Darren Stewart
June 15, 2024

How SaaS Software is Distributed

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of software delivery where applications are hosted remotely by a provider and made available to customers over the internet.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of software delivery where applications are hosted remotely by a provider and made available to customers over the internet. Here's a detailed look at how SaaS software is distributed, with examples and links.

Distribution Methods

1. Cloud Hosting

SaaS applications are typically hosted in the cloud, allowing users to access the software from any device with an internet connection. Cloud hosting providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform manage the infrastructure, ensuring high availability and scalability.

2. Web-Based Access

Users access SaaS applications through a web browser, eliminating the need for complex installations or IT maintenance on individual devices. This makes it convenient for users to access the software from various devices and locations.

3. Subscription Model

SaaS is usually offered on a subscription basis, which can be monthly or annually. This model allows customers to pay for the software as they use it, rather than making a large upfront investment. Subscriptions often include updates and support.

4. API Integrations

SaaS platforms often provide APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow them to integrate with other software applications. This enables businesses to streamline workflows and enhance the functionality of their existing systems.

5. Multi-Tenancy Architecture

SaaS applications commonly use a multi-tenancy architecture where a single instance of the software serves multiple customers. Each customer's data is isolated and secure, but they share the same application resources, making it cost-effective for providers.

6. Automatic Updates

Providers manage software updates and maintenance, delivering new features and security patches automatically. This ensures that users always have access to the latest version of the software without needing to manually install updates.

SaaS Distribution Channels

1. Direct Sales

Providers may sell directly to customers through their sales teams. This method is often used for enterprise-level SaaS solutions that require a more personalized sales approach and customization.

2. Online Marketplaces

SaaS applications can be distributed through online marketplaces like AWS Marketplace, Microsoft Azure Marketplace, and Google Cloud Marketplace. These platforms make it easy for customers to find, compare, and purchase SaaS products.

3. Resellers and Partners

Providers may work with resellers, system integrators, and other partners to distribute their software. These partners help reach a broader audience and provide additional value-added services.

4. Freemium Model

Many SaaS providers offer a freemium model, where a basic version of the software is available for free, and more advanced features are offered through paid subscriptions. This allows users to try the software before committing to a purchase.

5. Trial Periods

Offering free trials is a common strategy to attract new customers. Potential users can test the full features of the software for a limited period, usually 14 or 30 days, before deciding to subscribe.

6. Referral Programs

Referral programs encourage existing customers to refer new users to the SaaS application. These programs often provide incentives, such as discounts or credits, to both the referrer and the new customer.


The distribution of SaaS software leverages the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, making it accessible and convenient for users. Through web-based access, subscription models, and integration capabilities, SaaS providers can deliver their applications efficiently. Various distribution channels, including direct sales, online marketplaces, and freemium models, help reach a wide audience and facilitate growth.

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