FileMaker 17 – products and licensing

With the release of the FileMaker 17 Platform, FileMaker Inc., has taken the opportunity to simplify the licensing model and the products on offer.


The FileMaker Platform consists of the following products:

  • FileMaker Server
  • FileMaker Pro Advanced
  • FileMaker Go
  • FileMaker WebDirect
  • FileMaker Data API

Each licensing model provides all products. There are differences between the models in how many servers are included, the client connections available, and the data transfer limits via the API.

Licensing models

There are three licensing models:

  • User license (UL)
  • Concurrent license (CL)
  • Site license (SL)

For convenience, we will refer to these by the two letter acronyms above.

Each model can be purchased on an annual or perpetual basis. Annual licensing is most common and convenient – just pay the renewal each year or uninstall. Perpetual licensing requires renewal each year – if you do not renew, you can use your current version in perpetuity but no upgrades are available.

What products are included?

  • UL includes all clients for all users and three (3) server installs.
  • CL includes all clients for all connections and one (1) server install.
  • SL includes all clients for all seats and one server install per seat.

Starting points and usage

Both UL and CL start from five (5) licenses. And you can add any number of licenses, one at a time. There are price breaks (less per license) when the total licenses reaches 10, 25, 50 or 100. SL starts from 25 seats.

  • UL: a user is defined as a unique person who will access FileMaker Solutions using any FileMaker client
  • CL: a concurrent connection allows access to FileMaker Solutions using any FileMaker client
  • SL: a seat is any staff member of the licensing organisation, whether they use FileMaker Solutions or not.

For all licensing, FileMaker Pro Advanced can only be provided to users within the licensing organisation.

For CL and SL (but not UL), anonymous users (e.g. customers) can access hosted FileMaker Solutions using FileMaker Go and FileMaker WebDirect.

For annual UL and CL, one server can be installed on FileMaker Cloud (AWS). For annual SL, any number of servers can be used on FileMaker Cloud.

For outbound API calls, all models provide 24GB of data transfer per year per user/concurrency/seat (inbound API calls are not limited). This data is conveniently pooled for the license. So for the minimum 5 user UL or CL, there is 120GB (24x5GB) available per year. Additional data can be purchased.

One FileMaker Pro client

FileMaker Pro is the desktop client that runs on macOS and Windows. In FileMaker 16, there were three FileMaker Pro clients:

  • FileMaker Pro
  • FileMaker Pro Advanced
  • FileMaker Pro for User Connections

In the FileMaker 17 lineup, there is now just one:

  • FileMaker Pro Advanced

Accessing advanced features

The advanced features include tools such as the Script Debugger and Data Viewer, and access to manage Custom Functions and Custom Menus.

When FileMaker Pro Advanced is installed, no advanced features are available. These features are simply turned on by checking the checkbox for Use advanced tools within the Preferences (General > Application) and then restarting the application.

FMPA17 Prefs


As shown above, FileMaker Pro Advanced is included in every licensing model. It can also be purchased as individual licenses through the FileMaker Store. Upgrades are available from versions 14 (limited time), 15 or 16 of FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Pro Advanced.

User connections

If FileMaker Pro Advanced is installed using an individual, UL or SL key, accessing a hosted FileMaker Solution will not use a concurrent connection. If it is installed using a CL key, it will require and use a concurrent connection on the server.


Believe it or not, this licensing is simpler than it used to be. There are some other licensing options that are only available through FBA developers or directly through the FileMaker sales team. And there are some complications if you start mixing UL and CL.

If you have any questions, uLearnIT is happy to discuss your situation or you can call your local FileMaker sales team.

2 Responses

  1. Hi,
    You have written it so simple and easy. Yet I have some doubt or clarification required further.
    How can i know if my existing license is based on UL / CL ?


    1. I believe that if you show information about your FileMaker Pro copy installed, it will note a User Connection License there.
      Go to Help > About FileMaker Pro…

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