Can I Use Windows Server for QuickBooks Multi-User?

Many users have been using QuickBooks Desktop for several years. Some of these long-time users continue to work with older versions of the application that are not supported by Intuit any more. While a certain section of users opts for QuickBooks Online, others look to upgrade to a later version of QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Enterprise. This is because QuickBooks Online lacks many of the features that they need or are familiar with, and supports fewer users as compared to QuickBooks Enterprise. In this writeup, let us explore how to use Windows Server for QuickBooks multi-user capabilities.

Is Windows Server Necessary for QuickBooks Multi-User?

QuickBooks Desktop can be used in the multi-user mode only when it is available to two or more workstations that are a part of the same network. There are different methods of setting up such a network.

Peer to Peer Hosting Method

In this method, QuickBooks is installed on a computer that hosts the company file. The hosting option is turned on for this system. The network is configured in such a way that users can work on the company file directly or use other workstations that are a part of the same network.

Dedicated Hosting Method

Instead of a computer, the company file is available on a server (Windows/ Linux). Users access these files from their workstations that are networked with the server.

Alternate Hosting Method

This is similar to the dedicated hosting method. However, unlike the previous method, QuickBooks is not installed on the server. Another host computer is used to which workstations are connected instead of accessing QuickBooks directly from the server.

While the peer to peer hosting method does not require a server, both dedicated and alternate hosting require servers. While you can use Windows Servers in all cases, Linux servers can be used to host databases only.

How to Set Up Windows Server for QuickBooks Multi-User Access?

Follow the steps below to set up QuickBooks to share data with multiple users on a network.

  • Install your licensed copy of QuickBooks on Windows Server.
  • QuickBooks Database Server Manager will also get installed at this stage to enable file sharing.
  • After choosing Custom and Network install for the install type, proceed with I’ll be using QuickBooks Desktop on this computer, AND I’ll be storing… if you are using the dedicated hosting mode.
  • Set up the folder permissions for QuickBooks on Windows Server.
  • Create a Windows user account with admin rights for managing Database Server Manager on the Windows Server.
  • Scan for company files using the Database Server Manager.
  • Enable Multi-user Access on the Windows Server hosting QuickBooks to allow workstations to access the company files.

What Factors to Consider for Self-Hosting QuickBooks On Windows Server?

Self-hosting QuickBooks on Windows Server for multi-user access can be a challenging task.

  • Not all versions of the QuickBooks application and Database Server Manager are optimized for every version of Windows Server.
  • While Intuit can guide users on how to install QuickBooks Database Server Manager on Windows Server, they do not guarantee its compatibility.
  • If you are upgrading QuickBooks, you might have to switch to a later version of Windows Server, which can be expensive e.g. if you are using QuickBooks 2011 on Windows Server 2008 and you want to upgrade to QuickBooks 2020 than it cannot be installed on the same server. You have to upgrade the Windows server too because QuickBooks 2020 is not supported on Windows Server 2008.
  • Filesystem permissions might have to be updated to prevent conflicts with other software on the server.
  • Depending on the hosting method, you might have to keep a user always logged in on the server to ensure that other users are not locked out if the first user mistakenly selects the single-user mode.

Apps4Rent Can Host QuickBooks On Cloud with Windows Server

Self-hosting QuickBooks on Windows Server for multi-user access may not be the best option for all businesses. It is complex, expensive, and often error prone. While QuickBooks Online is a more affordable option, it is less powerful than the desktop counterpart. As an alternative, you can host QuickBooks on the cloud with Apps4Rent, which is an Intuit Authorized Hosting Provider. Our QuickBooks hosting experts available 24/7/365 via phone, chat, and email, can set up QuickBooks on SSAE16 certified datacenters at significantly lower rates than standing up your own infrastructure for enabling multi-user access. Contact us today to know more about our hosting plans.

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