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Enforcement of named user licensing

To activate the Portal for ArcGIS software, use an Esri-provided .json license file. The number of named users per user type that you can add to your portal is limited by this license file. If the maximum number of registered members per user type exceeds your license entitlement, you are no longer in compliance with the license.

Throughout the documentation, within the portal website, and in ArcGIS applications, named users are typically referred to as ArcGIS organizational accounts or members of the ArcGIS organization.

In Portal for ArcGIS, the software enforces the named user licensing model by doing the following:

  • Preventing your portal from accepting more ArcGIS organizational accounts than licensed within each user type
  • Disabling access to the portal website for members without administrator privileges that are assigned a user type that has more members than licensed

You can determine the number of members your portal is licensed for and the current number of registered members per user type by logging in to the portal website as an administrator and accessing the Organization page. This is useful for monitoring portal membership and assessing whether your organization should consider increasing the membership capacity of your portal deployment.

While the number of members allowed in the organization is limited by your license file, an unlimited number of users can use your portal without membership. To learn more about the added privileges and functionality that accessing a portal as a member of the ArcGIS organization provides, see Understanding access privileges.

If you are not in compliance with your licensing, the following occurs:

  • Accessing the portal website with an account that has administrative privileges displays a notice that the number of licenses assigned exceeds the number of licenses available. Click on the Licenses tab to view the user types that exceeded the number of licenses available. This indication is displayed each time the portal website is accessed by an administrator.
  • Accessing the portal website, the ArcGIS Portal Directory, and the portal through ArcGIS Desktop with a non-administrative account displays a sign-in error message stating the member cannot sign in to the portal because of a software authorization error. The member is directed to contact the portal administrator for assistance. The member cannot access the portal until the software authorization error is resolved.
  • New member accounts cannot be created through the portal website or the ArcGIS Portal Directory. If a user attempts to create a member account, an error message displays stating the account could not be created because of a software authorization error. The user is directed to contact the portal administrator for assistance.

Reaching capacity within user types

Portal for ArcGIS administrators can leverage user types when assigning organizational roles and privileges to members.

In the event where a member requests additional privileges while membership is at capacity for both the current and desired user type, the portal administrator can temporarily assign users a user type that is at capacity. The portal administrator should quickly reassign a member assigned the same user type to a different user type that is not at capacity.


When membership to a user type exceeded, users assigned that user type will not be able to access the portal. Administrators should minimize the time a user type is in this state when updating user types that are at capacity.

The following is an example describing such a scenario and its solution:

An ArcGIS organization is authorized and currently at capacity for a total membership of 30 members (named users). Of those, (25) are assigned a Viewer user type and (5) are assigned a Creator user type. While at capacity, the portal administrator receives an urgent request from a Viewer, whom requires temporary access to create content. In order to handle this request, the administrator can complete the following steps:

  • Identify another Creator whom can be demoted temporarily to accommodate the Viewer's urgent request for additional privileges.
  • After logging in to the portal website with an administrator account, click the Organization tab and select Manage members. Locate the user who will be temporarily changed to a Viewer and click the currently assigned (Creator) user type.
  • In the window that opens, change the user type for the selected member to Viewer and click Save.
  • Change the user type for the member whom has requested additional privileges to Creator.
  • Once the privileges are no longer needed for the urgent request, both members can be returned to their original status.

The maximum value for a user type membership can be exceeded by 1 member at a given time. When membership is exceeded by 1, users assigned that user type will not be able to access the portal.