Salesforce Licenses Explained

What are the different Salesforce licenses? We’ll help you with a great overview of all Salesforce licenses. When it comes to Salesforce licenses, things can feel overwhelming. In order to help to make sense of it all, we’ve outlined the general license types, usage-based entitlements, and what type of access they grant.

To enable specific Salesforce functionality for your users, you must choose one user license for each user. To enable more functionality, you can assign permission set licenses and feature licenses to your users or purchase usage-based entitlements for your organization.

These licenses are agreements between Salesforce and a particular customer, which defines functionality for that customer org. They are broken down into 4 categories 1) User Licenses 2) Permission Set Licenses 3) Feature Set Licenses and 4) Usage-Based Entitlements

User Licenses

A user license determines the baseline of features that the user can access. Every user must have exactly one user license. that are assigned permissions for data access through a profile and possibly one or more permission sets.

Standard User Licenses

  • Salesforce license types are designed for users who need full access to standard CRM and AppExchange apps. Users with this user license are entitled to access each standard or custom app. Every license provides different storage capabilities for Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance Edition users.
  • Knowledge Only User license types are designed for users who only need access to the Salesforce Knowledge app. This license provides access to custom objects, custom tabs, and the following standard tabs.
  • Identity Only license types provide extra licenses for employees to access identity services, such as single sign-on (SSO).
  • External Identity license types grant access to Salesforce Customer Identity, which allows customers and partners to self-register, log in, update their profile, and securely access web and mobile apps with a single identity.
  • WDC Only User license types are designed for users who don’t have a Salesforce license and require access to WDC.

Lightning Platform User License Types

  • Salesforce Platform is designed for users who require access to custom apps but not to standard CRM functionality. Users with this user license are entitled to use custom apps developed in your org or installed from AppExchange. They’re also entitled to use core platform functionality such as accounts, contacts, reports, dashboards, documents, and custom tabs.
  • Lightning Platform – One App is designed for users who need access to one custom app but not to standard CRM functionality. Lightning Platform – One App users have access to most of the same functionality as Salesforce Platform users, as well as access to an unlimited number of custom tabs. However, they’re limited to one custom app, which includes up to 10 custom objects. They’re also limited to read-only access to the Accounts and Contacts objects and Push Topic object read permission is not included.
  • – App Subscription gives users access to a Lightning Platform Light App or Lightning Platform Enterprise App. However, CRM functionality is not included.
  • Company Community users is an internal user license for users to access custom tabs, Salesforce Files, Chatter (people, groups, feeds), and an Experience Cloud site.
  • Developer user licenses provide access to development tools and environments and allow users to build customizations or applications. One Developer sandbox, one scratch org, and access to the Dev Hub are included.

Chatter User Licenses

All standard Salesforce licenses include free Chatter access for all users in your organization. Salesforce also offers Chatter-specific licenses: Chatter External, Chatter Free, and Chatter Only (also known as Chatter Plus).

  • Chatter External is for users who are outside of your company’s email domain. These external users can be invited to Chatter groups. Users, or “customers”, have the ability to interact with users in the groups they’re invited to, but have no access to Chatter objects or data and are unable to edit user profiles.
  • Chatter Free is for users who don’t have Salesforce licenses but need access to Chatter. These users can access standard Chatter items, but don’t have access to any Salesforce objects or data. Chatter Free users can also be Chatter moderators.
  • Chatter Only is available exclusively to existing Chatter Plus customers who don’t have Salesforce licenses but need access to Chatter and additional Salesforce objects.
  • Lightning Platform Starter is for users in Experience Cloud sites who require access to Chatter and a wide variety of Salesforce objects.

Experience Cloud User Licenses

There are 5 different licenses that give the users varying access to Accounts, Contacts, Cases, Knowledge, Opportunities, Leads, Custom Objects, Send Emails, Sharing Sets, Advanced Sharing Rules, and Reports & Dashboards

  • External App allows for 100 custom objects but is limited in other access
  • Customer Community allows for 10 custom objects but adds cases access
  • Customer Community Plus gives access to most of the features and read-only access to the reports & dashboards
  • Partner Community gives access to all of the features
  • Channel gives access to all of the features

Channel Account Licenses

The Channel Account license is available for Experience Cloud sites and has the same permission and feature access as the Partner Community license. These licenses are priced per partner account, rather than login or member-based licenses. Partners have the ability to open up access to users.

Lightning Platform Starter and Lightning Platform Plus

These both contain a Salesforce Platform license and a Company Communities Permission Set License. This includes some Salesforce Standard Objects, such as Accounts, Assets, Contacts, Cases, Opportunities, and Leads. It also includes Custom Objects and features such as Send Email, Sharing Sets, and Advanced Sharing Rules. These features are available to users with a Salesforce Platform license and assigned the Company Communities Permission Set License. User Licenses

This user license is designed for users who need access to

Service Cloud Portal User Licenses

This license gives contacts unlimited logins to your Service Cloud Portal in order to access customer support information when you also have the High Volume Customer Portal license. Users with this license can access accounts, assets, cases, contacts, custom objects, documents, ideas, and questions, depending on their permission settings.

Sites and User Licenses

Sites and users have access through Guest User or Only user licenses. This is designed for users who require access to or Experience Cloud sites.

Authenticated Website User Licenses

The Authenticated Website license is designed to be used with Salesforce Sites for Platform portal users. This gives users unlimited logins to your Platform Portal to access customer support information.

Customer Portal User Licenses

The Customer Portal Manager Standard license allows contacts to log in to your Customer Portal to manage customer support.

Customer Portal—Enterprise Administration User Licenses

The Customer Portal—Enterprise Administration is for users who have a Customer Portal Manager Custom license. This license gives contacts unlimited logins to your Salesforce Customer Portal to manage customer support.

Partner Portal User Licenses

Starting in Summer ’13, this license is no longer available for organizations that aren’t currently using the partner portal.

Permission Set Licenses

Permission set licenses entitle users to access features that are not included in their user licenses. Users can be assigned any number of permission set licenses. This allows users specific settings and permissions to use various tools and functions.

Feature Licenses Overview

A feature license enables a user to access an additional feature that is not included with their user license, such as Marketing or WDC.

Usage-Based Entitlements

Usage-based entitlements give access to a certain number of monthly logins. For example, the allowed number of monthly logins to a Partner Community or the record limit for list users are usage-based entitlements. Some entitlements are persistent. These entitlements give your Salesforce org a set number of the resource, and the amount allowed doesn’t change unless your contract changes. For example, if your company purchases monthly subscriptions for 50 members to access a Partner Community, you can assign up to 50 individuals the ability to log into the community as many times as they want.

Other entitlements are not persistent; these entitlements work like credit. Your org can use up to the amount allowed of that entitlement over the time indicated by the resource’s frequency.


Each Salesforce license grants access to different features. There are a lot of options, so it’s worth spending some time understanding how Salesforce can best help your organization. We hope this overview of Salesforce licenses was helpful. If you need help understanding what licenses your organization will need, feel free to reach out to us. 

About Roycon
We’re an Austin-based Salesforce Consulting Partner, with a passion and belief that the Salesforce platform’s capabilities can help businesses run more efficiently and effectively. Whether you are just getting started with Salesforce or looking to realize its full potential, Roycon specializes in Salesforce Implementations, Salesforce Ongoing Support, and Salesforce Integrations, and Development. We’re the certified partner to guide the way to increase Salesforce Adoption, make strategic decisions, and build your Salesforce Roadmap for success.