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Salesforce Licensing Types: Which One Offers the Best Value?

Thousands of businesses use Salesforce to manage their sales, service, and marketing processes, making them more efficient. However, when you want to use Salesforce in your business, it’s vital to understand Salesforce’s licensing types.

The license you choose can impact the features at your disposal and the price you’ll need to pay. So, when picking a license, it’s critical to consider the specific features you need, the size of your business, and the number of users who will use the platform.

In this post, we’ll look at the different types of Salesforce licenses in more detail so that you can choose the right one based on your requirements. Let’s dive in!

The Different Salesforce Licensing Types

Salesforce provides the following types of licenses.

User Licenses

Every user on the Salesforce platform should have a user license. It determines the features that a specific user can access on the platform. Here, Salesforce offers several different standard user licenses:

The Salesforce User Licensing Type

The Salesforce user license is specifically designed to cater to the needs of users who need complete access to standard CRM and AppExchange apps. When opting for this license, you’ll have the privilege of accessing an extensive range of standard and custom apps. Also, each license offers an ample amount of storage space that can be utilized by Enterprise, Unlimited, and Performance Edition users.

For example, if you plan to use Salesforce as your sales and marketing headquarters, you’d need to provide them with the Salesforce user license.

Salesforce Platform

The Salesforce Platform license is aimed at those users who need access to customized apps without the need for standard CRM functionality. Users can use custom apps designed specifically for your business or installed from AppExchange. Besides this, these users will get access to the core Salesforce platform functionality.

Suppose only your sales team actively uses Salesforce, but your Product team sometimes drops in to get more feedback on user feature requests. You’d give your Product team the Salesforce Platform license. Other roles that could use the Salesforce Platform licensing type include:

  • Developers
  • Business Analysts and Operations Analysts
  • System Administrators
  • Internal Users who need to access custom-built apps and workflows
  • Partners who need to access custom-built apps and workflows


Lightning Platform

The Lightning Platform – One App license isn’t available for new customers (it’s been replaced by the Platform license). This Salesforce licensing type is intended for users who need access to a single custom app but not standard CRM functionality.

These users have most of the same rights as Salesforce Platform users and access to an unlimited number of custom tabs. However, they can only use one custom app with up to 10 custom objects.

For example, your project managers may not need CRM access, but they may want to use a custom project management app that a Salesforce specialist built for you. Similarly, it can be used by business analysts, developers, and other internal and external users who need to use custom apps.

The – App Subscription license gives users access to either a Lightning Platform Light App or a Lightning Platform Enterprise App, which have different levels of access and permissions. Also, these users can view dashboards if the user running them has the same license. They, however, don’t have access to the CRM functionality.

This could be a good option for your non-sales and marketing executives who want to review revenue data. However, keep in mind that if you’re a new user, you should opt for the Platform license instead.

Company Community User

The Company Community License is aimed at employees within your business’s communities. It gives them the ability to access custom tabs, Salesforce Files, and Chatter, including people, groups, and feeds. In addition, it also gives them access to an Experience Cloud site, and they’ll have read-only access to Salesforce Knowledge articles.

Users with this Salesforce licensing type can also access up to 10 custom objects and 10 custom tabs, use Content, Ideas, Assets, and Identity features, use activities, tasks, calendars, and events, and have access to accounts, contacts, cases, and documents.

This Salesforce licensing type is a great option for your marketing staff if they aren’t Salesforce power users, customers, contractors, distributors, or partners.

Salesforce License Types

Knowledge-Only User

The Knowledge-Only User license is aimed at users who need access to the Salesforce Knowledge app. As such, it gives users access to custom objects, custom tabs, and standard tabs, including Articles, Article Management, Chatter, Files, Home, Profile, Reports, Custom objects, and Custom tabs. To use the Article Management tab, a user must have the Manage Articles permission.

You could choose the Knowledge-Only Salesforce licensing type for your external partners or clients, especially if you’re in the SaaS space and need to provide support documentation.


This license offers additional licenses for employees to access identity services only, like single sign-on (SSO). For instance, some of your employees may not require access to every solution provided by a Salesforce license. However, you still want these employees to be able to log in to a custom Your Benefits web app directly from your Salesforce organization using SSO.

