SolarWinds vs Paessler PRTG

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July 27, 2022

SolarWinds vs. Paessler PRTG: Which One is Better for IT Monitoring?

As your IT infrastructure grows and adds to the complexity of management, it’s wise to figure out a way to make it easier to handle. IT management solutions such as SolarWinds and Paessler PRTG do just this.

Observing your entire IT infrastructure becomes easier by putting everything together in one place. But more than that, it also provides an opportunity to act quickly and wisely. You can even use the observable data to make forecasts and resolve issues before they have a chance to occur.

But which software should you ultimately choose for your IT monitoring needs? To answer this question, we make a detailed comparison of all the factors worth considering.

Assessment Criteria: How to Go About Picking the Winner?

Before we start the comparison, we need to establish rules for it. Highlighting the assessment criteria will help make the comparison transparent, fair, and impartial.

Our assessment criteria include the following factors:

  1. Observability: For starters, we need to assess Paessler PRTG and SolarWinds on how well they are at IT monitoring. Comparing key tracking metrics will help see which one scores higher in observability.
  2. UI/UX Design: Second, we need to see which software is easier to use.
  3. Customer Support: Most of the time, your IT staff must coordinate with the chosen company’s customer support. For this reason, including customer support in this comparison is essential.
  4. Price: It would be senseless to forget about weighing in cost to see if the software is affordable for your company.
  5. Ease of Setup: The time in and ease with which you’re able to deploy the software are essential. And they’re also closely tied to ease of use. For this reason, we’ll compare and see which software is easier to set up and get running.

SolarWinds versus Paessler PRTG: A Deep Dive

1.    Observability

Most features that help you with IT monitoring are likely included with both SolarWinds and Paessler PRTG. But here, we’ve highlighted some particular points in observability that you probably want to know before signing up for either of the software products.

  • Bandwidth

SolarWinds: To monitor bandwidth with SolarWinds, you must purchase NetFlow Traffic Analyzer or the Network Bandwidth Analyzer Pack.

The standard SolarWinds product, Network Performance Monitor (NPM), used for IT infrastructure management, does not include bandwidth monitoring.

What Bandwidth Monitoring with SolarWinds looks like
What Bandwidth Monitoring with SolarWinds looks like

PRTG: With Paessler PRTG, bandwidth monitoring comes with PRTG Network Monitor, its standard IT infrastructure management software.

Bandwidth reports can help resolve any issues such as bandwidth overloads before they happen. 

What Bandwidth Monitoring in PRTG Looks like
What Bandwidth Monitoring in PRTG Looks like


SolarWinds: With SolarWinds, database monitoring comes with their standard product NPM. Because SolarWinds has different software built for various purposes, this particular complexity of integrating additional products becomes a flaw.

But if you purchase SolarWinds’ database monitoring product, Database Performance Monitor (DPM), you get most of the standard features that come with PRTG. 

What Database Monitoring with SolarWinds looks like
What Database Monitoring with SolarWinds looks like

PRTG: Paessler PRTG provides database monitoring with its standard product PRTG. Combining such features within a single application is a significant advantage for PRTG.

It includes features such as generating real-time reports, monitoring multiple databases, and supporting almost all database manufacturers such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, etc.

What Database Monitoring with PRTG looks like
What Database Monitoring with PRTG looks like


SolarWinds: One aspect of IT monitoring is using reports to look at the data. SolarWinds’ has several templates to help you generate customized reports. You can customize and schedule reports as required. 

Report Generation with SolarWinds
Report Generation with SolarWinds

PRTG: In comparison, PRTG has similar features. You can schedule reports, share them with team members, and be alerted about problems on time. With regards to this, Paessler is tied with SolarWinds.

Report Generation with PRTG
Report Generation with PRTG

Flow Support

SolarWinds: To analyze flow data with SolarWinds, you need to integrate one of their products, Network Flow Analyzer (NFA). SolarWinds uses SNMP polling to pull this off. In terms of how well it’s able to monitor flow data, SolarWinds performs just as well as PRTG.

But again, the fact that an additional product within the SolarWinds ecosystem will require integration doesn’t help SolarWinds’ case.

