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FileMaker Licensing

It’s fair to say that when looking to buy a FileMaker license, there are quite a few options. Here is KRCS’s simple guide to choosing the right kind of license for your organisation.


Option 1: FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT)

Introduced at the same time as FileMaker 15 in 2016, FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT) is designed for organisations with between 5 and 100 users of FileMaker, who want to share their databases across all the users. Users can connect with any of FileMaker’s client apps; FileMaker Pro on a Mac or PC, FileMaker Go on iOS, or even connect using a web browser. Any mixture of apps is allowed.

You get a copy of FileMaker Server to install on a single Mac or PC, and a copy of FileMaker Pro to install on all your user’s machines. You can get FileMaker Go for iOS devices for free from the app store.

You can also use your FLT license with FileMaker Cloud, if you would prefer not to have a server running at your premises.

How many FLT licenses do I need?

That’s easy, just count how many staff will need access to FileMaker (regardless of how often or which kind of device they will be using) and that is how many licenses you will need.

FLT is sold in distinct user numbers, i.e. up to 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 etc. So if you have 8 users, then you purchase a license for up to 10 users.

When is FLT likely to be the right choice for my organisation?

There are two common indicators that FLT is right for your team


a) you have less than 15 staff in your organisation


b) your organisation has over 15 staff but less than half of them need access to FileMaker

If either of these sound like you, then FLT is probably right choice.

When is FLT not the right choice?

If more than half of your staff use FileMaker AND you have more than 30 staff, then it is probably more cost effective to buy a site license for FileMaker. See below for more details of that.

Also, when using FLT, all your users of FileMaker Pro (on Mac or PC) must be connected to a FileMaker Server at all times, or at least be able to connect to it. So if you want to use FileMaker when you are not able to connect to the FileMaker Server, then you may need either a Site License or to buy Legacy Licensing.

Finally, if you need multiple FileMaker Server’s, then you must look to a different type of license.

How can I pay for FileMaker Licensing for Teams?

You can either pay annually (once per year), or you can buy a perpetual license (which means it lasts forever).

If you pay annually then you will be entitled to download and use the latest FileMaker software whenever it is released.

If you buy the perpetual license, then you will be entitled to free updates for a year, after which you can choose to pay for a maintenance plan to allow you to continue to be entitled to the updates.

Most customers choose to pay annually to benefit from the free updates and to spread the cost of the licensing.


Option 2: Site License Agreement

A Site License allows to you to use FileMaker for as many of your staff need it across your organisation. You can also install as many FileMaker Servers as you need (up to the number of users that you license) and everyone can use FileMaker.

You can also use FileMaker Pro bought with a site license independently of a FileMaker Server (unlike FileMaker Licensing for Teams which requires you to be connected to a FileMaker server at all times).

You can either host your FileMaker Server(s) in-house on a Mac or PC, or you can use your site license on FileMaker Cloud.

How do I count my users for Site Licensing?

Count the total number of full-time-equivalent staff you have in your organisation (whether or not they use FileMaker), and that is the number that will be used to calculate the cost of your license.

If you have a staff member who only works a half or a quarter of the week, then they count as 0.5 or 0.25 respectively when working this one out!

If you have staff who will never use FileMaker, then you must still count them.

When is a site license right for me?

It is more cost effective to buy a site license if more than half of your staff use FileMaker AND your organisation has 30 or more staff.

When is a site license not the right choice?

If your organisation is smaller than 30 staff, or less than half of your staff use FileMaker, then FileMaker licensing for Teams would be more cost effective.

How can I pay for a FileMaker Site License?

The options are exactly the same as for FileMaker Licensing for Teams, please see above.


Option 3: Legacy licensing

Legacy licensing was the model that FileMaker used before FileMaker 15 was released in 2016. At the time or writing (March 2018) it is still available.

It allows you to choose exactly how many copies of FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Go and WebDirect, and FileMaker Server you need. Connections using FileMaker Go and WebDirect are significantly more costly using this model than the equivalent per-head cost of FLT however. This is why the FLT license came about, and why FLT is more sensible for most organisations.

How do I count my users for Legacy Licensing?

Legacy licensing involved you having to decide how many users of FileMaker Pro (on Mac or PC) you require, and separately how many users of FileMaker Go or FileMaker WebDirect (on a web browser) you need.

You then also decide how many FileMaker Server’s you require.

When is a legacy license right for me?

Legacy licensing is usually NOT the right choice for most organisations, however…

If you don’t need any copies of FileMaker Server then it may be more cost effective. However, you would only be able to share a single database amongst 5 users without FileMaker Server.

Also, since you can buy user-licenses in single units with legacy licensing, then sometimes (e.g you need 6 FileMaker Pro, and only one FileMaker Go/WebDirect user plus FileMaker Server) it may be more cost effective than FLT in very specific circumstances.

When is a legacy license not right for me?

If you have FileMaker Go or WebDirect users amongst your staff, or staff want to freely choose which platform they use to connect on any given session, then legacy licensing is usually a more costly choice, and you should look at FLT or site licensing instead (see above)

How can I pay for a FileMaker Legacy Licensing?

The options are exactly the same as for FileMaker Licensing for Teams, please see above. You can also make a saving by choosing the annual agreement (rather than perpetual), but committing to and paying for 2 or 3 years up front.


Option 4: Single copies of FileMaker Pro or Pro Advanced

If you are just starting out with FileMaker, or you just need a database for your own use, then you can buy single user licenses. These do not include FileMaker Server, but FileMaker Pro can share a database with up to five users.

Is that everything?

Not quite, but these are the common options. Educational institutions can get beneficial pricing but the options are the same.

Help, I’m still not sure!!

KRCS would be happy to guide you towards the correct license for your organisation. Please give us a call on 0115 9851797 and speak to the sales team.

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