Understanding FileMaker’s Licensing Options

FileMaker offers many different options for licensing their software. These excerpts from Learn FileMaker Pro 16, may help to answer your questions.


FileMaker offers three different options for how users connect to a FileMaker Server. These options may seem unnecessarily complex at first, however, they are designed to offer flexibility based on how individual team members access the server and can help to avoid unnecessary costs associated with a traditional approach.

The three options, which can be used in any combination, are:

  • Legacy license
  • User connection license
  • Non-licensed

Legacy License

The legacy license is a traditional, computer-centric option where a copy of the client application is purchased for each computer upon which it will be installed. This license type applies only to copies of FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced.

Once purchased and installed, the software can be used to work on databases locally or to connect to databases hosted on a server. When connecting to a FileMaker Server the number of legacy connections is theoretically unlimited, except for any limitations imposed by hardware specifications, database design or the operating system of the host computer. However, this has only been officially tested up to 250 connections.

This license type is best suited for users who may work with databases locally outside of an office network without access to a server or for those who just prefer the traditional licensing model. However, using the legacy license, a user might end up purchasing multiple licenses if they typically divide the work between an office workstation, a laptop and a home computer. Each of these computers would require an individual license.

For more information about legacy licensing or to make a purchase, visit the FileMaker store.

User Connection License

The user connection license is a new, more user-centric option, in which a FileMaker Server is required and special licenses are purchased for each concurrent user connection. FileMaker calls this approach FileMaker Licensing for Teams and offers it as a simple way for teams of five or more people to license software.

Using this option, each user requires a user connection license and can then freely connect to hosted databases using any software including FileMaker Go, FileMaker WebDirect or FileMaker Pro (for User Connections) license. All this software is “free” and can be installed on all the user’s devices since it requires a connection license on the server to access a hosted database or, in the case of the desktop application, to run locally. The user software can be installed on more computers than the number of user connection licenses purchased, however, the number of concurrent users cannot exceed the number of licenses purchased.

FileMaker Server includes one user connection license for testing purposes. FileMaker limits the number of user connections purchasable on their web store to 100. However, additional licenses can be purchased by contacting a sales representative.

Copies of the client desktop applications purchased under the legacy license can be used in conjunction with user connections and do not count toward the available user connections on the server.

For more information about legacy licensing or to make a purchase, contact a sale representative or visit the FileMaker store.

Non-Licensed Connections

When creating your own client-side connections, there are no licensing requirements besides the purchase of a FileMaker Server.

Custom Web Publishing has a theoretical limit of 2000 concurrent connections but has only been officially tested to 200. ODBC/JDBC clients are theoretically unlimited, but have been tested to 50 concurrent connections and may be limited by hardware and operating system.