What is the difference between RStudio Desktop, RStudio Workbench, and RStudio Server?


RStudio Desktop is an R IDE that works with the version of R you have installed on your local Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux workstation.  RStudio Desktop is a standalone desktop application that in no way requires RStudio Workbench or RStudio Server. (That said, RStudio Desktop Pro can be used as a remote desktop to launch sessions on RStudio Workbench (previously RStudio Server Pro), as described in this blog post: )

RStudio Workbench and RStudio Server are Linux server applications that provide a web-browser-based interface to the version of R running on the server. You may want RStudio Workbench or RStudio Server to:

  • access larger CPU and memory footprints
  • leverage compute resources more efficiently
  • control access to data in a centralized manner
  • ensure the R package versions used are standardized

RStudio Workbench provides Enterprise-ready tools like authentication, high-availability and load balancing, multiple versions of R, multiple R sessions per user, security features, and more.

For more on the different RStudio IDE options, see