What version of Microsoft Project do I need?

Updated July 24, 2023

Choosing the right version of Microsoft Project is important, but it can be challenging. Before we can decide on what version we need, we should first assess our business needs, look at and compare features and pricing, and then move on to choosing the version that will work best for your team.

Microsoft Project has significantly evolved over time, but for the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on the latest versions available as of 2023. Widely known versions are; Microsoft Project for the web, Microsoft Project Online, and Microsoft Project Server. There are a number of things to consider when trying to decide which version would work best.

Microsoft offers a few plan options for cloud-based solutions as well as for On-premises solutions for Project Standard 2021 and Project Professional 2021 for a one-time fee. All of these platforms offer great capabilities and functions. However, when choosing one over the other, it’s important to consider and discuss each platform individually and look at a side-by-side comparison of solutions and costs.

Project for the web

Project for the web is the most recent cloud-based version that includes strong capabilities for project management as well as team users managing work, large or small. Furthermore, it allows us to work in a grid (list) board as well as timeline (Gantt) view.

Project for the web Plans

Project for the web can be purchased through plan 1, plan 3, and plan 5, which are billed on a monthly basis. Each of these plans focuses on specific capabilities and also shares a lot of the same capabilities looking from the higher plan down. It is important to note that Project for the web is part of the Microsoft Project product family, including Project Online Desktop Client, Project Online, Project Server, and Project Desktop.

Project for the web Capabilities

  • Project Home – this feature provides a high-level overview of the project roadmaps that require the most focus. Another great feature is the ability to select project favorites so they can be easily accessed later.
  • Roadmap – this is a great feature that allows you to view projects and focus on business forecasting goals. Additionally, users can connect to projects across the organization and use tools that fit their needs best. Sort projects and highlight the most important work for each user individually.
  • A simplified yet functional project management experience – the new look and feel of Project for the web makes it easy for users to create new projects, assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and more.


  • Modern, user-friendly interface for easy adoption and quick onboarding.
  • Cloud-based, enabling real-time collaboration and accessibility from anywhere.
  • Offers grid, board, and timeline views for various project management styles.
  • Integrates smoothly with other Microsoft 365 apps like Teams and Power BI.


  • Some advanced project management features available in other versions might be limited or not present.
  • Cost can add up with multiple users and specific plan requirements.


Common questions asked when making a decision which Project version fits best for my business needs:

  • Can I use Project for the web and Project Online side-by-side?
    • Yes, in most cases it is a best practice. We recommend continuing to manage existing projects until they are completed. Then create new projects in the Project for the web as it meets your business needs.
  • Can I migrate from Project Online to Project for the web?
    • For some customers, a direct migration from Project Online to Project for the web will be the right course. This will depend on your existing Project Online environment’s complexity, customization, and size, including configuration, add-ons, custom code, and integrations. At some point, Microsoft will provide native migration tools to move project data. Said tools will work best for standard deployments, e.g., without custom code or integrations.If your existing Project Online environment is more complex, Advisicon can help you determine the best way to transition from Project Online to Project for the web.
  • Is Project Online going to retire any time soon?
    • Though there has not been a formal announcement, Microsoft is signaling that Project Online will be retired. At this time, there is no date to limit the functionality of Project Online, but Microsoft is encouraging customers to plan their transition as soon as possible. You can continue to use your existing Project Online environment confidently while you plan a transition to Project for the web. You can start your move as soon as it makes sense for your business.
  • Power BI reports usage with Project for the web and Project Online.
    • Both version work well with Power BI and/or Power Automate. You can use the Power BI Desktop template file, which has reports that aggregate data from both Project for the web and Project Online.

Project Online

A separate service that offers portfolio and project management features online. Project Web App is also known as PWA. Project Online is built on Microsoft SharePoint. As of July 2023, Microsoft has not announced retiring Project Online. They have stated that they will continue to provide key performance and security improvements for Project Online and remain deeply committed to providing the full support you need and expect, so you can continue to use and invest with confidence in Microsoft Project.

However, they have also stated that going forward, all innovation will occur in Project for the web and are encouraging customers to start planning their transition.

Project Online Plans

Project Online can be purchased through monthly billing plans; Plan 1, 3, and 5.

