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We want to offer a customer portal that gives largely read-only access to some summary information via some custom site pages. Specifically these requirements are involved:

  1. access (read) to Account and Contact - read only
  2. access (read initially but CRUD in the future) to some of our custom objects (probably more than 10 different types)
  3. no need for sharing rules to be respected as the pages will be all custom and only expose specific data
  4. the license should not impose limits on which Accounts can be seen
  5. users authenticated via the normal salesforce username/password
  6. the cost per user to be very low and ideally more usage based than user based as users will rarely connect and many users will never connect at all

Is there a license that meets all these requirements?

(In other questions and answers I see mention of "Authenticated Website" licenses and that is mentioned in this User License Types page though that reads as if the "Customer Community" license is a replacement. But these licenses seem to be quite limiting on what data can be accessed and so do not necessarily meet all the above requirements.)

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  • You should specify what you mean by the word "access" with specific CRUD permissions. What kind of access? Read? Create? Delete? – greenstork Oct 11 '13 at 17:06
  • Present requirement is read only as it is a status inquiry portal. But there are future stories to allow some simple self-service activities that will require create and given there are triggers that do various date range calculations behind the scenes all of CRUD will probably be needed. I've modified the question to reflect this. – Keith C Oct 11 '13 at 17:36
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You have a couple of options at your disposal but I think all of what you are aiming to accomplish can be done with the Customer Community license. It meets every one of your requirements except #2 in its out-of-the-box form. Customer Community licenses only allow access to 10 custom objects however you can purchase an additional 10 objects, you should check with you Salesforce Account Executive for details here.

Customer Community licenses can be purchased in two formats, either named user licenses or High Volume licenses, which is a charge per login/session. You may need many users who login infrequently or you may need fewer users who login all of the time.

Here are a few helpful resources...

The first is a user license matrix from Wes Nolte and the folks at tquila: https://docs.google.com/a/salesforce.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuSsu_7yn04IdDRxajlZM196aGM1bUx2MHlMdERraHc&usp=sharing#gid=0

The second is Salesforce's explanation of user licenses: https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewHelpDoc?id=users_understanding_license_types.htm&language=en

The last point I'd mention is that you can create Visualforce controllers without sharing, which opens up what you can expose on a Visualforce page. By adding without sharing, you're risking exposing data that a user shouldn't have access to see, so use with caution.

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  • We have a call with salesforce next week and this helps me ask the right question; sounds like the "Customer Community/High Volume" may be the way to go. Thanks. – Keith C Oct 11 '13 at 18:01

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