RStudio Connect, Shiny Server Pro, and Shinyapps.io are all products used to share content created by R users. All three of these have features that make hosting Shiny applications a great end user experience. Choosing the right product depends on what you want to publish and how you want to it published.
|Product||Installed or Hosted||Push Button Publishing||
|Python Content (Jupyter, Flask, Dash)||Plumber
|RStudio Connect||Installed||●||●||● (1)||● (1)||●|
|Shiny Server Pro||Installed||●||●|
(1) Supports advanced features for refreshing, scheduling, and distributing documents
(2) Only when using runtime: shiny in the YAML header
RStudio Connect is a publishing platform for all the work your teams create in R and Python. Share Shiny and Dash applications, R Markdown reports and Jupyter Notebooks, dashboards, plots, Plumber and Flask APIs, and more in one convenient place. Use push-button or git-backed deployment, scheduled execution of reports, and flexible security policies to bring the power of data science to your entire enterprise. RStudio Connect is software that you run behind your firewall.
Consider RStudio Connect if you can answer yes to these questions:
- Do you want push button or git-backed publishing?
- Do you want to publish R Markdown documents, Plumber API's, and Python Content in addition to Shiny applications?
- Do you want a user interface so that content creators can manage their own data products?
Shiny Server Pro (and open source Shiny Server) is designed to only host shiny applications. The lack of push button publishing and a user interface typically requires IT administration for publishing and maintaining apps. Shiny Server Pro is software that you run behind your firewall.
Consider Shiny Server Pro if you can answer yes to all of these questions:
- Do you want to deploy apps without push button publishing?
- Do you want to manage apps with configuration files rather than a UI?
- Do you feel comfortable manually managing and updating the R packages used by your apps?
- Are you only interested in sharing Shiny and apps (and not other data products)?
- Do you want concurrent user licensing?
Shinyapps.io is a software as a service (PaaS) hosted in the cloud by RStudio. It has both free and paid plans. Anyone can publish their Shiny apps to shinyapps.io with the push of a button. You don’t need to own a server or know how to configure a firewall to deploy and manage your applications in the cloud. No hardware, installation, or annual purchase contract required. Shinyapps.io is software that RStudio hosts for you in the cloud.
Use Shinyapps.io if you can answer yes to all of these questions:
- Are you okay with your application being outside your firewall?
- Are you okay with the data that the application is pulling from being accessible to our cloud?
(You have to open up a hole in your firewall if the data is behind the firewall today.)
- Are you okay with your end client creating a user account on shinyapps.io (if you are looking to use authentication).
- Are you okay with a shared computation platform for your analyses? (for example, we don’t have any SLAs today on performance)