Confluence - do I have to pay 100 users if I really only need 40?

Hi, I only need about 40 people to work on our wiki but do we have to pay for the 100 user license?

Yes, you would have to. Atlassian licenses have fixed-stepped costs. You would have to buy the next user tier, if the lower one doesn’t give you enough users.

Could we buy two 25-user licenses and join them later somehow?

Sorry, another no. Atlassian’s system does not allow more than one valid license. You can overrule an old one with a new one but never join two licenses.

But there are options to “save” users:

1. Anonymous users:

There are several options to use lesser users in Confluence. One can work with a so called “anonymous user account”. Here one does not log into Confluence but will work with a standard guest user id. This “collective user” can be treated like any user, receive permissions, read, write and comment. It’s just not personalized. Here all guests could comment for example. In a community wiki all anonymous guests can even change documents.

2. Shared users:

Here you can input part of your users into Confluence by using an “active-directory-group” and the other part separately and manually. These manually created users can be used by any number of users at the same time. In our wiki, for example, several employees use a user called “//SEIBERT/MEDIA-employee” in order to input not personalized content into our pages. By doing this, you can lower the total of users in the system.

If you are now asking if this “saving of users” is not against the terms or conditions of use of Atlassian:

Atlassian, of course, can allow or forbid certain practices. Right now the two above described options are technically available and Atlassian does not prohibit them. Sometimes those practices are even offered and recommended. In certain cases, we can also recommend those methods to our clients to save license cost.

Why should we then not just buy a 10US$ license and have all employees work anonymously?

In general, it is not wise to use the above-mentioned elements to just save license cost. Taking part in a company wiki brings for many employees already some obstacles like “should I really share all of my knowledge there?”. If an employee can’t receive the credit for his shared knowledge directly, only for budget reasons, the general participation will go down for sure.

Confluence is also full of motivating mention features or notifications by emails which a shared user could not receive.

Our tip is: don’t save on license cost but offer a personalized and own user to each employee in order to get full participation and acceptance of your system.

Great, thanks for your long and informative reply. It makes a lot of sense what you said in your last answer. We will go for the 100 user license!