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I'm confused and need direction -- please help

I'm confused by all the jargon around portals: customer portal, sites, vendor portal, siteforce, etc.

  • I want to have an authenticated portal.  Each user will have their own license.
  • Portal users will also be Contacts - I know how to create user accounts from contacts.
  • Also, I want portal users to be able to work with custom objects (and their layouts) I've created, but only have access to the records that are descendents (children or grand-children) of the User's Account. 

1) What kind of portal should I use?  


2) Are there any applicable examples of sharing rules or sharing reasons to accomplish my requirement?


3) Any other advice?


Thanks so much!


Best Answer chosen by Admin (Salesforce Developers) 
Santhosh KumarSanthosh Kumar

Some clarification.


Salesforce provides two types of portals. Customer Portal and Partner Portal (aka Vendor Portal). Both provides access to set of objects and are intended to be access by your company end customers or vendors. Each portal provides various user licenses with varying capabilities. So you will have to consult Salesforce doc to identify the user license best for you.


Sites (aka Sites) are type of applications that you can design/develop/host set of pages which can be accessed by public uses (aka Guest users). These sites can be integrated with a Customer or Partner portal to expose its functionality.


SiteForce (now it is called, is a Salesforce product which let's you author web pages (think of it as kind of CMS, Content Management System).


Having said that, let's take a look at question you asked.


You basically need to expose functionality via authenticated website and it doesn't have any Guest content. Your users should have Roles capability so you can build hierarchial sharing model.


This would ask for Customer Portal with "Customer Portal Manager Custom" license.


My 2 cents.