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Differences administering Confluence Data Center and Cloud

This page outlines the differences you can expect as a Confluence Data Center or Server administrator when moving to Confluence Cloud. Some of the capabilities listed below apply to more than one product.

We’ve organized this list by how different the experience is:

  1. Works differently in Cloud

  2. Available in Cloud (with a specific plan or subscription)

  3. Not available in Cloud

  4. Not necessary in Cloud

If you want to explore how Cloud is different for your users, check out:

1. Works differently in Cloud


Administrator global permissions

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center and Server, there were two levels of global administrator permissions, ‘Confluence administrator’, and ‘System administrator’. In Cloud, you assign roles to people and groups. Roles include User, Product admin (which is equivalent to the ‘Confluence administrator’ global permission), and Organization admin, which is similar to the ‘System administrator’ global permission but has rights to manage user directories, security settings, billing details, and other configurations for all the products in your organization, not just Confluence. Also, in Confluence Cloud, administrators can’t manage spaces in which they’re not space admins.

How it works in Cloud

Give users admin permissions

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


App rendering and data management

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Server and Data Center, apps were installed in your instance. In Cloud there are two types of apps. Connect apps are hosted on the App vendor/partner’s server, and so may load and render data more slowly than you’re used to. Forge apps are hosted by Atlassian, so don’t have this limitation.

How it works in Cloud

Learn about Forge apps

Learn about Connect apps

Security requirements for Marketplace apps

Who it affects

Product admin
Confluence


Attachment storage

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

The maximum file size for attached files defaults to 100 MB. This limit can be configured for Legacy editor pages, but not for the default editor. Storage limits may apply, depending on your plan.

How it works in Cloud

Configure attachment size (legacy editor only)

Confluence Cloud plan inclusions

Suggestion CONFCLOUD-72157: Configure attachment size in editor

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


Audit logs

Works differently in Cloud, and may require an additional subscription.

What’s different

An audit log is available with all paid Confluence plans, and is similar to the audit log provided with Confluence Server. However, the Cloud audit log doesn’t provide the ability to configure granular coverage areas and levels as in Confluence Data Center. An additional audit log for user management and organization-level events is available with an Enterprise plan or Atlassian Access subscription.

How it works in Cloud

View the audit log

Track organization activities from the audit log

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


Backups

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

In Cloud, automated Amazon Relational Database Service backups are created for disaster recovery purposes. Site backups must be manually created, if you require them.

How it works in Cloud

Track storage and move data across products

Back up Jira by exporting data

Back up Confluence by exporting data

Suggestion CLOUD-6498: Automatic backup generation

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Base URL

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

We provide you with a secure, authenticated domain name. Your Cloud site will be accessible at example.atlassian.net, where example is a unique identifier that you specify when signing up. If you’re on a paid plan, you can change this identifier, but you can’t change the atlassian.net domain.

How it works in Cloud

Change a product URL subdomain

Suggestion CLOUD-6999: Use a custom domain

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Install apps

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

Some apps are only available for Server or Data Center, or only for Cloud. You can only install apps from the Atlassian Marketplace. You can’t install an app by uploading a file. This includes apps you’ve built yourself or those designed for Server or Data Center. If you want to develop your own app, you can use the Forge or Connect platforms to build the app. You can list the app publicly, so others can use it, or use a secret token to list it privately.

How it works in Cloud

Getting started with Forge

Getting started with Connect

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Layouts and CSS

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

Confluence Cloud has it’s own theme, that can’t be customized, in order to receive automatic updates. You can install theme apps from The Marketplace that allow you to significantly change the appearance of your site, or even develop your own theme app.

How it works in Cloud

Change the look and feel of Confluence Cloud

Create your own theme app

Suggestion CONFCLOUD-36137: Allow custom CSS in Cloud

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


Mobile apps and app management

Works differently in Cloud, and may require an additional subscription.

What’s different

You can’t use a server app to connect to a Cloud product. Users will need to install the Cloud-specific mobile app. The functionality available in the app will be similar to the Server and Data Center apps. Mobile App Management (MAM) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) integrations are available but may require an Enterprise plan or Atlassian Access subscription.

How it works in Cloud

Get the Confluence Cloud mobile apps

Get the Jira Cloud mobile apps

Mobile App Management (MAM) for Atlassian mobile apps

Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Atlassian mobile apps

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin, Users
Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Outgoing mail server

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center and Server, you connected your own mail server. Your Cloud application includes an internal SMTP server configured to send notifications. The internal SMTP server is not configurable.

How it works in Cloud

N/A

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


People directory

Works differently in Cloud.

What’s different

The people directory lists all the people in your organization, and allows people to be grouped into teams for the purpose of sharing or mentioning people. In Confluence Server and Data Center it was common to customize the theme in order to hide the people directory. You can’t customize the theme in Confluence Cloud, but you can use the Guest functionality, which hides the people directory from external collaborators.

How it works in Cloud

Search for people and teams

Invite guests to Confluence

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


View restricted pages

Works differently in Cloud, and may require an additional subscription.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center and Server, members of the confluence-administrators super group could view pages and spaces that were restricted. With Confluence Cloud Premium and Enterprise plans, you can use an admin key to bypass the restrictions. The author will be notified, and the action logged in the audit log.

