SharePoint Licencing Demystified

This post explains what type licences are required for the SharePoint Server farm and how to choose the right license.

SharePoint Server Licences

1. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites (FIS)

This licence model is for internet-faces sites that can be accessed by :

o external users (suppliers, customers, vendors, student, and the public)*

o both anonymous and authenticated users

o Internal users, only if all content, information, and applications are also accessible to external users **

* Server and CAL licensing is not required for people who use SharePoint only to author information

** If the server has items that are for internal use only, those users require CALs, and their servers require licenses for SharePoint Server.

"Intranet sites" licence can be used for both internal and remote employees with the appropriate number of CALs, even though intranet sites might be exposed to the Internet to allow access to remote employees,

SharePoint Server for Internet Sites must be licensed on all servers (staging,application,index, front-end) that provide content to external users.

This license has all the features of the Enterprise Edition of Office SharePoint Server. This is a per server license that does not require the purchase of Client Access Licenses.

2. Client Access Licence (CAL)

Required for MOSS/SharePoint Server 2010 for every employee contributing to or accessing site internally

Other Licenses

SharePoint Server requires Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server and does not include licenses for those products

1. Windows Licences

o External Connector Licence


This is Windows Server licence that is required to allow your external users ( business partners, customers , students) to access your network.

External Connector licenses should be acquired for each Windows server that the external user is accessing (not just for the server to which they are authenticating), regardless if it”s SQL Server, Index server or file server, because their data is accessed over the Internet.

Pricing: $1999 USD per server, and $7999 with Remote Access

Additional Sources:

o Client Access Licence

Device-based CAL (Device CAL) is required for every device that accesses a SharePoint Server, regardless of the number of people who use that device

User CAL, a CAL is required for every person who accesses a SharePoint Server, regardless of the number of devices used.

Whatever option is chosen, all CALs must be the same type.

2. SQL Server licences

For the "Active-Passive" cluster the processors” licenses for Active Node only are required. Thus, for the 4 servers SQL Cluster only 2 licences are required.

Sample calculation

Current calculation is performed for the following scenario, with 3 Servers

Public facing Web Site which is used by anonymous read only visitors, plus those whom may register to be sent regular email, participate in a community or book airline tickets. These machines will not be used for content contribution, a.k.a. content authoring and approval. These boxes are purely for servicing Internet users

Price is indicative only 

MOSS (2xWFE, 1xIndex)






Windows External Connector




Windows 2003 R2 Standard





SQL (2 node cluster, 2x CPU each)


SQL Server 2005 Standard CPU




Windows External Connector




Windows 2003 R2 Standard








Environment Licences

Code development and testing

Use an MSDN license

Content authoring

Use the server license with the appropriate number of CALs


Staging environments are typically configured to match the production environment. Consequently, use the Internet sites license.

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