SharePoint 2007 Licensing Part III: FAQ

In Part III in this mini-series on SharePoint 2007 licensing, I’m merely answering some of the questions that I’ve been emailed over the past couple of months. As I’ve stated in previous posts, you absolutely should work with either a Microsoft Licensing Specialist or with your VAR (Dell, CDW, etc.) to ensure that you are purchasing the appropriate SharePoint 2007 licenses for your implementation needs.

Terms used in this FAQ:

MOSS is a general acronym for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and can be used interchangeably with SharePoint 2007 or SharePoint. However, MOSS specifically refers to the licensed server version of the product and not WSS. MOSSFIS is the acronym that refers specifically to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet Sites (please review my previous posts Part I and Part II for more information). WSS is the generally accepted acronym for Windows SharePoint Services and in this document only refers to the current version of WSS 3.0.

Q: Since we intend to launch private sites using SharePoint 2007, I assume we need to acquire the full enterprise server license and not the "Internet Server" version, correct?

A: Correct.  If “private sites” are to be used by employees, then site needs MOSS 2007 Server plus at least the Standard CAL for each employee that will use the site.  The Enterprise CAL is additive and must be used in addition to the Standard CAL for employees using Enterprise features.  This does not mean that you can’t protect content on a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server for Internet Sites (MOSSFIS) because you can. This does mean that a large company (like Microsoft, for example) could not use a MOSSFIS license to run their Intranet because it is cheaper than the cumulative CAL costs. However, depending on your site needs, you may find that WSS 3.0 is sufficient for your needs which would eliminate the need for any SharePoint specific licenses.

Q: Each box in the farm aside from the DB server needs its own license, correct?

A: Correct.  Every SharePoint server needs a unique server license, whether WFE, Index, Query, etc. Additionally, each SharePoint server needs the same set of server licenses. For example, if you are running an Internet-facing farm that has 2 WFE and 1 index server, you must use the MOSSFIS license on all 3 servers. Furthermore, if you are running a single 3-server farm that for Intranet, Extranet, and Internet sites, you must run 2 different licenses on each of the 3 server servers: MOSSFIS (for public) and MOSS Server (for employees, for which you would also need CALs).

Q: If we were to deploy the "Internet Server" (MOSSFIS) version would we be able to later launch private sites for users who were covered by individual CALs?

A: Yes. The updated SharePoint 2007 licensing model allows for both versions of the product to be installed on the same farm. If you deploy MOSSFIS only, and then decide that you want to add sites for CAL-based users later, you would then need to purchase the appropriate CALs and the MOSS Server license in addition to the Internet license (MOSSFIS). The “MOSS for Internet” (MOSSFIS) can not be used with CALs, because CALs are only usable with the MOSS Server license. Originally you couldn’t even use these products on the same farm, but Microsoft has updated their licensing model to allow this.

Q: When deploying the Enterprise license, is there a need to purchase the Forms Server product?

A: No.  Both the Enterprise CAL and the MOSS for Internet Sites (MOSSFIS) provide the Forms Server functionality.

Q: To deploy extranet apps to our partners, we would have to purchase individual CALs for them correct?

A: Extranet apps targeting non-employees should be made available through the MOSS for Internet (MOSSFIS) license while employees still need the normal server license and CALs.

Q: If we are deploying Forms Services, do we need licenses of InfoPath 2007?

A: Maybe. End users consuming Forms Services do not need to have InfoPath installed. However, any user that wishes to create forms using InfoPath to deploy on the Forms Services component of MOSS will need a license of InfoPath 2007. If your consultant or contractor is developing all of your forms, then that is the individual that needs InfoPath 2007.

Q: If we are deploying Excel Services, do we need licenses of Excel 2007?

A: Maybe (exact same answer as above, only substitute Excel). End users consuming Excel Services do not need to have Excel installed. However, any user that wishes to create spreadsheets using Excel to deploy on the Excel Services component of MOSS will need a license of Excel. If your consultant or contractor is developing all of your spreadsheets, then that is the individual that needs Excel 2007.

Q: If these external users had volume license agreements from their own companies to use MOSS 2007 systems in place there, would they be allowed to access our systems with these licenses, or would we still have to purchase new CALs for them?

A: You cannot use CALs from an external company license for anything in your company.

Q: Is there no longer an "external adapter" licensing option as existed for SP 2003?

A: The MOSS for Internet (MOSSFIS) license has replaced the previous external adapter licensing.  However, please keep in mind that depending on your solution you may still need the Windows 2003 Server External Connector License as well.

Q: Are there any other interesting points which you may have run into researching or deploying MOSS licenses.

A: You should work with a VAR or a Microsoft Licensing rep to solidify your individual needs. I generally recommend Dell as a Microsoft reseller.

Q: Do I need Office 2007 to use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007?

A: No. While Microsoft recommends (as do I) using Office 2007 to take full advantage of all of the great features that are available in MOSS, you do not NEED Office 2007. You can use Office 2003, Office XP, or Office 2000. In fact, you do not even need to use any Microsoft Office desktop application to get a tremendous amount of benefit from SharePoint 2007. You can use SharePoint 2007 for content management, surveys, discussion boards, picture libraries, web pages, email record management, content types, and many other things (inclduing document management for PDFs, PSDs, TIF, GIF, JPG, and many more non-Office document types) without using any version of Microsoft Office. I’ve seen many articles/blogs/newsgroup entries that indicate that you need Office 2007. This is absolutely untrue! I’ll soon be posting an article on the full advantages of using Office 2007 with SharePoint 2007 and why I recommend upgrading, but to be crystal clear: You do not need Office 2007 to use SharePoint 2007. (I’m sure I’ll get some comments on this, so please feel free…)

By John Stover

John Stover Bio.


  1. I just needed to say that I found your blog via Google and I am glad I did. Keep up the good work and I will make sure to bookmark you for when I have more free time away from the books. Thanks again!

  2. Hi,

    We have 100 CALs as an example. Now, how do I know that not more than 100 users are logging into the system, provided that we have more than 100 employees in our organization.

    I have provided view access to all NT/Authenticated users. But among them I have configured only 100 users those who can access to my MOSS 2007 site. What I have found, whoever tries to access to SharePoint site other than permitted users creates their own user account in SharePoint. However they get ‘Access Denied’ error page whenever try to access to the site. I would like to know becuase of thier account created by themselves in SharePoint, do I need to pay CAL license fee to Microsoft evern after those users cannot view any contents of the site?


  3. Dewan – You do not have to purchase CALs for those users who are not accessing the site. Furthermore, there is no restriction in SharePoint that counts CALs and only allows that certain number of users in. SharePoint’s CAL model is currently based on the ‘honor system’. If and when you get audited, you need to have the appropriate licensing.

    As far as troubleshooting this… You said you have provided View Access. Did you add this NT Authority\Authenticated Users to the SharePoint Security Group? Try just adding the role of Domain Users and see if you get different results.

    1. On the home page of the site, click Site Actions, point to Site Permissions.
    2. Click on Grant Permissions in the Ribbon Toolbar.
    3. Use the Browse icon to launch the Select People and Groups web dialog.
    4. To add all domain user accounts to the group, use either the NT AUTHORITY\authenticated users or use the DOMAIN\Domain Users.
    5. Verify that Add users to a SharePoint group is selected and that the correct group (Visitors) is selected, and then click OK.

  4. Hi John,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. I will try to test the option that you mentioned.

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