2016         XXXXXXSharePoint Server 20162016
2019         XXXXXXSharePoint Server 20192016

SharePoint Online

  • In SharePoint Online, SharePoint is hosted in Microsoft data centers. Microsoft engineers will be responsible for the maintenance of the servers including patches and updates.
  • Microsoft ensures 99.99% uptime.
  • No server-side code is allowed in SharePoint Online, you can use client-side object model code (CSOM SharePoint), SharePoint Apps or SPFx.

SharePoint online vs on premise

Let us know the difference between sharepoint online and sharepoint on premise. Below are a few of the factors we need to consider, or it depends:

1. Cost to maintain SharePoint farm

In the case of SharePoint on-premises, your organization will be fully responsible for building, configuring, and managing its own SharePoint environment. The whole SharePoint server is within your corporate network. So, there is a cost associated with hardware, software, licensing, etc.

In this case, you need an IT team or a SharePoint team to maintain the SharePoint farm (servers) which includes regularly applying the patches and updates from Microsoft.

So, in this case, if your SharePoint farm increases or if it is a large firm then you require more resources to maintain the SharePoint servers which ultimately increases the cost.

But on the other hand, if you are using SharePoint Online which is a part of Office 365 the cloud solution from Microsoft, then you can reduce the cost.

The services available in Office 365 are hosted outside your organization, and Microsoft cloud is fully maintained by Microsoft. Users can access all the services online without any headache of maintaining anything on-premise. So, there will be no headache of on-premise server maintenance, patching or update activities, etc.

The cloud service Office 365 is available on a subscription-based from Microsoft. Users can opt for monthly or annual plans. It has plans for different types of use like Personal, Home, Business & Student. Users can subscribe according to their requirements and then they can access the service from anywhere on any device with an internet connection.

Office 365 was available to the public in June 2011. Office 365 provides services like Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access) as well as other services like One Drive for business, Exchange Online, Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer, etc.

2. Data Storage

Where your data is storing? A lot of companies asked this question. There are companies that do not want to move their data to the cloud because of legal or compliance issues. In those cases, the Organization has the only option to go for SharePoint on-premises because SharePoint Online data will be stored on the cloud.

With saying this, Microsoft has implemented a lot of securities in the cloud as well as it has the highest number of certificates compared to the other cloud providers. Means Data in Microsoft cloud or in Microsoft data centers is secure. It has industry-specific security standards.

3. SharePoint Migration

If any organization is already using SharePoint, then they got little afraid to migrate to SharePoint Online. Because when you are using any SharePoint on-premises versions, then you might have been already using the SharePoint server-side code or any 3rd party component which is working fine in your existing environment, but these things might not be supported in SharePoint Online directly. But most of the things will be supported if you are upgrading to a newer version of SharePoint on-premises.

If you are using SharePoint custom solutions or the server-side object model code, then this will not be supported on SharePoint online, for this, you have to redevelop the component using any client-side technologies like SharePoint Apps or SPFx development model.

It really required more planning and effort, if you want to migrate your on-premises content to SharePoint Online, compare to SharePoint on-premises to on-premises migration.

Because there is no direct approach of migrating from the SharePoint online version to SharePoint online.

But one thing we have to remember is that if you are using SharePoint online version then we do not need to migrate, but if you are using SharePoint on-premises versions then at some point in time you have to think to migrate or upgrade to the next SharePoint version. Because every SharePoint version also has an end of support time frame.

4. New Features Availability

In Office 365 SharePoint Online, you will get regular updates and new features but in the case of SharePoint On-premises, it will be available on later dates.

5. Availability

In the case of Office 365 SharePoint online, it is SLA with 99.9% availability. Almost no downtime. But in the case of SharePoint on-premises, it depends on your internal team and capabilities.

6. Speed

In the case of SharePoint on-premises, the speed of your SharePoint sites depends on your local infrastructure but in the case of SharePoint Online, It depends on a global network of data centers that provides lower latency and high bandwidth.

In the case of SharePoint on-premises, if your userbase increases then you need to put in additional servers which will cost you additional hardware, software, or licensing required for SharePoint, but in SharePoint online, you can just take licenses for those additional users.

One of the advantages that you will get in SharePoint on-premises is that you can run the SharePoint server-side code which is totally restricted in SharePoint Online. Also, as an organization, you can use your own active directory for authentication.

The Next Go Hybrid Feature

With all these problems Microsoft comes with a hybrid feature from SharePoint 2016. In those cases, some data will be on SharePoint on-premises and something will be on SharePoint online.

In the case of the hybrid model, your data will be on SharePoint on-premises or within your organization but still, you can take benefits of Office 365 features.

Cloud hybrid search offers users the ability to seamlessly discover relevant information across on-premises and Office 365 content. With the cloud hybrid search solution, you index all your crawled content, including on-premises content, in your search index in Office 365.

When users query your search index in Office 365, they get unified search results from both on-premises and Office 365 cloud services with combined search relevancy ranking.

So, to choose from the two, you need to think about the current as well as future planned needs of your organization.

  • What level of control and segregation is required for the data within my environment?
  • What types of service-level agreements (SLAs) are in place for the data within my organization?
  • Do we have the internal resources needed to support our environment?
  • What types of customizations and custom code will need to be supported within our environment?

Office 365 provides a SharePoint feature in terms of SharePoint online. SharePoint Online is a perfect tool for collaboration, document management, etc. for your organization.

You can create sites in less than a minute for your team to collaborate, maintain documents, and work with lists, announcements, blogs, etc.

Take advantage of check-in, and check-out features, see various versions of documents, etc. You can share your documents with external users also in SharePoint Online.

SharePoint online is tightly integrated with Office products, you can work with a word document and then publish to SharePoint online directly from word. Apart from these, there is a number of advantages of SharePoint online.

SharePoint Online vs on premise 2019

Now let us check out SharePoint Online vs SharePoint 2019.

As we know Microsoft has already released the newer version of SharePoint on-premise ie SharePoint server 2019 with a set of new features.

  • In SharePoint 2019 Microsoft released the modern experience which is completely responsive and flexible and looks great on all the devices like Mobile, Desktop, or Tablet. Easily and very quickly, you can create modern team sites, communication sites as well as you can create and publish pages.
  • Also, you will get the modern list and library experience in SharePoint server 2019, and these features are also available in SharePoint Online. There are lots of new features in the modern SharePoint list.
  • SharePoint 2019 supports large files, you can upload up to 15 GB file size. It also supports special characters in files and folder names in document libraries like # and %.
  • The maximum length of the URL path also increased from 260 Unicode characters to 400.

SharePoint Online vs on premise (Video tutorial)

I have also created a video tutorial on SharePoint online vs on-premise.

YouTube video

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