I understand an "external user" does not require license cals but I seem to be reading conflicting things on what constitutes external users.

What is the definition of an external user?

  • A person that is not employed by Company A or by any of its sub companies who are owned by Company A?
  • A person that is not required to authenticate to access a SharePoint site?
  • A person that is not authenticated via Active Directory?
  • All of the above?
  • None of the above?

My scenario:

We have a need to grant users access to a SharePoint site. These users are not employees of any of our sister/sub-companies. They are more like a third party supplier for whom we raise purchase orders for. We will create Active Directory accounts for them to access the SharePoint site. The site is available on the Internet and requires these Active Directory credentials to authenticate.

1 Answer 1


As per Defination: External Users: Users who are not the licensee’s or its affiliates’ employees or on-site agents or contractors.

In SharePoint 2013 CALs are not required for external users, regardless if they authenticate or not, If the dont fall under the above criteria.

Read this one(check the comments ont he blog): http://blogs.technet.com/b/volume-licensing/archive/2013/08/08/licensing-how-to-sharepoint-server-2013-licensing-changes.aspx

  • The comments in this article were actually really useful in clarifying what constitutes an external user. Thanks
    – Submits
    Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 9:47

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