Home » Communities » Build a simple Salesforce Community and give access to External Users

Build a simple Salesforce Community and give access to External Users

Still studying for the Sales Cloud Consultant certificate. Chapter 8 of the Study Guide is about Communities and Site Management, so why not dig deeper into this subject and build a Community!? Here we go!

The first part of this post is mainly about Communities, its License models

  • Communities are branded online spaces that allows you to connect with your employees, customers and partners
  • It is a way to leverage the information that your customer and your employees have to work together
  • Example of a well-known Community: Salesforce Customer Success Community… I am sure many of you are already contributing to it!
  • A Community can target your Customers, your Partners or even your internal Users. It can also target more than 1 of these user types.
  • An example of an internal Community is a company intranet portal, where Employees can use chatter, ask questions, check Articles, share ideas, open internal Cases… etc.
  • An example of a Community for your Customers:
    • Support community: where customers can check your Articles, ask questions, open cases…etc. (Customers and Employees can be part of such Community)
    • Event Registration Community: chatter, events, Registrations, Q&A, Articles, Ideas…

Steps to build Communities:


How Communities work?

  • Communities live inside Salesforce org, and allow you to give external members access to subset of yoru date.
  • Access is controlled through community profiles and roles that integrate with your Security model
  • The external contact will also be Users of your Org.
  • Community Licenses are a special type of Licenses. They are listed below.
  • Developer Edition has 5 License count of the below Community licenses
License Use Example
Customer Community
– Named User based
– Login count based
B2C Communities with high volume of users
– Max 10M Users
Communities where you can access knowledge articles, or QA for Products and Services
Customer Community Plus
– Named User based
– Login count based
B2C or B2B Communities for Support and non-sales scenario
– Max 1 M User and 500K Account Roles
All above +Role Hierarchy +Sharing +Delegated Admin +Reports & Dashboards
Partner Community
– Named User based
– Login count based
B2B Communities with Access to CRM Data and PRM features
– Max 1 M User and 500K Account Roles
All above +CRM

  • Max Community Users:

  • Login vs. Named Users Licenses.
    • Member based (Named Users): Each user consumes a License
    • Login based: monthly pool of Licenses – you are paying baed on the number of Logins you consume!
    • Login based is based on a 12-month usage, if 100 logins per month, you can have months more than 100.
      • To know the logins, install AppExchange package: Salesforce Community Management.
      • Another App: OSF License Optimizer to re-assign user to the right license based on usage, if you have a mix of license types.
  • Careful: No Migration across license Type! Make sure to pick the right license from the start!
  • Make sure you choose an adequate Domain name:
    • mydomain.force.com/communityname
    • once you choose a domain name, it cannot be changed


What you need to create a Community:

  • After buying the Licenses, start building the Community
  • New Communities start in Preview mode: you can test them internally beforehand
  • Step 1: security: For external members:
    • Create Profiles/Permission Sets
    • Account + Contact + User + Profile of User added to Community = Community Member!
    • Consider which Tab they can see
    • User Creation method: Admin username/password or Self-registration, API, or authentication provider like Facebook, LinkedIn…etc.
    • Set the OWD of the External Access
    • Set the User Visibility Settings

  • Community User Visibility:
    • If checked, each User can @Mention any other User
    • If unchecked, cannot, only way is to use Sharing Rules on the User Object (Users from same group can @Mention each others)
  • External Users Roles: for External Users, you can have 1 to 3 roles for each Account
  • Also, there is Super User who can see data owbed by users in same role, or users below them in hierarchy
  • Step 2: community details:
    • Communitty Name
    • Description
    • URL: mydomain.force.com/communityname
    • Branding: Logo, color scheme, header, footer, chatter email logo, login page header… (Upload to the Documents tab).
  • Email template:
  • Create a Community Zone if required
  • Step 3: internal pilot Group (best practice): Create Profile/Permission Set


Community Use Cases:


Building a Community Example:

Let us create a Community with the below goals:

  • Step 1: enable Communities – Go to: Build | Customize | Communities | Communities Settings – check the Enable checkbox. When you check the box, you should give the Domain name: walidsc
  • The Domain name CANNOT be changed once set.
  • Step2: enable the “View Global Header” for the System Administrator Profile. This is a new permission that is added when Community is enabled. It allows you tp View the global header to switch between apps and communities and access personal setup and customization options. This can be found in the System Permission section.
Left Side: Right Side:
  • Only allow it for the Users who will access Community on a Regular basis. Make sure to tell them UI change!
  • Also, clone the Profile: Customer Community User to C_Customer Community User (so that you can Edit it) that uses the License (Customer Community)
  • Make the OWD for external access. Go to Sharing Settings and Enable External Sharing model. Set the Objects to Private!
  • Step 3: create the customer support community. – Go to: Build | Customize | Communities | All Communities – Click on New Community
  • Choose the Community Template you want. In this case, let’s choose Napili:

  • The Community will allow customers to self-serve through Chatter, Answers, Ideas and Cases.
  • Call the Community “Customer Support Community”, and the URL customersupport

  • Go to All Communities, and click on Community Workspace next to the name of the Community.

