Self-hosted vs. Cloud-hosted NetBird

NetBird can be used in two ways: self-hosted and cloud-hosted (SaaS). The self-hosted version is a standalone version that can be installed on your own servers while the cloud-hosted version is a SaaS (Software as a Service) that is hosted on our servers.

Often times, the question arises: what is the difference between the two? This post gives a short overview of the differences between the two versions.

Installation and Maintenance

NetBird platform is a combination of multiple components that make it possible for machines to establish direct point-to-point connections and for network administrators to manage the network, e.g., control network access.

When running the self-hosted version, you are responsible for installing and maintaining all the components as well as backing up and securing the data. The cloud-hosted NetBird only requires you to install the client software (NetBird agent) on your machines and log them in to the network. The cloud-hosted version is more suitable for organizations that want a hassle-free solution that is easy to set up and maintain.


While the self-hosted and cloud-hosted versions share the same core connectivity features, the cloud-hosted version has some additional features that are targeted at business customers and help with network automation and management. These features include:

Geo Distributed Relay Servers

NetBird uses relay servers to establish connections between machines when a direct point-to-point connections isn't possible.

When using the cloud-hosted version, you benefit from the geo-distributed relay server clusters that are located in multiple regions around the world ensuring that your machines can always establish a connection. The NetBird agents pick the closest relay server.

When using the self-hosted version, you need to set up your own relay servers. This a complex task and requires additional maintenance effort.

Highly Available Management Layer

When using the cloud-hosted version, you benefit from highly available control plane servers (Management) providing stability for your critical network infrastructure.

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