This tutorial gives a fundamental overview on the main differences between SharePoint Online and SharePoint On Premises.

Let’s start by taking a glance at the different environments requirements to run Online vs On Premises:

SharePoint Environments :

With any on-premise vs cloud based comparison, one of the prime differences is the affect on internal resources. On-premise solutions need an internal IT support & help structure inclusive of hardware, software, and people or the usage of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Cloud based solutions decrease the dependency & reliability on internal resources and generally provide world-wide deployed failover and redundancy functions & features.

On Premises


  • The SharePoint server farm is within the corporate network.
  • The SharePoint sites reside in the Microsoft Data Centre (MDC).
  • The IT Support team maintains the SharePoint farm and regularly applies Microsoft patches and updates.
  • Microsoft applies the patch regularly.
  • On premise Active directory is used for authentication.
  • Microsoft’s SLA ensures 99.9% availability.?
  • Full access to use and customize any SharePoint feature as needed.
  • Microsoft’s global network of data centers provides reduced latency and high network bandwidth.
  • Availability of Enterprise level services such as BCS, Performance Point, etc.
  • Support for Client Side Object & App model.


Feature Comparisons :

When the fundamental functionality of SharePoint is same, there are many other significant feature variations between On Premises and Online:

Category On Premises Online
Cost Involved Purchase/Maintain Hardware, Software licenses etc. Annual subscriptions for Office 365 Plans billed on a per user basis.
Infrastructure deployment & maintenance IT Support Team to deploy/manage farm, latest updates or patches not always deployed. Microsoft manages the environment and ensures all updates and patches are deployed.
Business Continuity (BC) Dependent on internal capabilities. Microsoft built-in redundancy and failover for data centers, but does not provide end user backups or data recovery.
Product Features Support for enterprise feature, Office web App (OWA) needs to be installed Missing or limited features, pre-configured features
Customization Options Full support for server side code and client side code, App usage from OAC and SAS Full Support- Client Side, Limited Support-Server side, Can use Apps from OAC or SAS
Information Security Dependent on internal capabilities. Information in MDS meets industry-specific security standards
Compliance Standard Dependent on internal capabilities. Verified by third party authors
Storage needs Expensive storage devices, Site Collection -More than 100GB, Scalable Storage Size Cheap storage cost, Site Collection- up to 100Gb, Maximum content in single tenant -O365 plan based
Development Full trust solution can be deployed- Features in farm solutions can have scope as wide as the site collection, web application, or whole farmPublic facing website with much of customization is possibleCustom “Managed Path” allowedMore control can be delegated to power users Full trust solution cannot be deployed- Only Sandbox solutions possible with scope up to the site collection levelPublic facing website with much of customization is not possibleCustom “Managed Path” allowedMore control cannot be delegated to power users and maxim privilege level is Site Collection level.


Technical Comparisons :

In conjunction to business features, there are many differences from the technical aspects as well:

Services Online On Premises
Search Limited access to query Full text Query
InfoPath Form Services Only in E3, E4 and K1 plans Required License to use InfoPath Form Services
Claim Bases Authentication N/A Can use SQL , LDAP and AD authentication
Managed Accounts N/A Provides a Managed Account to user at access the SP Admin Services
Usage reporting and Logging N/A Provides LOGS and Reporting to check the exceptions and System Report.
Alternate Access Mapping N/A Provides a map requests where the URL of a Web request received by Internet Information Services (IIS) differs from the URL that was typed by a user
SharePoint Health Analyser N/A Site collection pre-upgrade health check examines a site collection and then generates a report listing ay potential upgrade issues and how to address the issues


Pros and Cons :

SharePoint On Premises


Pros Cons
Control Performance Cost of internal resources (staff, hardware, software, etc)
Scale Up and Scale Out Additional Geographic redundancy costs
Reduces Bandwidth requirements Disaster Recovery dependent on internal capabilities
Fully Customizable Scale Up/Out Cost( SW/HW)
Full Server and SQL Database Patching Servers/farms
Migrate as Needed Extra configurations for External Collaboration
Seamless Single Sign on with Corporate Active Directory


SharePoint Online


Pros Cons
Uptime 99.99% More ISP Bandwidth
Multiple Data centers Limited Customizations
Geographically redundant Possible Storage Costs
Shorted release cycle Recovery SLAs
Managed Services ( SaaS) No Server access
Pay as you go ( Low Cost )
Reduced impact on internal IT resources

Irrespective of the solution you choose to use, the one on premises or SharePoint Online, you require to ensure to backup your data. Irrespective of your data location, you need a regular routine backup.

One thing is truly sure that, it is comparatively easier to backup cloud data using a third party solution ( As it enables you to automatically frequently conduct of your cloud data backup) and that is always available in case of data loss due to any reason.


Kristin is a content strategist at Techarex Networks. Kristin follows the B2B technology space closely and loves to write on the latest changes in technology, futuretech and fixes for day to day how to issues. Besides writing Kristin also loves music, moves and skating.

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