Shared RDP vs Admin RDP [Compelete Guide]

Shared RDP allows multiple users with limited access, while Admin RDP grants full administrative control

Updated: 05 May, 24 by Lisa P 20 Min

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Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is vital for remote computer access worldwide. It's crucial to grasp the disparities between Shared RDP and Admin RDP for informed remote access decisions. Both offer remote connectivity but differ significantly in user control and security measures. Shared RDP allows multiple users with limited access, while Admin RDP grants full administrative control. Understanding these distinctions is essential for optimal remote access solutions.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) stands as a cornerstone in the realm of remote access solutions, facilitating seamless connectivity to remote computer systems. However, within the spectrum of RDP implementations, two distinct paradigms emerge: Shared RDP and Admin RDP. Understanding the disparities between these two configurations is paramount for organizations and individuals seeking optimal remote access solutions.

Shared RDP and Admin RDP Administrator Level Access

Administrator-level access in both Shared RDP and Admin RDP configurations defines user privileges within remote desktop environments. While Shared RDP offers limited access akin to standard user permissions, Admin RDP grants full administrative control. In Shared RDP, users cannot perform system-wide changes and must rely on administrators for certain tasks. In contrast, Admin RDP empowers users with autonomy to execute a wide range of administrative tasks independently.

Resources in Shared RDP and Admin RDP

In both Shared RDP and Admin RDP environments, "resources" pertain to allocated computing components such as CPU, memory, disk space, and network bandwidth.

Shared RDP: Pooling Resources

  • Shared CPU and Memory: Users receive portions of available CPU cycles and memory, promoting efficient utilization, especially in fluctuating usage scenarios.
  • Disk Space Sharing: Users are allocated portions of total disk capacity, accommodating storage needs while optimizing resource utilization.
  • Bandwidth Management: Network bandwidth is shared among users, preventing monopolization and ensuring equitable distribution for reliable communication.

Admin RDP: Dedicated Resources

  • Dedicated CPU and Memory: Each user session receives dedicated CPU cores and memory, ensuring consistent performance without contention.
  • Isolated Disk Space: Users access dedicated disk space, guaranteeing data privacy and integrity without interference from others.
  • Reserved Bandwidth: Network bandwidth is reserved for individual user sessions, ensuring reliable connectivity even during peak usage.

Installation of programs in Shared RDP and Admin RDP

Installing programs in both Shared RDP and Admin RDP setups is pivotal for determining flexibility, control, and security within the remote desktop environment.

Shared RDP: Restricted Installation Permissions

  • Permission Dependency: Users often lack installation privileges and may require administrator approval or intervention. Dependency on administrators can impact productivity and flexibility.
  • Centralized Software Management: Administrators implement centralized policies to regulate installations, reducing the risk of unauthorized software installations and security vulnerabilities.
  • Application Compatibility: Restrictions may be imposed to ensure compatibility, stability, and performance across multiple sessions.

Admin RDP: Unrestricted Program Installation

  • Administrator Privileges: Users have elevated privileges akin to system administrators, enabling them to install software without impediments.
  • Flexibility and Customization: Users can install a wide range of software to meet diverse needs, enhancing productivity and flexibility.
  • Responsibility for Security: Users bear responsibility for ensuring the security and integrity of their installations, adhering to security best practices, and updating software regularly.

IP Addresses in the RDPs

IP addresses serve as unique identifiers for devices within a network, enabling data packet routing and connectivity.

Shared RDP: Shared IP Addressing

  • Shared IP Address: All users are assigned the same public IP address or a pool of shared addresses, simplifying network configuration and management.
  • Network Address Translation (NAT): NAT maps multiple private IP addresses to a single public IP address, enabling users behind firewalls or routers to share a common address for outbound connections.
  • Limitations: Shared IP addressing may pose challenges, especially when users require unique addresses for specific applications or troubleshoot network issues effectively.

🌐 Learn how the Types of IP Addresses impact your internet connectivity!