  • You will get the Workspace, where all this Community’s configurations are made:

  • Click on Administration. This section has:
    • Settings: Activate / Change Template
    • Note: To view your community, you must first publish the site in Community Builder. To access Community Builder, use the Community Workspaces menu in the global header.
    • Preferences: show nicknames, chanter access public API, enable direct nessages, custom VF page on error, allow to flag contents, eable setup and display of reputation level, enable knowledgable people on topics, max file size, file types…
    • Members: select the Profiles or Permission Sets that have access to this community. In our case, add “Customer Community User” profile.
    • Login & Registration: header and footer – add the AW Computing Logo instead of Salesforce. Choose a login page, URL for your logout page, Choose the default or a custom password management page, “Allow external users to self-register” checkbox
    • Emails: From name and address, Chatter Email Branding logo and footer text, Email Templates: new member welcome, forgot password email, change password, case comment.
    • Pages: Configure page assignments for your community. Use the default page or override it with a custom Visualforce or Community Builder page.
    • Reputation Level: Promote activity in your community by setting up Reputation Levels. Users can move up levels by accumulating points
    • Reputation Points: Members earn or lose points based on these events. Points determine a member’s reputation level.
  • Click on Content Targeting. This section has:
    • Go to navigational Topics to put the Topics as quick navigational clicks to the Knoweldge Base Articles. Add Laptops, Desktops and Printers.
    • Next to each, click on the book icon – this links it to the Knowledge Category (should enable Knowledge, add categories..Etc).
    • Go to Featured Topics, and add the 3 Navigational Topics
    • Also add thumbnails for each feature topic
  • Go to Builder. This section has:
    • Components
    • Branding: color scheme, company logo, banner photo
    • In branding, you can also check the look and feel for tablet, mobile and desktop.
    • Page Structure: can change the text in each component – also this can be done right from the page itself, when you click on a component
    • To add a SF Object to the Navigation Menu, double click on it, and click on Navigation Menu. Then click on Add Menu Struvcture. The target can be: Community Page, External URL, Menu Label, Navigational Topic, and Salesforce Object.
    • Settings: General (Published Status, Gues User Profile, Topics…), theme, language,
  • Go to the top right, and click on Publish!
    • Click Publish to publish all recent changes to your community members.
    • For these changes to be visible to users, your community must be activated in Community Workspaces.
    • We’re publishing your changes now. You’ll receive an email confirmation when your changes are live.
  • In Builder, go to Settings, click on This will open the Profile Edit page
  • Whenever you make a community using the Community Creation wizard, Salesforce automatically creates a guest user profile for the community.
  • You can access this Profile from here, not from the Profile link in Setup
    • Go to Object Settings – click on Cases – Edit – Default ON tab / CRUD: Read and Create / SAVE
  • Go to Dashboard and Install the AppExchange Dashboard: “Salesforce Communities Management (for Communities with Chatter)”


Create a community User:

  • Create a contact under an Account. Go to the Account, click New Contact from the Contacts related list. Fill in the appropriate details. Click Save.
  •  The Account that the new contact is associated with must have an account owner that is assigned a role. (It means that the Account to which the Contact has a lookup should have an Owner whose Role should be defined).
  • On the contact detail page, click Manage External User, then Enable Partner User or Customer User.
  • Select the Partner Community user / Customer Community user license.
  • Select the appropriate profile. In our case, it will be the C_Customer Community User Profile.
  • Remember that profiles give users access to tabs in your community, so be sure that you choose a profile that has the appropriate tabs exposed. Provide all required details.
  • Deselect Generate new password and notify user immediately so that users don’t receive a password before the community is activated.
  • Click Save.
  • When you activate the community, the user receives a welcome email with the login information, as long as the Send welcome email option is selected for the community.
  • The users who will receive this welcome email, are the ones that belong to the Profiles and Permission Sets that can access the Community,
  • You can login as Community User using the link sent to the given Email id.
  • Note that you should setup the OWD for external access. Go to Sharing Settings and Enable External Sharing model. Set the Objects to Private!

Now, you can login as the Community User to the community.

Note that if you get this “Rich-text editing is disabled because the LockerService critical update is activated” when typing a Message, or a Question, then the Admin should deactivate this:

  1. From Setup, enter Critical Updates in the Quick Find box, and then select Critical Updates.
  2. For the critical update labelled “Enable Lightning LockerService Security”, click Deactivate.
  3. Refresh your browser page to proceed with deactivating LockerService.
  4. Click the “This Issue Affects me” button to be notified when this limitation of LockerService is addressed.


Here is the Final Result:

And finally, some important points to remember:

  • There exist 3 Community License types, each can be either Named User, or Login license
  • To enable Community Users, from the Account, create the contact, then create an External User from this contact
  • Community access is also controlled by the Profile. Make sure that you add the Profiles you want to access the Community in the Community configuration, and control Object access through this Profile



  1. Hi,
    We have community, When we select the community as shown in pic left side selecting community from apps, we will be login as community user. But in the login history its not showing. What is the reason?

  2. Hi,
    It looks very nice. I have one issue
    We have community, When we select the community as shown in pic left side selecting community from apps, we will be login as community user. But in the login history its not showing. What is the reason?

  3. Hey,

    Thanks for the step by step detail. I have a community setup and want to give access to guest users to a custom object which is part of a managed package. After adding it to community Panel and giving CRUD access to the object in guest user profile Im still not seeing it on the page as a guest user. Would you happen to know if im missing something?

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