On-Premise or Cloud-Based Digital Signage Software. Which is Best?

On-Premise or Cloud-Based Digital Signage Software. Which is Best?

Digital signage software is available in two options: cloud-based and on-premise. Firstly, cloud-based digital signage, also known as SaaS (Software as a Service), is delivered as a service and billed monthly. On the other hand, with on-premise digital signage, you purchase licenses and run the solution on your own equipment, including servers and media player software.

Hence, when evaluating different digital signage software, it is important to consider solutions from developers who offer both cloud-based and on-premise options. This is because companies that support both cloud-based and on-premise software options tend to provide more advanced, flexible, and dependable solutions.

Furthermore, the availability of a cloud-based version indicates the software’s resilience and ability to support a large number of users.

Cloud-based digital signage software


  • Cloud-based digital signage solutions require very little upfront investment. Indeed, there are no software licenses to buy. Businesses only pay a small monthly fee for each media player they deploy.
  • There are no servers to purchase or maintain. Consequently, the cloud-based digital signage software provider manages all the backend technology. No backups are required.
  • Businesses can scale their media player footprint as their business grows, or scale back when necessary. They simply add or remove subscriptions as needed.
  • The software is kept updated behind the scenes by the hosted solution provider. No need for local staff to get involved.

Who is it for?

Cloud-based digital signage software, also known as SaaS (Software as a Service), meets the requirements of many businesses.

  • Small and medium-sized operations who are just getting started and have simple needs.
  • Businesses who want to focus on content creation or advertising.
  • Retail stores and restaurants that don’t have their own IT resources to rely on.
  • Professional offices need a simple solution that anyone can use.
  • Those who lack the knowledge or the ability to self-host a digital signage server on their premises.
  • Businesses don’t want to deal with the technical aspects of purchasing and maintaining their own server environment.
  • AV hardware and software integrators who want to offer a turnkey solution to their clients at the best possible cost.

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What about security?

In the past, there were concerns about privacy, security, and data integrity when it comes to cloud-based digital signage. As a result, many business owners preferred self-hosted software because they believed it would be more secure and easier to manage with their own servers. However, as hosting services advanced, businesses became more comfortable with using cloud-based solutions.

Nowadays, cloud-based digital signage has become highly secure, thanks to reputable cloud computing services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS Cloud. These services have become industry standards and provide a high level of security.

When comparing different cloud-based digital signage solutions, it’s important to ask your vendor about their infrastructure hosting. Indeed, choosing a vendor that relies on a well-known cloud computing provider will ensure the security and scalability of your project.

Software As A Service - Saas

Self-Hosted / On-Premise digital signage software


  • On-premise digital signage software solutions aren’t billed monthly like SaaS offerings. The business simply purchases perpetual licenses based on the number of servers and players they require.
  • Businesses retain control of their backend technology. They can use their own servers or one of the many hosting services that cater to corporate clients.
  • They can integrate their self-hosted digital signage server with other systems by taking advantage of API’s and customization.
  • They also have total administrative control and can optimize their digital signage software as needed.

Who is it for?

On-premise, or self-hosted digital signage software, is the preferred option for large corporations.

  • Well established businesses have access to all the resources required to manage their digital signage on-premise.
  • Healthcare providers and related businesses deal with privacy concerns.
  • Companies can self host the digital signage software on their own premises or via their hosted solution partner of choice.
  • Businesses have software developers on staff who can integrate and customize the software to meet specific needs.
  • Banks, financial institutions, and government agencies have strict privacy and security requirements.
  • Digital signage companies and similar businesses who want to resell a hosted solution to their clients.

Most self-hosted software solutions require a single server for a given number of players or devices. Most commonly, server license prices will be based on the number of media player devices that connect to the server. This is called “quota-based pricing”. However, there are other pricing options, which is why you should ask about licensing terms and pricing before you fully commit.


What about annual fees?

On-premise digital signage licenses typically do not include technical support and maintenance fees. However, these services are essential for the proper functioning of your digital signage network, especially when encountering technical issues or requiring assistance.

Moreover, training sessions should not be ignored. Every software has its quirks and hidden features that may require prior knowledge to access. Thereupon, in the case of on-premise digital signage, training becomes even more crucial as it enables your IT team to effectively configure and maintain the solution.

This is particularly important for system administrators who are responsible for user accounts and security. Therefore, when comparing different software options, it’s essential to take into account the cost of training sessions.

Opt-in or opt-out?

It’s important to understand the importance of software updates in digital signage. Indeed, the technology behind it, such as hardware and content, is constantly evolving. Regular updates are necessary to keep up with these advancements and ensure compatibility with new technologies and content formats.

Thus, software maintenance plans are available to help with these updates. In the case of on-premise solutions, you’ll need to pay an annual fee for this service. Additionally, training sessions may be required to familiarize yourself with the software. While some products may need more extensive training, others are more user friendly and require only a few hours of training. Certainly, technical support is key for resolving any issues that may arise. It’s important to consider the cost of support when budgeting for your project. Notably, many cloud-based digital signage software plans include maintenance and support without additional charges.  Notably, many cloud-based digital signage software plans include maintenance and support at no extra cost.

How to make the right choice for your business?

Choosing between cloud-hosted or on-premise digital signage software depends on your business’s specific needs and resources. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  1. Consider the cost implications of your choice. Cloud-hosted solutions usually involve subscription fees. On-premise solutions may require higher upfront expenses for software purchase and installation. Evaluate your budget and decide between one time payment or ongoing subscription fees.
  2. Assess your IT resources. On-premise solutions demand IT resources for software installation and maintenance, whereas cloud-hosted solutions are managed by the provider. If you have an IT team and prefer full control, an on-premise solution may be suitable. However, if you lack IT resources or prefer a hands off approach, a cloud hosted solution might be more appropriate.
  3. Evaluate scalability options. Cloud-hosted solutions are typically more scalable, allowing easy expansion or reduction based on business needs. On-premise solutions may have limitations in scalability due to hardware and infrastructure constraints.
  4. Consider accessibility requirements. Cloud-hosted solutions offer remote accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, while on-premise solutions require physical server access. If you need remote access or multiple users accessing the software from different locations, a cloud-hosted solution could be more convenient.
  5. Assess data security preferences. On-premise solutions provide greater control over data security since the data is stored on your own servers. Cloud-hosted solutions usually have robust security measures, but some businesses may prefer the additional control offered by an on-premise solution.

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In Conclusion

Ultimately, the choice between a cloud-based or self-hosted digital signage solution should come down to a business’s specific needs and budget. Without a doubt, it is important to consider both options carefully before making a decision in order to find the best fit for one’s organization.

Therefore, the chosen solution should offer the features and flexibility required to meet the needs of a business. By carefully considering the pros and cons of each option, businesses can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the best digital signage software for their organization. Additionally, taking the time to evaluate the different solutions will help ensure that the chosen software aligns with the specific requirements and objectives of the business.

About Navori Labs

Navori Labs is a Swiss digital signage company focused on software solutions. The company offers its QL software in the cloud and self-hosted versions to customers worldwide. QL features a robust and highly scalable backend server, a unique user-friendly interface, and powerful media player software. The company’s cloud-based digital signage can be deployed in minutes.

You can install  QL Player software on:

QL on-premise offers all of QL cloud features and offers more administrative control. The software can be deployed on any Windows server, including Microsoft Azure and other popular hosting services.

Get started with Navori today!