Admin RDP: Dedicated IP Addressing

  • Dedicated IP Address: Each user session receives a dedicated public or private address, enhancing isolation, security, and customization options.
  • Enhanced Security: Dedicated addressing isolates sessions, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or data leakage.
  • Customization: Admin RDP allows administrators to assign specific addresses based on requirements, enhancing network segmentation and access control.

Shared RDP offers simplicity and cost-effectiveness, while Admin RDP provides enhanced security and customization. The choice depends on specific needs and priorities.

Admin RDP and Shared RDP Ports

Ports serve as endpoints for network communication, enabling data transfer, session establishment, and protocol negotiation within the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) framework.

Shared RDP: Shared Port Configuration

  • Common Port Usage: Shared RDP typically utilizes common ports like TCP port 3389 for incoming RDP connections, simplifying network configuration.
  • Port Multiplexing: Port multiplexing techniques may be employed to dynamically assign ports to individual user sessions, allowing multiple sessions on the same port.
  • Network Address Translation (NAT): NAT maps external port numbers to internal ones, simplifying external access to the RDP server for multiple users behind a firewall or router.

Admin RDP: Dedicated Port Configuration

  • Dedicated Port Assignment: Each user session receives a dedicated port for incoming RDP connections, enhancing isolation and facilitating session tracking.
  • Port Range Configuration: Servers may configure port ranges to manage multiple user sessions efficiently, preventing conflicts or contention.
  • Enhanced Security: Dedicated ports isolate sessions, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or interference, and enhancing security.

Admin RDP and Shared RDP Security

Security is paramount in both Admin RDP and Shared RDP setups to protect against unauthorized access, data breaches, and malicious activities.

Shared RDP Security Considerations

  • Access Controls: Robust authentication mechanisms, password policies, and user permissions restrict access to authorized users.
  • Session Isolation: Isolating user sessions and limiting user privileges help minimize security incidents' impact.
  • Resource Segregation: Segregating resources based on permissions limits potential security breaches and unauthorized modifications.
  • Monitoring and Auditing: Regular monitoring and auditing of user activities and system logs enable prompt detection and response to security incidents.

Admin RDP Security Considerations

  • Privilege Management: Implementing least privilege principles and restricting administrative access minimize the risk of privilege escalation.
  • Encryption: Encrypting network communications using TLS or SSL protocols ensures data confidentiality and integrity.
  • Patch Management: Regularly applying security patches and updates mitigates vulnerabilities and addresses known security issues.
  • Network Segmentation: Segmenting the network and implementing firewalls and access control lists prevent lateral movement of attackers.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforcing MFA for remote desktop access adds an extra layer of security by requiring additional authentication factors.

Virtualization in Shared RDP and Admin RDP

Virtualization technology is instrumental in both Shared RDP and Admin RDP setups, facilitating efficient resource utilization, scalability, and session isolation.

Shared RDP: Multi-Tenancy Virtualization

  • Resource Sharing: Virtualization efficiently shares computing resources among users, utilizing VMs or containers to create isolated environments.
  • Elastic Scalability: Virtualization supports dynamic resource scaling based on demand, accommodating increasing workloads or user requests.
  • Isolation and Security: Virtualization provides isolation between user sessions, enhancing security by preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data or resources.
  • Admin RDP: Dedicated Virtualization Instances

Admin RDP environments

  • Dedicated Resource Allocation: Each user session receives dedicated virtualized resources, ensuring consistent performance and responsiveness.
  • Customization and Control: Admin RDP allows users to configure virtual machines according to their requirements, providing flexibility in software installation and resource management.
  • Enhanced Security and Isolation: Dedicated instances offer enhanced security and isolation, minimizing the risk of security breaches or unauthorized access.

Shared RDP vs. Admin RDP: Costs

The comparison between Shared RDP and Admin RDP extends beyond technical features to encompass critical cost considerations for organizations evaluating remote desktop solutions.

Shared RDP Costs


  • Subscription Fees: Providers often offer subscription-based pricing models with fixed monthly or annual fees for access to shared resources.
  • Resource Utilization Charges: Some providers may charge based on resource usage, such as CPU, memory, or storage, allowing for flexible pricing.
  • Cost-Per-User: Organizations pay a fixed fee per user account provisioned on the shared server, enabling scalable user base management.
  • Setup and Maintenance Fees: Providers may impose fees for initial configuration and ongoing maintenance, often included in subscription charges.
  • Economies of Scale: Shared RDP benefits from economies of scale, resulting in lower per-user costs due to distributed infrastructure expenses.

