Salesforce Portal License: A Comprehensive Guide


Salesforce Portal License: A Comprehensive Guide

Salesforce Portal License:

  • Access to Portal Features: Provides entry to Salesforce’s portal functionalities.
  • User Management: Allows management of portal users and permissions.
  • Data Sharing and Security: Ensures secure data access and sharing.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Offers tailored dashboards for data visualization.
  • Third-Party Integration: Supports integration with other applications.
  • Customer Support: Enhances customer support capabilities through the portal.

Introduction to Salesforce Portal Licenses

salesforce portal license

Salesforce Portal Licenses offer a gateway for external users to engage with Salesforce-based platforms.

These licenses are essential for extending Salesforce’s functionality to individuals outside the organization, such as customers or partners.

Understanding and selecting the appropriate license is crucial for:

  • Targeted Accessibility: Ensuring external users have the right level of access to Salesforce functionalities.
  • Business Alignment: Matching the license type to specific business needs and user engagement strategies.
  • Diverse License Types: Salesforce offers various Portal Licenses, each designed to cater to different user groups and interaction levels.

Different Types of Salesforce Portal Licenses

Salesforce Portal Licenses vary to suit different user needs and engagement levels. Key types include:

  • Customer Community License: This license is ideal for business-to-consumer interactions, allowing large numbers of external users access to a high-volume customer portal. It suits scenarios where basic customer interaction and support are required.
  • Customer Community Plus License: An advanced version of the Customer Community License, it’s more suited for comprehensive customer support and engagement. It offers additional functionalities like enhanced reporting and dashboard capabilities, making it a better fit for more in-depth customer relationship management.
  • Partner Community License: Designed for business-to-business contexts, such as partner communities. This license provides deeper access to Salesforce functionalities, aligning with the needs of partners, distributors, or resellers engaged in collaborative sales processes.
  • Member-based vs. Login-based Licenses:
    • Member-based Licenses: These are best for users who require frequent access to the community. They are akin to buying user seats, where each user has continuous access.
    • Login-based Licenses are suitable for users with infrequent login needs. Here, the focus is on the number of logins rather than the number of users, making it a cost-effective solution for communities with sporadic user activity​​.

The distinction between these licenses lies in their intended use cases and access and functionality level.

Understanding this distinction is crucial for businesses to effectively manage community engagement and maximize the value of their Salesforce investment.

Features and Limitations of Each License Type

Each Salesforce Portal License type has features and limitations designed to address specific business needs and user interactions.

Customer Community License:

  • Features: Offers basic community functionalities such as access to knowledge articles, customer support tools, and interaction within a community setting.
  • Limitations: Lacks advanced customization and administrative features found in higher-tier licenses. Limited access to deeper CRM functionalities.

Customer Community Plus License:

  • Features: This includes all the features of the Customer Community License with enhanced capabilities, such as greater reporting, dashboards, and administrative controls.
  • Limitations: It is more expensive than the Customer Community License and may offer more features than necessary for simpler community engagement needs.

Partner Community License:

  • Features: Provides extensive access to Salesforce CRM functionalities, ideal for partner relationship management, including lead and opportunity tracking.
  • Limitations: Higher cost due to its advanced features and functionality, possibly over-equipped for basic community needs​​.

Comparison of Portal Licenses

Comparison of Portal Licenses salesforce

Here is a comparison of the equivalent current community licenses for legacy portal licenses:

License NameBest Used ForComparable Portal License
External AppsBusiness-to-business experiences that need access to sales data, such as partner relationship management. The Partner Community can’t be used with personal accounts.High Volume Customer Portal, Service Cloud Portal, Authenticated Sites Portal
Customer CommunityBusiness-to-consumer experiences with external users who need access to reports, dashboards, and standard sharing. The Customer Community Plus can be used with personal accounts.High Volume Customer Portal, Service Cloud Portal, Authenticated Sites Portal
Customer Community PlusBusiness-to-business sites and portals that calculate their usage based on the number of partners instead of individual users.Customer Portal — Enterprise Administration, Customer Portal Manager Standard, Customer Portal Manager Custom
Partner CommunityBusiness-to-business sites and portals that calculate their usage based on the number of partners instead of individual users.Gold Partner
Channel AccountBusiness-to-business sites and portals that calculate their usage based on the number of partners instead of the number of individual users.Gold Partner

Pricing Structure of Salesforce Portal Licenses

The pricing structure for Salesforce Portal Licenses is designed to accommodate various business needs and usage patterns.