How it works in Cloud

Bypass access restrictions on a page with admin key

Who it affects

Product admin
Confluence


2. Available in Cloud, with specific subscription or plan

The following features are available in Cloud but may require an additional subscription or specific plan.


External user directories

Available in Cloud, but may require an additional subscription.

What’s different

You can't use another Cloud or Server / Data Center instance for user management. There are a wide range of options for managing your users, including provisioning users from an identity provider or LDAP directory, or connecting with a service like Google Workspace. User provisioning and some Google Workspace features require an Enterprise plan or Atlassian Access subscription.  

How it works in Cloud

Configure user provisioning

Set up Google Workspace

Understand Atlassian Access

Who it affects

Organization admin
Bitbucket, Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Single sign-on

Available in Cloud, but may require an additional subscription.

What’s different

Single sign-on is available but requires an Enterprise plan or Atlassian Access. The process of connecting your Identity Provider (IdP) will be similar to the process you followed in Data Center.

How it works in Cloud

Configure single sign-on for your organization

Configure SAML single sign-on with an identity provider

Who it affects

Organization admin
Bitbucket, Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Team Calendars

Available in Cloud, on selected plans.

What’s different

Team Calendars was available as a paid app for Confluence Server, and bundled with Confluence Data Center. In Cloud, Team Calendars is included with Confluence Premium and Enterprise plans. Calendar data is not included when you migrate your Confluence content. You will need to export any calendars you want to keep to .ics format and re-import them.  

How it works in Cloud

Use Team Calendars for Confluence (Premium feature)

Suggestion MIG-124: Migrate calendar data

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


3. Not available in Cloud


Bulk edit space permissions

Not available in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center, administrators could use the Inspect Permissions feature to change space permissions in bulk. In Confluence Cloud, you can’t change space permissions for multiple spaces in bulk. If you have a Premium or Enterprise plan, administrators can copy permissions from one space to another space.

How it works in Cloud

Assign space permissions

Suggestion CONFCLOUD-1053: Bulk edit space permissions

Who it affects

Product admin, Space admin
Confluence


Create pages by importing files from disk

Not available in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center and Server, space administrators could create pages from text files stored in the home directory. As you don’t have access to the server in Confluence Cloud, this option is not available. You can still create a page by importing a Word document through the browser.

How it works in Cloud

Import external documents

Who it affects

Product admin, Space admin
Confluence


User macros

Not available in Cloud.

What’s different

You can’t create user macros in Confluence Cloud. This is because user macros allow HTML and JavaScript to run, which can affect performance and security. A number of custom macros are available on the Marketplace. If you want to develop your own macros, you can use the Forge or Connect platforms to build an app, then list it on the Marketplace. You can list the app publicly, so others can use it, or use a secret token to list it privately.

How it works in Cloud

Creating a dynamic content macro

List an app on Marketplace

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


External Jira Gadgets

Not available in Cloud.

What’s different

In Confluence Data Center and Server, administrators could register external gadgets to display data from Jira. Although you can connect Atlassian products using Application Links, external gadgets are not available in Confluence Cloud.

How it works in Cloud

N/A

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


Retention rules

Not available in Cloud

What’s different

In Confluence Server and Data Center, you can set retention rules for page history, historical attachment versions, and items in the trash. This option is not available in Confluence Cloud.

How it works in Cloud

Suggestion CONFCLOUD-27701: Limit number of page versions

Who it affects

Product admin
Confluence


4. Not necessary in Cloud

These features and capabilities aren’t available in Cloud because they’re not required. This is generally due to the way we manage infrastructure and things like upgrades for you.


Content index administration

Not necessary in Cloud.

What’s different

Indexing works differently in Cloud, and there should be no need to administer your index manually. If you do notice a problem with search results, Atlassian Support can investigate, and if necessary, reindex your site.

How it works in Cloud

N/A

Who it affects

Organization admin, Product admin
Confluence


Custom database configuration

Not necessary in Cloud.

What’s different

There should be no need to configure or interact directly with your database in Cloud. If a problem does require this, Atlassian Support can investigate, and take any necessary action.

How it works in Cloud

N/A

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


Read-only mode

Not necessary in Cloud.

What’s different

Read-only mode allowed you to make your Confluence Data Center site read-only, for troubleshooting or when preparing for an upgrade or other maintenance. In Cloud, we perform all required maintenance and upgrades for you during scheduled maintenance windows.

How it works in Cloud

Manage product changes from an Atlassian organization

Keep track of maintenance windows

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence


Upgrades

Not necessary in Cloud.

What’s different

We perform all required maintenance and upgrades for you during scheduled maintenance windows. If you have a Premium or Enterprise plan you can choose the release track that best suits your needs, and create a sandbox instance that gets changes before your production instance.

How it works in Cloud

Keep track of maintenance windows

Manage product release tracks

Manage Atlassian product sandboxes

Who it affects

Organization admin
Confluence, Jira Software, Jira Service Management


Need help choosing?

Still deciding whether cloud or Data Center is right for your organization? Head to our comparison page to explore the benefits of each.

Learn more about the differences between Confluence Cloud and Data Center

Additional Help