The Complete Beginner’s Guide To QuickBooks Hosting
It’s no secret that when it comes to companies with complex accounting needs, QuickBooks Online doesn’t hold a candle to its locally installed forbearer. Forums, social media, and accounting sites are rife with questions and complaints: “I just want the software I love accessible from anywhere! How hard can it be?”
Harder than you think. Hosting providers have to deal with a number of challenges when it comes to QuickBooks, and they generally come down to the fact that it was never intended to be a cloud-based program. But the demand is there, and many companies have risen to the challenge.
It’s worth noting that hosting QuickBooks is a much more expensive proposition than subscribing to QuickBooks Online, especially if you want multiple users to be able to access the program simultaneously. Nonetheless, if you want the benefits of the traditional QuickBooks software in a more mobile and accessible format, QuickBooks hosting is the way to go. Using a hosting service, you can access QuickBooks for Windows from a Mac, a computer running Linux, even a tablet or phone. While the interface isn’t optimized for mobile use, it’s still workable – and the sheer number of hosting providers who’ve partnered with Intuit says something about how many companies have found hosting services a worthwhile option.
We’ll take a quick look at what’s out there, as well as the questions you need to ask when considering a solution.
Table of Contents
- What Is QuickBooks Hosting?
- The Benefits Of QuickBooks Hosting
- The Drawbacks Of QuickBooks Hosting
- How Much Does QuickBooks Hosting Cost?
- The 6 Best QuickBooks Hosting Providers
- How To Choose A QuickBooks Hosting Service
- When Should I Use QuickBooks Online Instead Of QuickBooks Hosting?
- QuickBooks Hosting FAQs
What Is QuickBooks Hosting?
If you use QuickBooks Desktop, you’ve downloaded the software onto your computer. In other words, that computer is your sole way of accessing the software. Sure, you can overcome this mobility issue with QuickBooks Online, but this isn’t always the best option. Maybe you’ve already invested in QuickBooks Desktop and want to get the most out of your investment. Or maybe QuickBooks Desktop has a critical feature or two that you won’t find with QBO. Do you really have to sacrifice mobility in order to use your preferred software? Not with QuickBooks hosting.
Hosting allows you to store your software and data files on a third-party company’s cloud server. This means that you can access your QuickBooks Desktop software — and all the data stored within — from anywhere, whether it’s your computer at home or the office or a mobile device. QuickBooks hosting allows you to continue using the software you love without mobility limitations.
The Benefits Of QuickBooks Hosting
So, why should you consider investing more money in QuickBooks hosting? Why not just sign up for QuickBooks Online? There are a number of benefits to QuickBooks hosting:
- Access QuickBooks Anywhere
- Improved Collaboration
- Keeps Data Safe
- Lowers IT Costs
Access QuickBooks Anywhere
For many small business owners, this is the selling point of QuickBooks hosting: you can access QuickBooks from anywhere. No longer do you have to be worried about being tethered to one computer. Need to perform an accounting task on the go? No problem — with QuickBooks hosting, you can access your software with your smartphone or tablet. Use a Mac at home? QuickBooks hosting gives you remote access, so you can easily view your Windows-based software on your other computers and devices.
The mobility offered by QuickBooks hosting is also crucial for businesses that have multiple QuickBooks users. QuickBooks won’t have to be installed on multiple devices, and users aren’t limited in how they access the software. This allows multiple users to access the software whenever they need to from anywhere.
Keeps Data Safe
A lot of private data and information is stored within your accounting software. To prevent losing this data, you may save important reports and data on your computer, or maybe you’ve taken it a step further and have uploaded your information to the cloud. But what happens if you lose your laptop or a disaster impacts your computer — and the important data stored within? From hackers to disasters, it’s important to safeguard your private information. With QuickBooks hosting, a number of safety and security measures are taken to ensure that you — and only you — has access to your data.
Lowers IT Costs
Some businesses opt to have their own private servers for the purpose of hosting QuickBooks. This can get quite spendy when you add in setup fees, maintenance costs, and other expenses. Using a remote server through QuickBooks hosting isn’t free, but it can be far less expensive than having an onsite server.
The Drawbacks Of QuickBooks Hosting
While QuickBooks hosting does offer some pretty big benefits, we would be doing an extreme disservice by not pointing out that there are some drawbacks as well. It’s important to weigh out these pros and cons carefully to determine whether QuickBooks hosting makes sense for your business. Some drawbacks to consider include:
- Hosting Is Expensive
- Outages & Internet Dependency
- UI Issues
Hosting Is Expensive
Let’s get this out of the way first: QuickBooks hosting is pretty expensive. While the mobility offered by QuickBooks Hosting may be invaluable for some businesses, but for others it may be an extra expense that puts a financial strain on the business. Again, consider the needs of your business to determine if the convenience and benefits outweigh the costs.
