What is SaaS? And the difference to IaaS, PaaS?

I build SaaS for more than 3 years so I know a thing or two.

Andriy Diduh
3 min readAug 19, 2020
Difference between SaaS, IaaS and PaaS by Andriy Diduh SaaS Software Engineer
Difference between SaaS, IaaS and PaaS

Software as a Service — SaaS

You know about eCommerce such as Amazon and eBay — those sell physical goods (in the majority of cases). The eCommerce is BIG. But when you want to sell or distribute something digital that represents a “computer program”, the tool that we used to sell as a license to unlock by the key now available by paid subscription plan through browser or as downloadable software tied to the cloud and online services — hence the name SaaS.

Now those tools are in your browser or even on your computer’s desktop (they may share the same Web technology to run on Windows, Mac, Linux). And you can gain temporary access to use those tools on a monthly, quarterly, annual subscription basis. So pay $299 per month and use all features, or use for Free with limited capabilities (may not allow export of files, or retain their company watermark). You saw the “Price” menu at the top and the tiers to subscribe to — Free, Individual, Company, Corporate (contact us to get the estimated price).

Now that is the “FUTURE” of all software, hard to hack for free use, often updated automatically with the newest features, save and backup your files in the cloud.

Who uses SaaS?

SaaS can serve:

  • individuals (including hobby, learning),
  • may serve professionals (to do their work — Zeplin, Figma),
  • may serve only businesses (to use by employees — XERO, WorkflowMax),
  • might be accessible only for the big corporate sector by a special contract.

So it’s an actual usable powerful tool and not a gimmick. Designers, software engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, office management, sales departments use SaaS to get access to shared data, for the sales process, and to build the actual product.

Examples of SaaS?

  • Google — Gmail, Google Documents, Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft — Office 365, One Drive, Web Skype
  • File storage and sharing — Dropbox
  • Sales and management — Salesforce, XERO
  • Conference calls and instant messaging — Cisco Webex, Slack
  • Design — Zeplin, Figma

Only eCommerce and SaaS?

IaaS — Infrastructure as a service — think of AWS or Oracle to use their hardware to host your business SaaS software that you’ve built.
PaaS — Platform as a Service — think of Heroku or Netlify — basically select a few options from the menu and all pieces for your application will be preinstalled, such as Operating system to run on, Databases, Run time (Node.js, etc), and all dependencies.

Project Heroku, DigitalOCean,Azure,Render one-click deployment options by Andriy Diduh — SaaS Software Engineer
One-click deployment options for Hasura

In Heroku, it basically equals “One Button Press” to setup whole software infrastructure automatically for 5 minutes and it would run. You can do this with Hasura on Github right now. https://github.com/hasura/graphql-engine


SaaS — Software as a Service — as described above it’s a Software available on Subscription Basis and often hosted on IaaS and uses PaaS as a quick to set up development and testing platform.

I also use PaaS (Netlify, Heroku)and IaaS (AWS) in my work to build and deploy SaaS for example my Portfolio is deployed on Netlify https://andriydiduh.com