General Pricing Overview:

  • Pricing varies based on the license type, the access level, and the required features.
  • Costs are generally structured on a per-user or per-login basis, depending on the license type.

Member-based vs. Login-based Models:

  • Member-based Licenses: Charged on a per-user basis, ideal for users requiring frequent access. This model implies a higher cost but offers continuous access without restrictions on the number of logins.
  • Login-based Licenses: Charged based on the number of logins, suitable for communities with users who need infrequent access. This model is more cost-effective for many users with sporadic access needs​​​​.

Understanding the pricing model and the distinctions between member-based and login-based licenses is crucial for organizations to choose the most cost-effective option that aligns with their user engagement and community management strategies.

Top 5 Recommendations for Choosing the Right Salesforce Portal License

When selecting the most suitable Salesforce Portal License for your business, consider the following guidelines to ensure alignment with your organizational needs:

  1. Assess User Engagement Levels:
    • Determine how frequently your users will access the portal. Frequent users may benefit more from a member-based license, while infrequent users might find a login-based license more cost-effective​​.
  2. Analyze Business Requirements:
    • Understand the specific features your business requires. For basic community interaction, a Customer Community License may suffice. Consider the Customer Community Plus or Partner Community License​​​​for more in-depth engagement or partner management.
  3. Consider Future Scalability:
    • Choose a license that meets your current needs and accommodates future growth. Evaluate whether your chosen license type can scale up as your community grows.
  4. Evaluate Cost-Effectiveness:
    • Balance the features offered against the license cost. Ensure you are not paying for additional functionalities your business does not require​​​​.
  5. Understand the Integration Capabilities:
    • Ensure the chosen license type integrates well with your existing Salesforce CRM system and any other external systems or applications used by your organization.

Integration and Support for Portal Licenses

Integration with Salesforce and External Systems:

  • Salesforce Portal Licenses are designed to integrate seamlessly with Salesforce CRM, allowing for a unified approach to customer relationship management.
  • They also offer the potential to integrate with external systems, ensuring a cohesive and efficient user experience across various platforms.

Support Options for Portal License Users:

  • Salesforce provides a range of support options for portal license users, from self-service resources like Trailhead and Help Portal to more comprehensive support plans.
  • Higher-tier licenses, such as the Customer Community Plus and Partner Community, may offer additional support options, catering to more complex user needs and administrative functionalities​​​​.

Choosing the right Salesforce Portal License and understanding its integration and support mechanisms is vital for maximizing the benefits of your Salesforce investment.

These recommendations and insights guide businesses in optimizing their Salesforce portal experience, ensuring effective community engagement and efficient system management.


What is a Salesforce Portal License?

Salesforce Portal Licenses provide specific access to your Salesforce environment for users who don’t require full access. These licenses are typically used for external users and come in several types, each with its permissions and restrictions.

What are Legacy Portal Licenses?

Legacy Portal Licenses include Gold Partner, Customer Portal Manager Standard, and Customer Portal Manager Custom. These licenses are no longer sold because Partner Portals and Customer Portals are no longer available for orgs that aren’t currently using them. Instead, Salesforce recommends using Experience Cloud sites.

What is a Partner Portal User License?

Partner Portal users have the Gold Partner user license. They can only access Salesforce using the partner portal.

What is a Customer Portal User License?

Users of a Customer Portal site have the Customer Portal Manager Standard license. It allows contacts to log in to your Customer Portal to manage customer support.

What is a Customer Portal—Enterprise Administration User License?

Customer Portal—Enterprise Administration users have the Customer Portal Manager Custom license. This license gives contacts unlimited logins to your Salesforce Customer Portal to manage customer support.

What are the equivalent current communities licenses for legacy portal licenses?

The equivalent current community licenses for legacy portal licenses include External Apps, Customer Community, Customer Community Plus, Partner Community, and Channel Account.

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  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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