  • Plan 5; includes all options that Plan 3 includes, plus three additional functionalities; Demand Management, Enterprise resource management, and portfolio analysis and optimization.
  • Plan 3; includes the following functionalities; planning, status tracking, scheduling, and costing. Collaborate with users from anywhere. Assign resources with resource management. Each license offers up to 5 concurrent installations of the Project Online desktop app. Furthermore, this version allows you to connect to either Project Online or Microsoft Project Server.
  • Plan 1; allows you to start quickly and control projects. Offers easy planning and status tracking. Collaborate with users from anywhere.

Project Online Capabilities

  • Project Client – allows to connect to PWA and to save and publish projects. Publishing project allows us to keep the latest project on the client but also keep the Project on the web project updated as well.
  • Project Intake – inside this feature, you’ll discover different options such as; application development, Agile, Enforcement, Infrastructure, New Product Development, SharePoint Task Lists, Enterprise Project, Program, Facilities Management, and New Construction.


  • Extensive set of project management features suitable for complex and large-scale projects.
  • Cloud-based, facilitating collaboration among distributed teams.
  • Provides advanced portfolio management and resource planning capabilities.
  • Offers multiple plan options to match varying organizational needs.


  • Can be complex for smaller teams or projects, leading to a steeper learning curve.
  • Subscription costs may be higher, especially for plans with advanced functionalities.


Microsoft Project Server

A flexible on-premise solution. This powerful platform offers so many capabilities; utilize smart solutions, manage resources effectively, collaborate quickly, communicate instantly, simplify IT, take action, increase agility, and more.

Project Server Plans

Microsoft project solutions for on-premises are available through Microsoft Volume Licensing. Project Server 2019 is licensed using a server/CAL (client access license) model. Microsoft Project and portfolio management solutions require a Project Server 2019 license for each running instance of the software, and CALs are required for each person or device accessing a Project Server.

Project Server Capabilities

  • Management across tasks; flexibility and visibility allow for efficient and successful project management.
  • Demand Management; apply governance and streamline projects.
  • Time and task management; use efficient and centralized method to report time and task management.
  • Schedule Management; efficiently deliver successful projects on time while tracking progress and managing change.
  • Resource Management; deliver successful results by managing surplus and deficits across the board.
  • Advanced portfolio management.


  • Ideal for enterprises requiring full control over data and security with on-premises solutions.
  • Offers in-depth project and portfolio management capabilities.
  • Customizable to meet specific organizational needs and integration requirements.
  • Suitable for industries with stringent compliance and regulatory requirements.


  • Higher initial setup and maintenance costs due to on-premises infrastructure.
  • Requires dedicated IT resources for management and maintenance.

So, which version is right for me?

As we can see, choosing the right version of Microsoft Project, in most cases, is a learning experience. Most importantly, we want you to be successful in managing your projects by utilizing best practices along with the right version of Microsoft Project.

We have explored three primary options: Project for the web, Project Online, and the on-premises solution, Project Server.

Project for the web: Ideal for teams that require seamless cloud-based project management with simplified yet functional tools. The various plan options cater to specific needs, making it suitable for small to large teams managing a diverse range of projects. With its modern interface and integration with Power BI and Power Automate, Project for the web is a great choice for businesses seeking a user-friendly and intuitive experience.

Project Online: Suited for organizations that prefer cloud-based portfolio and project management but need a feature-rich solution with more complex functionalities. With multiple plans catering to different requirements, Project Online suits enterprises with more substantial project management needs and a preference for ongoing updates and support.

Project Server: For businesses seeking on-premises control and security, Project Server is the way to go. This robust solution best suits larger enterprises with extensive projects and advanced portfolio management requirements. It provides greater control over data and resources, making it ideal for industries with strict compliance and data security regulations.

To determine the best fit for your business needs, consider the scale of your projects, collaboration requirements, budget constraints, and IT infrastructure preferences. If you’re unsure which version suits your unique needs, seeking guidance from project management experts like Advisicon can be immensely beneficial.

Remember, the right version of Microsoft Project will empower your team to efficiently plan, execute, and deliver successful projects, ultimately driving your business towards greater success and productivity.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Hundreds of organizations have come to Advisicon to discover which version of Project is right for their unique needs. We would be thrilled to help you do the same.

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