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Enforcement of named user licensing

To activate the Portal for ArcGIS software, use an Esri-provided authorization file. The number of named users that you can add to your portal is limited by this authorization file. If the maximum number of named users registered to your portal 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 10.2.1 and later versions, the software enforces the named user licensing model by doing the following:

  • Preventing your portal from accepting more ArcGIS organizational accounts than licensed
  • Disabling access to the portal website for all members without administrator privileges if the portal already has more members than licensed

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

Total Membership listed on the My Organization page

While the number of members allowed in the organization is limited by your authorization 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.


Since named user licensing was not enforced in Portal for ArcGIS 10.2, you may already have more ArcGIS organizational accounts registered in your portal than allowed by your authorization file. After you upgrade 10.2 to a later version, do one of the following:

  • Obtain a new authorization file from Esri with the sufficient number of named users and authorize Portal for ArcGIS again.
  • Remove members from your portal to reduce the total number of named users to the maximum allowed by your authorization file. You can remove individual members from the portal using the portal website, or remove them in bulk using a command line utility. See Manage members for full instructions.

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 software authorization error message stating that the number of registered members in the portal exceeds the maximum number for which the portal has been licensed. The number of current members and the maximum number of members allowed display in the error message. This error message displays each time the portal website is accessed by an administrator.

    Software Authorization Error message

  • Accessing the portal website, the ArcGIS Portal Directory, and the portal through ArcGIS for Desktop with a member account that has user or publisher privileges 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.

    Sign In Error message

  • 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.

    Create Account Error message