Outages & Internet Dependency
You need to access your accounting software, but the server is down. Or maybe your internet is slow or not working. In these cases, you won’t be able to access your QuickBooks, which can be a burden. Fortunately, though, Intuit Authorized Hosting Providers have high guaranteed uptimes, so server issues are rare. Having a stable, high-speed internet connection can also prevent issues with accessing your software.
As a user of QuickBooks Desktop, you’re already familiar with the QuickBooks UI. While this may transfer seamlessly across computers, you may face some changes and difficulties when using QuickBooks remotely, such as with your smartphone. QuickBooks Desktop isn’t optimized for usage on your mobile device, but fortunately, you should get the hang of things pretty quickly while still having access to most of QuickBooks Desktop’s great features.
How Much Does QuickBooks Hosting Cost?
While prices for hosting services vary, you’ll generally be looking at something in the ballpark of $40-$55/month/user for a basic plan. You’ll also need a licensed copy of QuickBooks for every user who’ll be accessing the system.
Some companies offer discounts on larger packages (for instance, 5+ users), so if you have a large number of QuickBooks users in your company, it’s worth contacting providers to find out if they offer special pricing. You’ll also want to pay attention to any other charges. Some companies charge a setup fee (usually per user); others do not.
Always make sure to shop around your options and don’t forget to read the fine print for terms, conditions, and additional fees that may not be made transparent from the start.
The 6 Best QuickBooks Hosting Providers
When you’re ready to sign up for QuickBooks hosting, Intuit makes it easy by providing a list of Authorized Hosting Providers. There are two different types of hosting providers to choose from:
- Standard Hosting Providers – If you already have all the QB licenses you need, then you can go to a standard hosting provider. These companies won’t be able to give you a new license if you want to add a new user — you need to deal directly with Intuit for that.
- Commercial Hosting Providers – These are hosting providers that can rent out QuickBooks licenses on a month-by-month basis. Many of them also provide standard hosting services for companies that already have all the licenses they need.
There are more than 30 Intuit-Authorized Hosting Providers:
Intuit-Authorized Standard Hosting Providers
- Cal Net Technology
- CorKat Data Solutions
- eProcess Pros
- Fluid IT Services
- Nerds Support Inc.
- Network Alliance
- Productive Computing
- Supreme Servers
- Tandem CloudTop
- Virtual Systems
Intuit-Authorized Commercial Hosting Providers
- Ace Cloud Hosting
- Cloud Runner
- Cloud9 Real Time
- Infinitely Virtual
- Right Networks
- SKYLINE Cloud Services
- Summit Hosting
As you can see, there are plenty of options, but how do you know what’s right for you? We’ve done our research to help you narrow down your choice. We looked at price, customer reviews, and other features to bring you six of the best QuickBooks hosting options for your business.
Ace Cloud Hosting
Ace Cloud Hosting is an award-winning Authorized QuickBooks Hosting Provider that tops our list for a number of reasons. This service provides hosting for users with an existing QuickBooks license, or you can lease a license for a low monthly rate. If you’re interested in purchasing your own licensed copy of QuickBooks, Ace Cloud Hosting is authorized to sell QuickBooks products and offers discounted pricing.
Standout benefits of Ace Cloud Hosting include a 99.9% guaranteed uptime, free 100-day data backups, and no changes to the QuickBooks UI or usability. Ace Cloud Hosting keeps your data secure by using SSAE-16 Type II (SOC-2) Security audited servers and end-to-end encryption. Ace Cloud Hosting offers pay-as-you-go plans that are scalable to best fit the needs of your business. It also offers round-the-clock support for help whenever you need it. For these reasons, Ace Cloud Hosting has received a number of favorable reviews among its users.
Ace Cloud Hosting lets you try before you buy with a 10-day free trial that doesn’t require a credit card. If you decide to move forward with using this hosting provider, there are a number of pricing plans available that range from $34/month per user for a basic hosting plan to $400+/month for dedicated QuickBooks hosting.
Whether you have a QuickBook license already or you need to lease one, Swizznet has you covered with hosting plans suitable for businesses of all sizes. Bring your own license, or pay a little extra each month for a license rental and hosting. Swizznet has a private server for QuickBooks hosting and boasts 99.95% uptimes, bank-level security, and double backups to protect your data.
Swizznet automatically updates and maintains your QuickBooks. This hosting provider ensures a seamless transition across devices, so it’s easy for you to access your data from anywhere or collaborate with teammates. If you encounter any issues, you’ll be covered with 24/7 “Obsessive Support” to handle your tech problems. User reviews are overall favorable across the web, with users praising Swizznet’s quick setup and fast and helpful support.