Admin RDP Costs


  • Infrastructure Costs: Dedicated hardware resources incur upfront and ongoing costs for provisioning and maintenance.
  • Licensing Fees: Software licensing costs for operating systems, virtualization platforms, and remote desktop software are required for each user session.
  • Hardware Maintenance: Regular maintenance, upgrades, and replacements are necessary for optimal performance, incurring additional expenses.
  • Security Investments: Additional investments in security measures, such as firewalls and encryption technologies, contribute to overall costs.
  • Scalability Challenges: Dedicated resources may face scalability challenges, making it costlier to accommodate growing user demands.

Shared RDP vs. Admin RDP: OS Diversity

The comparison between Shared RDP and Admin RDP extends to the diversity of operating systems (OS) supported by each configuration.

Shared RDP: Limited OS Options

  • Standardized Environment: Providers maintain standardized OS configurations to streamline management, support, and troubleshooting processes, ensuring compatibility and consistency across user sessions.
  • Common OS Platforms: Shared RDP environments typically support popular OS platforms such as Windows Server, Windows 10, or Linux distributions, selected based on compatibility, application support, and user familiarity.
  • Limited Customization: Users may have limited customization options, with providers offering a predefined set of OS templates or configurations, limiting choice and flexibility.
  • Resource Sharing Constraints: Resource allocation considerations may influence the selection and availability of supported OS options to optimize resource utilization and maintain performance levels across sessions.

Admin RDP: Enhanced OS Flexibility

  • User Choice: Users can select from a wide range of operating systems, including various versions of Windows, Linux distributions, and specialized configurations, aligning with application compatibility needs and personal preferences.
  • Customization Options: Extensive customization options allow users to tailor OS configurations, software installations, and system settings to meet unique needs, enhancing flexibility and user experience.
  • Compatibility with Legacy Applications: Admin RDP supports legacy applications and specialized software, allowing deployment of specific OS versions or configurations for optimal performance without compromising stability or security.
  • Resource Allocation Flexibility: Flexible resource allocation options enable users to allocate dedicated resources to individual virtual machines or user sessions, ensuring optimal performance for diverse operating system environments.

While Shared RDP offers a standardized environment with limited OS options, Admin RDP provides enhanced flexibility and customization capabilities to meet diverse user needs and support a wide range of operating systems.



Shared RDP vs. Admin RDP: Number of Accounts

Let's explore the differences in the number of accounts supported:

Shared RDP: Multi-User Environment

  • Shared Resource Pool: Resources such as CPU, memory, and storage are pooled to accommodate multiple user sessions efficiently.
  • Scalability: Shared RDP solutions scale horizontally to support an increasing number of user accounts without significant infrastructure investments.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Sharing resources among users enables cost-effective pricing plans based on the number of user accounts provisioned.
  • Resource Allocation: Each user account is granted access to a portion of available resources to ensure fair distribution and prevent contention.

Admin RDP: Dedicated User Environments

  • Dedicated Resource Allocation: Each user operates within a separate virtualized environment, minimizing resource contention and optimizing performance.
  • Limited Number of Accounts: Admin RDP deployments may support a limited number of user accounts based on available infrastructure resources and licensing agreements.
  • Scalability Challenges: Accommodating additional users may involve provisioning new infrastructure or upgrading existing hardware, leading to increased costs and complexities.
  • Enhanced Security and Control: Admin RDP offers enhanced security and control, with each user operating within a dedicated environment with isolated resources.

Organizations should evaluate scalability requirements, resource needs, and budget constraints to determine the most suitable option:

  • Shared RDP: Scalable and cost-effective for large user bases.
  • Admin RDP: Offers enhanced performance, security, and control for dedicated user environments.

