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The Yeoman’s Guide to SP2013 Internet/Extranet Licensing: Part 2

(This article is the second in a two-part series.  For Part 1, please click here.)
If I were a decision maker or purchasing manager in an enterprise IT department, this is how I’d like to view SharePoint CALs (CAL is shorthand for Client Access License in the Redmond Universe): a “solution first” approach that tells me what I’m getting and why.  How does it all work together?  Don’t tell me about Search, Web Content, and Mobility as separate swimlanes.  Tell me how they can be combined in a single solution that serves my business needs.
It’s with THAT perspective in mind that I want to look at Internet Sites and Extranets in SharePoint 2013.
Internet Sites
The best SP 2013 websites I’ve seen to date heavily leverage content by search– dynamic assembly of content– and mobile features.  If you look at these traditionally, they’re from two functional areas: “Search” and “Web Content”.  The reality is, they’re both equally important elements of a good SP 2013 internet site.

  • There is no longer a specific SKU for SharePoint Server For Internet Sites (the old “FIS” Server).  Following on this, there is no longer a FAST for Internet sites either.
  • Enterprise is further required if you want to use SharePoint for public-facing Internet sites.
  • The content by search webpart– which we leverage for dynamic content assembly– is available only in Enterprise.

The bottom line is that Internet sites in SharePoint 2013 are significantly less expensive to license than those built on SharePoint 2010 FIS, but boast significant leaps in functionality– device channels  and image renditions, metadata-driven navigation, dynamically-generated content, and content targeting– that were not available in the previous, significantly more expensive product.
Extranet Platforms
In general, an Extranet’s feature set tends to resemble the more collaborative aspects of an Intranet.  Unlike intranets, though, a thorn in the side of SharePoint Extranet projects for many years has been the issue of authentication.  Now that claims is the default for authentication to SharePoint, the road has been paved for Microsoft to address this issue… and address it they have.
Microsoft has made things a lot more comfortable for Extranet users– people not in your Active Directory or on your payroll that may include vendors, partners, contractors, or even customers.
Some key points for this solution:

  • The external users outlined above DO NOT NEED LICENSES (but internal users still require CALs for authentication– no free rides here!)  This is a nice line in the sand.  With Claims as the primary authentication method, you don’t need to worry about Active Directory anymore.
  • Extranets do face the Internet– so you do need Enterprise to make them work.
  • Office 365 users get 10,000 external user CALs.  That’s a whopping big extranet, and another great reason to think about the Microsoft cloud.

In summary, you now need SharePoint Enterprise to do either a public Internet site or an Extranet platform on SharePoint, but that’s not a bad thing.  It’s no longer prohibitively expensive, and beyond that, it’s packed with features to make it a better web content platform.  Got questions?  Shoot me an email at

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Rich Wood

Rich Wood has been planning, designing and building enterprise solutions and internet sites with an emphasis on stellar user and customer experiences since 1997. Rich is a National Director for Content and Commerce Platform work in Perficient Digital. One of the rare breed of strategists to truly understand both the business needs of the customer and the platforms that serve them, he is a keen advocate for and accomplished speaker/writer on issues that surround that inflection point. His work has been published on CMSWire, Sitecore and Microsoft partner blogs, and his own LinkedIn page as well as our various blogs here at Perficient, and he has spoken at multiple major conferences including Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2014. Married and a father of five, Rich enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is a native of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of Marquette University.

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