PRTG: PRTG integrates most features such as flow data monitoring into a single application. Regarding usability, PRTG also uses SNMP polling and performs almost the same as SolarWinds. As a result, flow monitoring is available by default with PRTG.

  • Server & Application

SolarWinds: With SolarWinds, the ability to monitor servers and applications comes with a different product. SolarWinds’ Server and Application Monitor provides support for Azure, AWS Cloud, Microsoft, etc.

But again, it does this through a particular product that requires integration with NPM.  

PRTG: Paessler PRTG provides server and application monitoring capabilities within PRTG. In terms of use, its monitoring capability is just as good (if not better) as SolarWinds.

2.    UI/UX Design: Which One is Easier to Use?

Because IT admins interact with the software using the dashboard, the UI/UX designs are considerably important. And to an extent, both companies have probably spent a lot of time and effort to make the software easy to use. 

We might be able to present our own opinion on which is better. But it’s better to look at the average satisfaction rating the actual users give. Based on user ratings on review sites such as G2 and network-monitoring/prtg-network-monitor/references?c=&c=&c=&sc=901044" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">GetApp, it seems both SolarWinds and Paessler PRTG score high compared to other alternatives.

However, it seems both are tied for the winner’s position based on the average user rating. So, without picking a favorite, we can say that both solutions have a smooth user interface.  

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3.    Price

Both solutions are priced based on licenses. As your requirements grow, so do the number of licenses you’ll need. Let’s take a look at the pricing for both platforms. We’ll also come to a conclusion for which software is cheaper.

Paessler PRTG

For PRTG, the cheapest license starts at about $1750 for 50 devices. It also comes with a 30-day free trial, after which the software converts to a freeware version until you purchase a license.

Network monitoring software
Download the full version here

SolarWinds’ NPM

For SolarWinds’ NPM, figuring out prices is a bit more complicated. SolarWinds asks you for your requirements and mails you a quotation accordingly.

Although the website claims that prices start at $1638, there’s no certainty until you get a quotation. A 30-day free trial is also included with SolarWinds.

Which One is Cheaper?

Solutions such as SolarWinds might have hidden costs due to a lack of pricing transparency. Despite this, we can still make an informed judgment by looking at the businesses that purchase the software.

Based on publicly available data, most users that purchase PRTG are small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). Meanwhile, most users purchasing SolarWinds’ NPM are large enterprises.

The data indicates that PRTG is cheaper because SMBs are likelier to opt for PRTG instead of SolarWinds. Additionally, this does not imply that large enterprises do not use PRTG. Instead, SMBs go for SolarWinds more because it falls within their budget.

4.    Customer Support

We looked at individual reviews on both platforms. Based on verified user reviews on platforms such as Gartner and G2, both SolarWinds and Paessler PRTG have similar rankings. Most users are satisfied with the level of support provided by both companies.

With Paessler PRTG, average users do not have much to complain about in terms of customer support. But in some cases for SolarWinds, users have highlighted a lack of forum support. In addition, users complain that while there might be support available for traditional cases, diverging even a little results in unresolved issues.  

5.    Ease of Setup

The setup process for both SolarWinds and Paessler PRTG is pretty straightforward and almost the same. For the most part, the installation wizard guides you throughout the setup process.

Once done, an automatic network discovery mode detects devices within your network.

Once detected, you can easily add all these devices and start the network monitoring process. The setup guides for Paessler PRTG and SolarWinds are available on the respective company’s website.

Picking the Winner: Why Paessler PRTG is Better

If you’ve stayed with us throughout the comparison, it’s evident that Paessler PRTG has clear advantages over SolarWinds. Two key points that tilt the scale in Paessler PRTG’s favor are:

  • SolarWinds has different products for tasks such as Bandwidth Monitoring, Database Monitoring, Server and Application Monitoring, etc. Meanwhile, Paessler PRTG combines all of this into a single product.
  • Paessler PRTG is more affordable compared to SolarWinds.

On other fronts, such as UI/UX design, ease of setup, customer support, etc., both are tied. That is why overall, we have Paessler PRTG emerging as the victor. But still, you probably have lingering thoughts about some specific requirements and whether Paessler PRTG can do the job. To find out, a 30-day free trial can be a practical experiment to test whether Paessler PRTG can meet your business needs.

Network monitoring software
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