Swizznet does not require long-term contracts, and you can give its hosting services a try with a 15-day free trial. Pricing starts at $54.99/month per user if you bring your own QB license up to $114.99/month per user for a QuickBooks Enterprise license rental and hosting. Volume discounts are available, and special pricing is available for CPAs and bookkeeping firms.
Apps4Rent is another top choice for QuickBooks hosting services. You can bring your own software, or you can purchase a license from Apps4Rent at a discounted price. Apps4Rent offers a number of benefits to its users, including preloaded apps and tools, app hosting for QuickBooks at no additional charge, and bank-level security features and tools including Windows Defender.
Apps4Rent features automatic daily data backups and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You can add or remove users as needed with no hassle or upgrade your subscription to best fit the needs of your business. You can also purchase add-ons live Microsoft 365 ProPlus. Apps4Rent offers 24/7 customer support and promises that you’ll receive a response to your queries within 15 minutes. Apps4Rent has received numerous positive reviews, with many people praising the company’s customer service.
You won’t be locked into a lengthy contract with Apps4Rent. Base pricing ranges from $24.95/month to $74.95/month, with the higher-priced plans offering more disk space, custom application installs, and improved support for more users. Additional users can be added for a fee of up to $16/month per user. You can save 10% off the subscription price for any plan by paying annually.
Right Networks is listed among Intuit’s authorized commercial hosting providers, but it has a special relationship with Intuit. If you purchase a hosting option directly from Intuit along with your software, you’ll be working with Right Networks. You can get discounted rates on QB and hosting bundles (though it’s also worth pointing out that Right Networks hosting plans cost more than some of the alternatives).
One benefit to keep in mind is that Intuit and Right Networks conduct product testing together before product launches, which gives them the opportunity to correct problems before you ever see them. Some aspects of customer service are integrated, which can make for a smoother experience when you need to contact tech support. Other benefits include 99.995% uptimes, automatic data backups, free data migration, and enterprise-class security.
Pricing starts at $57/month per user. Two additional plans are available that offer features like additional storage and access to the Right Networks application ecosystem with over 250 apps. No contracts are required, and you can update your subscription easily as needed.
Summit Hosting is another Authorized Hosting Provider to keep on your radar. Over 20,000 users rely on this service for QuickBooks hosting. When you choose Summit Hosting, QuickBooks is hosted on a dedicated server that is customized to best fit the needs of your business. Backups are completed nightly so you don’t have to worry about losing your data. Summit Hosting also performs server maintenance, implements Microsoft updates, and provides virus protection to keep your QuickBooks up-to-date and protected.
Summit Hosting provides 24/7 customer service, which has received overall positive reviews among its users. One of the best things about Summit Hosting is that its pricing plans are easy to understand. Pay one monthly fee with no hidden costs, so there are no surprises on your bill. You can use your own licensed copy of QuickBooks and only pay for hosting, or you can rent a license and bundle it with Summit’s hosting service.
Pricing is $53/month for hosting only. This pricing is the same no matter what version of QuickBooks you use. If you also need to rent a license, pricing for your rental, and hosting bundle starts at $69/month. Summit also offers special promotional pricing for new customers and a free 14-day test drive.
Another hosting service provider to consider is MyVAO. This is a good choice if you don’t have a QuickBooks license and would like to pay one fee for license rental and QuickBooks hosting. All MyVAO QuickBooks hosting plans come with a QuickBooks license, so if you already have a license, look elsewhere, as you may be able to find lower pricing.
If you choose MyVAO as your hosting service, your private data will remain secure as this company uses the highest level of security standards. With over 99% uptime, you won’t have to worry about reliability, either. MyVAO creates daily and weekly backups to protect your data, and all plans allow you to seamlessly use QuickBooks remotely from Mac or PC. A standout feature about MyVAO is that it only offers QuickBooks hosting. Since it doesn’t offer any other tech products, QuickBooks is its main focus, allowing its experts to provide personalized service and tech support.
MyVAO pricing starts at $59.95/user per month. This plan includes hosting and a QuickBooks Pro license rental. For an additional cost, you can receive hosting and a license rental for QuickBooks Premier, QuickBooks Accountant, or QuickBooks Enterprise. A 30-day free trial is available so you can test out the service before you commit.
How To Choose A QuickBooks Hosting Service
There are a number of factors that should go into choosing a hosting provider. Many of the available plans look similar on the surface … but there are some key differences. If you take a look at each of these elements before you make a decision, you can save yourself some regret (and money) in the long run.
Pricing is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing your hosting provider. Of course, you want to make sure that you find an affordable option that won’t put a financial strain on your business. However, you don’t want to just jump for the cheapest plan. What may seem inexpensive on the surface may come with additional hidden costs that drive up the price. You may also end up stuck with a service that doesn’t have strong security features, poor customer support, or lacks the features provided by other hosts. While it’s perfectly fine to have a budget and stick to it, make sure to look at other features (like those on this list) before making your selection.