You can then acquire the Identity Only license for them, which grants them access to the same identity services available with your other paid licenses in the Enterprise, Unlimited, Performance, and Developer Editions.

You can also use the identity-only license for external developers who need to test integrations, customers, or partners.

External Identity Salesforce Licensing Type

This license gives users access to Salesforce Customer Identity, which allows customers and partners to register, log in, update their profiles, and access web and mobile applications securely using a single identity. You can also customize it to fit your specific business process and brand, making it a great fit for external developers, partners, contractors, and clients.

Chatter External

As the name implies, the Chatter External license is intended for users outside your company’s email domain. These users, also known as customers, can be invited to Chatter groups open to customers. They can then access information and interact with users only in these groups.

Remember, though, they only have this capability in groups they have been invited to, and they cannot access Chatter objects or data. Also, Chatter External users can view user profiles but are not allowed to edit them.

Chatter Free

The Chatter Free license allows users to access Chatter without having a Salesforce license. They can access standard Chatter items to view people, profiles, groups, and files. Due to security reasons, they can’t access any Salesforce objects or data. As such, they can’t attend events created in Salesforce.

These users can also access feeds, people, groups, and files using the App Launcher in Lightning Experience, but they don’t have any tabs. These licenses can also be upgraded to a standard Salesforce or Lightning Platform Starter license at any time, so it’s a good option for hands-on customers.

Chatter Only

The Chatter Only license is also referred to as the Chatter Plus license. It’s aimed at users who do not have Salesforce licenses but need access to Chatter and a few other Salesforce objects. These users can act as Chatter moderators and obtain access to standard Chatter people, profiles, groups, and file pages. This license, however, is only available to current Chatter Plus customers.

Chatter Only

Lightning Platform Starter

The Lightning Platform Starter license is aimed at users in Experience Cloud sites who need access to Chatter and a range of other Salesforce objects. These users can be Chatter moderators and access standard Chatter people, profiles, groups, and file pages. In addition, users with this license can interact with a range of Salesforce objects and have access to several Salesforce features, capabilities, and custom objects.

The Lightning Platform Starter Salesforce licensing type is a great fit for developers, administrators, business analysts, project managers, and IT managers who need the platform for very specific purposes.

Salesforce Integration – One of the Best Salesforce Licensing Types for Developers

The Salesforce Integration license gives users access to Salesforce data and features only through the API. As such, it’s explicitly aimed at system-to-system integrations and can’t be used for human users that need to access Salesforce data or features through a user interface.

WDC-Only User

This license is for those users who don’t have a Salesforce license but need access to WDC. You’ll typically need to give access to your Operations and Business Analysts so they can integrate your Salesforce data with their BI software.

Permission Set Licenses

Permission set licenses entitle users to access additional features not included in their assigned user license. For instance, you might have given a user a Salesforce Platform user license, which gave them access to the objects and features they need for their daily tasks.

If you’d like them to have access to Lightning console apps, which are not included in their user license, you can assign a Lightning Console permission set license to the user. This will give them Lightning Console User permission, so they’ll be able to use Lightning Console apps. In this way, you can assign any number of permission set licenses to users based on their needs.

Feature Licenses

As the name implies, a feature license gives a user access to a feature that’s not included as standard with their Salesforce user license. In other words, they allow you to add a specific feature to a user or group without paying the full licensing fee.

For instance, if one of your sales users needs the ability to send email campaigns to prospects using the marketing features of Salesforce, you can activate a feature license for this. This makes feature licenses immensely helpful.

Usage-Based Entitlements

A usage-based entitlement is a limited resource that your business can use periodically. For example, you might have a defined number of logins to a Partner Community. Some entitlements give your business a set amount of resources, and the amount allowed doesn’t change unless your contract changes.

For instance, if your business buys monthly subscriptions for 50 people to use a Partner Community, you can allow up to 50 people to access the community as often as they’d like. In turn, other entitlements are like credit. So, you can use the resource up to the allowed amount of the entitlement over the time the entitlement is given for.

Find the Right Salesforce License for Your Business

It can take a while to pick the right Salesforce licensing type, but you’ll be well-prepared for the convo with your team with our guide. When you do, you’ll get the Salesforce features at a reasonable price. Bookmark it for your next chat and pick the right option for your business!

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