Let's explore the key considerations for choosing between Shared RDP and Admin RDP and when to opt for each configuration:

Shared RDP: When to Choose

Shared RDP configurations are ideal in the following scenarios:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: Organizations with budget constraints or cost-sensitive requirements may opt for Shared RDP due to its cost-effective pricing models and shared resource utilization. Shared RDP offers competitive pricing plans based on subscription fees or resource usage charges, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious organizations.
  2. Scalability: Shared RDP environments are highly scalable, allowing organizations to accommodate a large number of users without significant infrastructure investments or administrative overheads. Shared resource pooling and horizontal scaling capabilities enable providers to scale resources dynamically to meet growing user demands.
  3. Standardized Environments: Organizations seeking standardized remote desktop environments with uniform configurations, software installations, and resource allocations may prefer Shared RDP. Shared RDP providers maintain standardized OS images and configurations to ensure compatibility, manageability, and supportability across multiple user sessions.
  4. Resource Sharing: Organizations requiring resource sharing and collaboration capabilities among users may benefit from Shared RDP's shared resource model. Shared RDP environments facilitate resource sharing, file collaboration, and application access among multiple users, enhancing productivity and collaboration in distributed teams.

Admin RDP: When to Choose

Admin RDP configurations are suitable in the following scenarios:

  1. Enhanced Control and Security: Organizations prioritizing security, compliance, and control over remote desktop environments may opt for Admin RDP. Admin RDP provides dedicated user environments with isolated resources, offering enhanced security features, customizable security policies, and fine-grained access controls.
  2. Customization and Flexibility: Organizations requiring customization options, software freedom, and flexibility in operating system configurations may prefer Admin RDP. Admin RDP environments allow users to customize their virtual desktops, install custom applications, and configure system settings according to their specific requirements and preferences.
  3. Performance and Isolation: Organizations demanding high-performance computing capabilities and resource isolation for mission-critical workloads may choose Admin RDP. Admin RDP offers dedicated resources for each user session, ensuring consistent performance, responsiveness, and isolation from other users' activities or workloads.
  4. Specialized Workloads: Organizations running specialized applications, legacy software, or industry-specific workloads may benefit from Admin RDP's support for diverse operating systems and software environments.

Shared RDP vs. Admin RDP: Comparison Table

Here's a comparison table outlining the key differences between Shared RDP and Admin RDP configurations, this table provides a concise overview of the differences between Shared RDP and Admin RDP configurations, helping organizations make informed decisions based on their specific requirements and priorities




Shared RDP

Admin RDP

User Environment

Shared among multiple users

Dedicated to individual users

Resource Sharing

Shared resource pool; multi-tenant environment

Dedicated resources per user


Cost-effective; subscription-based or usage-based pricing

Higher cost; infrastructure and licensing fees may apply


Highly scalable; can accommodate large number of users

Scalability may be limited by dedicated resources


Shared environment; limited isolation between users

Enhanced security; dedicated environments for each user


Limited customization options

Extensive customization; users can tailor environments


Shared resources; performance may vary depending on load

Consistent performance; dedicated resources for each user

Operating System Support

Limited OS options; standardized configurations

Diverse OS support; users can choose from various options

Administrative Control

Limited administrative control; managed by service provider

Full administrative control; users have autonomy over settings

Number of Accounts

Supports large number of user accounts

Limited number of user accounts may be supported

Use Cases

Ideal for cost-conscious organizations with shared workloads

Suitable for organizations requiring dedicated environments

Specialized Workloads

Not ideal for specialized workloads requiring dedicated resources

Suitable for running specialized applications or legacy software



Choosing between Shared RDP and Admin RDP involves careful consideration of factors such as cost, scalability, security, customization, and performance. Shared RDP offers a cost-effective solution with shared resources, making it suitable for organizations with budget constraints and standardized workloads. On the other hand, Admin RDP provides dedicated resources, enhanced security, and customization options, making it ideal for organizations requiring strict control over user environments and specialized workloads.

Lisa P

Lisa P

Hello, everyone, my name is Lisa. I'm a passionate electrical engineering student with a keen interest in technology. I'm fascinated by the intersection of engineering principles and technological advancements, and I'm eager to contribute to the field by applying my knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.