Contract & Termination
Many QuickBooks hosting providers offer their services on a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go basis. But others include longer-term contracts with penalties for leaving early. And some offer a month-to-month option, but also offer significant discounts if you commit to a year’s subscription right off the bat. Make sure you fully understand the terms of the contract before you sign. Most companies have free trials, or at very least an evaluation period during which you can get a refund if the hosting service does not meet your needs. It’s always a good idea to test the service before making a long-term commitment.
Shared Hosting VS Dedicated Server
Shared hosting is by far the more common option, and for many users, it works just fine. But if you will routinely have a number of users working in QuickBooks at once and have concerns about speed, it may be worth looking into a dedicated server option. A dedicated server is about what it sounds like; it’s dedicated to your company, and no one else is using it.
How running QuickBooks in the cloud affects speed varies widely. Some companies report that the program runs significantly slower than when they had it locally installed; others say it runs noticeably faster. It’s not a bad idea to test out the speed — while multiple users are active in the program — during your trial or evaluation period. If you’re consistently having problems with speed, you probably need to upgrade your internet service, switch to a dedicated server, or switch hosting providers.
What is it you’re looking to get out of QuickBooks? Do you need access from tablets and phones? Support for dual monitors? Are there other programs you want to host as well, such as MS Excel or your full MS Office suite? All of these things are possible, but they’re not included in every plan. If you don’t need mobile access, you can save some money with a basic plan that doesn’t support it — just make sure that the plan offers everything you do need.
Reliability & Uptime
One of the most important criteria to consider is the hosting provider’s availability. If your hosting provider’s servers go down, you can’t access QuickBooks or your company file. Read the fine print and understand both the company’s guarantees and its average uptime over the last few years.
A big advantage of using a hosting service is that a great deal of the IT work goes with it. However, that does mean that you’re relying on the hosting provider to help you if anything goes wrong. Many companies offer 24/7 technical support, but some only offer full support during business hours. Consider when you might need help — and whether the company is in your time zone — to narrow down your options. And, as anyone who’s ever dealt with tech support knows, it’s not just availability, but quality, that matters. Check what your proposed hosting company’s users have to say on that score. Were problems fixed quickly? What seems to be the general sentiment regarding the hosting provider’s IT personnel?
Security & Backup
Any Intuit Authorized Hosting Provider is required to meet Intuit’s security standards, and your data is likely to be safe with them. Backup policies vary quite a bit, though, so that’s something you’ll want to investigate before you make your decision. Check both how often your data will be backed up, and how long those backups will be retained. Some providers offer enhanced security measures, such as two-factor identification. If there’s a specific security measure you’re looking for, it’s always a good idea to check with the company before signing up.
Authorized VS Unauthorized
There are companies that offer to host QuickBooks but aren’t an authorized hosting service. Sure, the price may seem right or the company may seem reliable, but there are a few issues to consider. Since these are unauthorized hosts, Intuit will not provide support if anything goes wrong.
Also, any authorized company must meet certain security, customer service, and performance requirements. An unauthorized company has no such obligations, and while they may adhere to high standards in all three areas, they may not.
Finally, while Intuit can inform authorized hosting providers of changes to the program which may require modifications from the hosting end, unauthorized providers are left to their own devices on that count. While some companies have reported positive experiences with unauthorized hosting providers, it’s generally safer to steer clear.
When Should I Use QuickBooks Online Instead Of QuickBooks Hosting?
Intuit has made huge strides with its cloud-based QuickBooks Online over the past couple of years. Many users prefer QBO for its ease of use and its competitive pricing. With QuickBooks Online, mobility isn’t an issue. You can log in anywhere you have internet access without the extra expense of hosting.
However, longtime users of the classic desktop program may find QBO too basic or inefficient for their needs. While paying for hosting services for a locally installed QuickBooks version will cost more than the QBO subscription, there are cases in which it’s money well-spent. If your company is considering shifting all its programs to a hosted service model rather than a locally installed one, the IT and equipment savings can be significant by using a hosting provider.
Final Verdict On QuickBooks Hosting
If you don’t want to trade in your trusty QuickBooks Desktop but you still crave more mobility from your software, QuickBooks hosting may be the solution you’re looking for. The ability to use your software anywhere and collaborate with others more easily without losing the QuickBooks features you’ve come to love could be well worth the additional monthly expense. However, if you aren’t deadset on using QuickBooks Desktop but want a more flexible solution, QuickBooks Online could be the more cost-effective option. Ultimately, it is going to be up to you to determine what’s best for your business. If you do decide that hosting is the best choice, make sure to do your research, compare pricing and costs, and stick with a reputable Authorized QuickBooks Hosting Provider. Good luck!